In South Korea, femininity is most often associated with adjectives like “petite, “meek,” or “delicate.” Female powerlifters, however, certainly don’t fit into any of those descriptions—calloused hands, muscular legs, and brawny shoulders aren’t typically associated with conventional notions of female beauty in the country. These physical attributes are, however, symbolic of a new generation of girls who are redefining what it means to be a female in modern times.
Lee Seon-mi, a senior at Gyeongbuk Physical Education High School near Daegu, is currently at the forefront of women’s powerlifting in South Korea. She’s been a dominant force in both domestic and international competitions and is currently one of the most widely recognized figures in the Korean powerlifting scene. Though many of Lee’s peers describe her as a quiet and unassuming individual, she’s anything but meek in competitions. She has broken every junior powerlifting record in the country, including those set by Korea’s 2008 Olympic gold medalist, Jang Mi-ran. Lee is on track to shatter more records as she transitions to senior competitions next year. When asked about the powerlifting records she’s broken so far, she looked sincerely puzzled: “Which ones? It’s hard to remember all of them.”
大邱（Daegu）附近的庆北体育中学（Gyeongbuk Physical Education High School）的高年级学生 Lee Seon-mi 目前处于韩国女子举重运动名列前茅的几位之一。她一直是国内和国际比赛的主导力量，目前也是韩国举重场景中最受认可的人物之一。虽然 Seon-mi 的许多同行形容她是一个安静而不张扬的人，但她在举重比赛中并不温顺。她打破了这个国家的每一个青少年举重记录，包括韩国 2008 年奥运会金牌得主 Jang Mi-ran 的纪录。明年即将过渡到高级比赛的 Seon-mi 有望打破更多记录。当被问及她到目前为止打破的举重记录时，她看起来真诚而疑惑：“哪些？很难记住所有的记录啊。”
Despite her achievements, Lee remains mindful of gender stereotypes in Korean society. “A lot of girls avoid this type of sport here,” she says. “There’s a bias that girls are weak in Korea.” With each win under her belt, she’s proving that this is far from the truth.
Lee’s parents are equally aware of the cultural expectations surrounding girls in Korea. They’re proud and fully supportive of her pursuits, but they understand it’s an uphill battle for her to be seen as a “normal girl” in the country. Luckily, neither Lee nor her peers are bothered by these superficial constructs of Korean femininity. They’ve placed more importance on pursuing something they’re truly passionate about.
尽管身为女性的 Seon-mi 已小有成就，但她仍对韩国社会的性别期望保持着清醒的态度。她说：“在韩国，很多女孩都避免这种类型的运动。”她说，“有一种偏见，认为韩国女孩很弱。”然而，随着一次次的胜利获奖，她用自己证明了这根本不是事实。
Seon-mi 的父母也同样意识到围绕韩国女孩的文化期待。他们为她的追求感到骄傲，并全力支持她的追求，但他们明白，要让她在这个国家被视为“正常的女孩”，还是一场艰苦的战斗。幸运的是，Seon-mi 和她的同伴们似乎都没有被这些韩国女性的肤浅偏见所困扰。她们更看重追求自己真正热爱的东西。
Powerlifting is less popular among females than other sports, but Lee hopes that her success will garner interest in the sport among those younger than her. “I think it would be great if more girls did powerlifting,” she chirps. “It’s helped me build my confidence, and I’ve made a lot of new friends.”
虽然 Seon-mi 意识到力量举重在女性中不如其他运动那么受欢迎，但她希望自己的成功能在引起比她年轻的人对这项运动的兴趣。“我认为如果有更多的女孩参加力量举重，那就太好了，”她说道，“它帮助我建立了自信，而且交了很多新朋友。”
Lee’s Olympic aspirations have yet to be settled, but a series of international competitions in 2019 that she is highly favored to win will ultimately determine her place on the 2020 Olympic team. Lee says, “I’d like to attend two Olympic Games and take medals both times.”
She’s already out lifting her closest competitors by over 25 kilos. This, coupled with the cabinet full of gold medals that currently sits in her parent’s living room, suggests that the Korean public will soon be introduced to a star who’ll be forcing the country to reevaluate their notions of femininity.
Seon-mi 的奥运抱负还有待确定，但 2019 年有她非常看好的一系列国际比赛，这也将最终决定她在 2020 年奥运会上的位置。Seon-mi 说：“我想去两次奥运会，两次都拿奖牌。”
她的举重级已经比最接近的对手重了 25 公斤。仅这一点，再加上她父母客厅里摆满了金牌的橱窗，表明韩国公众很快就要知晓这位明星了，而这位明星也将迫使韩国人重新审视自己对女性的固有观念。