Lately, I’ve noticed several articles cropping up around the web — from fellow Bloggers to the Huff Post — all focused on the same controversial issue: FITSPO.
Since this has become such a hot topic in the fitness community, I’m suddenly feeling the urge to “weigh in” and add my voice to the conversation. But, first, let’s clarify why Fitspo is even a thing and what its original intent was.
Here’s how Urban Dictionary defines the trend:
Short for “fitspiration.” Images of active, strong and fit women that promote proper exercise and diet.
So, that’s the purpose Fitspo supposedly aims to fulfill. However, now it’s teetering on the brink of soft porn.
Soft porn that makes you kinda sorta question everything about your physical worth.
(Like…does this REALLY have to be either-or?!?!)How did this movement — which should have been a positive and dynamic lifestyle initiative — veer so far off-course?
Hell, that’s what I wanna know.
When I initially heard about the whole “fitspiration” concept, I wasted no time jumping on-board. I mean, here was the confidence-booster we’d been waiting for, right?!
Thinspiration’s healthier twin sister.
Social media’s gift to female psyches everywhere.
Rather than bombarding us with airbrushed propaganda of unrealistically skeletal frames, Fitspo motivated us to strive for “strong” over “skinny.”Well, in theory anyway. Because that’s where the motivation ends. Despite these so-called good intentions, Fitspo still panders to an exclusive audience. It doesn’t celebrate the beauty of each unique physique but, instead, discriminates against body types that aren’t tucked and toned in all the right places.
Case-in-point: “strong not skinny” is actually a derogatory message. Some women are naturally thin — not eating disorder thin per se, but thin. They can’t change their builds any more than curvy women can.
Nor should they. Stick-straight, hourglass or voluptuous — the female figure is worth embracing, regardless of shape or size.
So, why have sculpted obliques and sinewy biceps become the arbitrary benchmark to gauge our “hotness” levels?
Well…umm…compliments of Fitspo.
Don’t get me wrong, if you do have sculpted obliques and sinewy biceps, take pride in those accomplishments. After all, fitness requires both effort and commitment. You know what though? Sometimes, even the most vigilant efforts won’t turn us all into Miranda Kerr doubles. And there’s no shame in that either.
Here’s the bottom line: I don’t feel inspired by body-shaming mantras disguised as “healthy” workout incentives.
I’m not gonna run a marathon because some Pinterest meme-creator thinks I’ll be spurred into action by Victoria’s Secret angels in barely-there spandex, sports bras and the uplifting text overlay — “Train Insane or Remain the Same.”Nope. I’ll exercise for ME, thanks. Not a subliminal you-aren’t-working-hard-enough quote, or some sexually stimulating model with an unattainable bod. Those are illusions. And illusions won’t get results.
Society has begun equating fitness with the feminine ideal, but this label misses the mark. Who cares about looking like a superficial slice of eye-candy when you can strive for personal acceptance instead? Exercise isn’t about some fleeting “Dayyyum, girl!” once-over.
Exercise is about vitality…toughness…exhilaration — both physically and mentally. Fitspo, however, won’t get you there.
So, what will?
- Gradual progress at your own steady pace.
- And self-love. Yeah, TONS of self-love.
My final advice, then? Unplug from this Fitspo trend. It’s basically just Thinspo with a sportier-sounding name.