Posted by: joshjasper | May 21, 2011

One “Tough” Mudder

Webster’s dictionary defines the word “tough” as the following: strong or firm, not easily chewed, stubborn, and difficult to accomplish. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to start a war of words with the folks over at Merriam-Webster, but I think they got it all wrong. The word tough means so much more; it must.

When asked what it means to be a real man in today’s society, men and women invariably use the same words to describe masculinity. According to the thousands of people asked this question in my presentation on gender stereotypes throughout the country, real men are “tough, strong, aggressive, macho, providers, protectors, powerful, successful, in control, dominant, drive trucks, work construction, are the boss, and they most certainly NEVER cry.”

It’s time for a paradigm shift. 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys are abused before they turn 18 in our country and more than 90% of all violence perpetrated is being done by men. In order to END violence, we must model for young men and boys how to be men that does not involve abusing and degrading women and girls.

It’s time to flip the script and 20 women and men from Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping (FXB) in Dubuque have decided to do just that. We are participating in what is heralded as the “toughest event on the planet” called the Tough Mudder (

Aside from signing a death waiver to participate in this event, we have agreed to run 10 miles though some of the most grueling obstacles known to woman and man; obstacles called the “Devil’s Beard” the “Boa Constrictor,” “Electroshock Therapy,” in which you run through a field of live wires delivering a 10,000 volt shock, and finishing the event by running through the “Fire Walker.” You definitely have to be “tough enough” to complete this challenging course.

With all of that said though, our team has committed to taking on a much larger challenge as well. We have agreed that we will use this event as an opportunity to redefine what it means to be “tough.” As team members of the FXB Tough Mudder team, we understand that we are going to put teamwork and camaraderie before our course time. We will help our fellow Mudders finish and leave no one behind. We understand that being tough includes having strength of character and realize that real toughness has to do with having integrity and respect. Doing the right thing when no one else is around is “tough” and we aim to model that for our community.



  1. Great post. How did it go? Or has it yet?

  2. Tyler-
    We are running Tough Mudder on July 23rd. We’ve got just about 25 members on our team. It’s going to be a great time. Have you done a Tough Mudder?

  3. I’m late for this one, but love how your reinterpreting what basically is a selfish obstacle course for people with too much time and money as something that is somehow morally uplifting. Why voulunteer when your precious time could used so you and your friends can do an obstacle course. Yippdie-do! I’m a role-model. Bull fucking shit- your someone who has dedicated the majority of your life to self improvement and now get to make like a hamster and run. Don’t fucking say your changing anything. Why not petition for equality? Is a definition of masculitnity really whats causing all the violence or a culture? Personal trainer who is trying to redefine ‘masculity’ thats pretty near a damn oxymoron isn’t it? Kinda like a hairstylest saying women shouldn’t be judged on their looks. GG

  4. James, your ignorance is amazing. You absolutely missed the point from the post by Josh and trying to explain it to you would be a time wasting venture.

    Josh, continue your mission and drive to make a difference in everything you do.

  5. GG/James: “Reinterpreting.” After reading your post, I believe you no nothing of what you speak. As a woman with three teen daughters and one teen son, I find Josh Jasper to be the most compelling of all possibilities of a non-violent role model as exec director of our non-violence center. Why? He is a man, and a strong, passionate, former armed forces MAN who is willing to stand up for proper treatment of women. I don’t know Josh well, but I doubt we could we find someone more believable or actionable. He protects my daughters and son and our community from bullying, abuse, and the like. If he chooses to participate in a challenge – the Tough Mudder- that compels him to stretch his limits, how is that harmful and venomous to you? In addition, he competed with a team and they agreed that everyone would finish together, which was admirable as there were folks of all levels involved. Hardly selfish.
    Bottom line: You don’t know jack. Or Josh.

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