“I’m not a victim. I’m not helpless. I’m strong, and I’m taking up space,” says Shannon Wagner, founder of the Brooklyn-based Women’s Strength Coalition, an inclusive powerlifting club with a mission based in activism and accessibility.
There is nothing quite like watching a five-foot-tall woman in rhinestones deadlift more than twice her body weight and then celebrate with a high kick. While spectators cheered her on, an announcer shouted, “She smashed the patriarchy with that lift!”
The playlist was more Beyoncé than Black Sabbath at the Lift for Planned Parenthood, the first female and nonbinary powerlifting competition organized by the Women’s Strength Coalition, a new weight lifting group that combines feats of strength and political activism. The event, which took place on April 23 at the Brooklyn Athletic Club in Williamsburg, had 35 participants and about 150 spectators.