I’ve recently read an article in the British Sunday Times advocating a trend in body emphasis on fitness not thinness. And I have to say ABOUT TIME! In this article, Ellie Goulding was their celeb in the spotlight, and I think they made a good choice. What a lady! Fit, strong, and not today’s skinny stereotype. But I want to ask in this post, is this emphasis on fitness not just another body-shaming exercise?
Firstly, I was very impressed the way that this women’s lifestyle magazine is advocating moving away from the obsession with ‘thinness’, whatever the hell that means, and working on strength rather than physical appearance.
Goulding’s attitude to her lean yet powerful physique is refreshing, especially at a time of year when the world seems obsessed with the terrifying and somewhat ambiguous “beach body”
In her interview, Goulding is clear to point out she exercises because it makes her feel and perform better, and it is for fun and not weight loss. This is a clear message that many in the current media climate should heed. Women and men who are strong are sexy regardless of their weight. I think about this with caution, however, is it advocating a different kind of body shaming? What about those who don’t have time to work out every day every week? Those people who run, but don’t fit the ‘convention’?
Readers of this blog will probably understand my scepticism at fitness as a new beauty aesthetic. Admittedly it is much more flexible than the ‘skinny’ ideal, however if it leads to obsessive thinking around exercise, then this isn’t healthy. And there are many people, myself included, who are fit but don’t look it. I believe this is where the trouble with this movement could start. If we don’t look a certain way, then will that lead us down the same path to question our sanity around eating choices? Or lead to obsessive exercise behaviours? It did so for me about three years ago. I think it is the media’s responsibility to represent a broader spectrum of fitness, as health at every size.
My response is move away from the aesthetic focus. From my experience, exercise makes you look better, regardless of what or how much you do. You are happy, you glow. You work better and more efficiently. You play harder. We should focus on being fit for personal and mental wellbeing, and not just to slip into a body-fashion phase. Your body should fit into only one aesthetic ideal, and that is one of self love and acceptance, no matter what. Your body is beautiful regardless of whether you exercise five or no times a week. Or whether you walk or HIIT train.
At the moment the trend seems about fitness as mental and internal wellness, not a weight loss ploy, and long may it stay that way. The more women inspired to feel good about themselves by moving, not by what they eat, the better. But just as long as it remains clear that it should be fun, and as Ellie Goulding does, work hard play hard. What better scenario than this: She can think of nothing better than going for a run with her mates then to the pub. And I bet she doesn’t have a slimline tonic either.
Hope I’ve got you thinking,