If you've ever looked into working out at a gym, then you've probably heard the myth that women are inherently less capable of developing upper body strength than men are. The truth is more complicated; women do often often start out weaker, but it's very easy to catch up and develop muscle at the same rate as men do with proper strength training. The problem is that many women are mistakenly afraid of looking too muscular, so they barely even try, sticking to workouts that claim to "target arm fat" instead (SPOILER ALERT: They can't).
It sucks, but it's understandable considering how rare it is to see physically strong women in pop culture. Even in action movies, you barely see female heroines rocking any kind of defined bicep muscles, especially on the same level as their male co-stars — and when you do, they get jeered for being too manly. Men shouldn't have a monopoly on looking and feeling strong.
If you're thinking about what it might be like to get swole, let me tell you from personal experience: it's a lot easier to step into the weight training side of your gym if you've got positive female role models to inspire you. With that in mind, let these badass women from TV, movies, comic books and beyond back you up with their spectacular gun shows:
Listen, all I am saying is that for an animated Disney princess, Moana has got some surprisingly toned arm definition going on. And that's before she sets sail to save her island! I'm sure the bicep muscles definitely helped with the rowing.
Captain Marvel (as drawn by Kris Anka)
You know that stupid argument comic bros like to make about how women shouldn't get pissed that they're always drawn with giant boobs and tiny waists in comic books because men are depicted with unrealistic bodies, too? Yeah, we'll stop complaining when all the super heroines get to be just as ripped as the dudes. Fortunately, "Captain Marvel" and "Star-Lord" artist Kris Anka here is doing his part one bicep at a time.
Rita Vrataski in "Edge of Tomorrow"
The Angel of Verdun was a groundbreaking character in a lot of ways — despite being the badass female mentor of an incompetent protagonist, she was an amazingly well-rounded character. Also, she has the fiercest Upward Dog in all of Continental Europe. Got damn.
Kara Danvers in "Supergirl"
Superman's got muscles for days despite not actually needing them (it's the rays from Earths yellow sun that make him super strong, not his beefy chest!), so it's only fair that Supergirl have some, too. And boy, does she.
Michonne in "The Walking Dead"
It takes a lot of upper body strength to rock a katana so skillfully.
Sarah Connor in "Terminator 2"
The OG gun queen, in more ways than one.
Vasquez in "Aliens"
Do you think maybe James Cameron had a type in the '80s, or...?
Dear Marvel comic book artists: if you have drawn She-Hulk and her biceps are smaller than her breasts, start over and do it again because you've messed it up big time.
Maggie Fitzgerald in "Million Dollar Baby"
If Hillary Swank didn't want to make you pick up a pair of boxing gloves and punch somebody in the face, then you are kidding yourself.
Mako Mori in "Pacific Rim"
Remind me again why Rinko Kikuchi isn't the star of "Ghost In The Shell" right now?
Korra in"Avatar: The Legend Of Korra"
The Avatar has biceps and you are just gonna have to deal with it.
Jasper in "Steven Universe"
Sure, she's evil, but credit where it's due — she could definitely wring you out like a washcloth.
Zarya in "Overwatch"
Just bench press me right here, you magnificent tank of a woman.
Rey in "Star Wars"
Now that Daisy Ridley's undergone some extensive lightsaber training for "Episode VIII" get ready for the swole-est Jedi scavenger ever.
Wonder Woman (as drawn by Stjepan Sejic)
To my knowledge Sejic has never officially worked for DC Comics in any capacity, which is a dang shame because his Wonder Woman is for sure the best version of that character — although Gal Gadot's real-life biceps are pretty sweet, too.
And finally, Angela Bassett in literally any role she's ever played
There's a reason Angela Bassett is our queen. Have fun upstaging Chadwick Boseman in "Black Panther!"