Fitness magazines don’t help us get fit. Gazing at images of caricatured breasts, buttocks and biceps gives you the impression this is how a fit body should look, that every fit body needs to be shaped in the same vein. Fitness magazines use exactly these images to “inspire” women to look this way. Yet most of us can’t identify with what we are looking at because we don’t believe ordinary us could ever be them.
[…] What are we teaching our young women who want desperately to believe that they too can be as ripped and shredded? They don’t realize what it takes to look so tight. They want to be there and harm themselves to reach an almost unattainable ideal. When will it be acceptable to lift heavy, building confidence and brainpower while strengthening your body, not concerning yourself with how cute your bottom looks in booty shorts?[…] Being fit in a functional rather than sexual way means you are entirely capable of being powerful no matter what your height, bust size, shoe size or hair color. You are empowered from the depths of your DNA because you did the work, you earned your place and you walk confidently because of it. A functionally fit You welcomes all sizes, shapes and colors, your boobs and butt are incidental. What we really need to build in the gym is a sense of self and what we are capable of.[Cut for space]
I AGREE! And I add this, about clothes and stuff.
Because I like to dress up, not dress down. She’s somebody’s daughter, sister, friend, wife. Would you like the women you know and respect to dress that way in public? No? I didn’t think so.
At the rate we’re going, the latest fashion will be women wearing nothing at all, and men still in boring, black or grey, maybe white, tuxes, suits and shirts.
Why does everyone think looking at the most private parts of some random person they don’t even know is okay?
Women are still being told today to think of others first, to be quiet and let others speak and think of how what you say and do effects those around you. It’s about time men started being taught those lessons too, instead of thinking they need to control everything, bottle up their emotions, and silence anyone who talks who isn’t a guy.
Let’s take three steps back here, because it really doesn’t seem as though we’re in agreement. It’s time to break this issue down so that there aren’t any misinterpretations:
Women can and should be able to dress however they want in public. I don’t care if she is someone’s daughter, sister, friend, wife. She is someone. Nobody owns her. She is an individual who has the right to control her own body and express herself through her clothing in whatever manner she chooses. There is nothing inherently pornographic or inappropriate about wearing women’s workout clothing.
The problem here is not women’s bodies. The problem is not that women are revealing “private” parts or dressing in a certain manner. The problem that this article is discussing is the glorification of health in terms of what the media says it looks like, not in terms of the actual components that health is made of. The problem is that a woman’s health isn’t considered valid unless she appeals to the male gaze. The problem is a society that teaches women that they can only be sexual, healthy and loved if they conform to an unattainable “fit” physique. And the problem is that many women kill themselves in order to get there.
Do not look at this issue and then turn around to say “Ah yes, this wouldn’t happen if women just covered themselves up!” The only way that we can work towards a better fitness culture is by teaching one another that appearance and clothing are irrelevant. Being fit in a functional rather than sexual way means you are entirely capable of being powerful no matter what your height, bust size, shoe size or hair color.
If you respect a woman less just because her body is visible, then you are actively contributing to the type of pornographication that is being discussed here. You’re simply on the other side of the coin: For every person who praises the “fit” woman for her health and sexiness, there is going to be someone who condemns the “fit” woman for her obscene and inappropriate appearance. Both of those people are linking fitness and sex together, as though a woman’s body is inherently erotic. Both are part of the problem.