So I was trolling Huffington Post the other day at work, when I saw an article criticizing fitspiration. I had a suspicion that I was going to be offended by the content but read it anyway.
The author, Lexie Kite, writes on how fitspiration is harmful because 1) It makes women into nothing but bodies-she notes how many inspirational fitspo pics use a women’s body without a face, 2) Makes people aspire to images they can’t live up to and 3) are really just ploys of advertising made to give a false sense of empowerment when it reality women feel bad about themselves because they don’t have a six-pack.
I don’t think advertising, fit bloggers, fashion designers, Nike, or anyone should have to take responsibility for someone’s lack of self esteem or common sense. If looking at a picture of someone makes you upset STOP LOOKING AT IT!
Next, the article is hypocritical because while Lexie Kite wants readers to not buy into advertising she herself is promoting-aka, advertising-her body acceptance project and book.
Furthermore, fitspiration is the promoting of fitness. Unlike thinspiration, something you don’t need to be healthy, fitspiration encourages people to make good decisions for their body, health, and general sanity. One of the reason that I dislike the body acceptance movement is because it often has a way of skirting around a very big-and in my opinion, obvious issue- obesity. While anorexia and bulimia are real problems, the majority of the country does not suffer from them. In contrast, obesity and the chronic health problems that often shadow it effects nearly half of the country.
Humans are natural mimickers by nature. When we are young we look to our parents for examples of how to behave. In time we may look towards teachers, other relatives, close friends, and shit we see on the media. Hopefully, as time progresses we inherit a sense of self and begin to come into our own. For me, becoming fit was my attempt to overcome an eating disorder that had literally ruined most of my life. I only say that it didn’t ruin my whole life because I didn’t die. I had been fat before. There was nothing that I loved about it. In fact, I believe that being fat made me so determined never to get to that point again that when I put on a little weight later I went to the extreme to lose it. When I finally accepted that I was never going to have thighs the size of coke bottles-something no one ever told me to covet, I just did because eating disorders make you fucking crazy-I found solace in the idea that I could become strong, defined, a lean machine built of muscle. Eventually, my focus became on not just appearance but actual strength, speed, and performance. I began to see the body as a canvas that I could literally build upon if I had the right tools. My diet got better. So did my outlook on life and myself.
Anything can become a negative force in someone’s life, including fitness, but fitness and fitspiration isn’t bad in and of itself. Fitspiration, as the word implies, encourages people to take responsibility for their health, because we are not necessarily born “fit”. Getting fit takes action, determination and commitment. I believe that one of the reasons the country is so unhealthy is because few want to commit to getting into shape. We feel too busy, or lazy, or distracted. When people criticize fit bloggers I can’t help but wonder if they are just mad that there is a whole crew of people out there, with busy lives, hobbies, responsibilities, still making time for themselves and their health.
So, let’s get at it. Do you think fitspiration is bad? I personally love seeing photos of other workout buffs. I also love seeing photos of other people working out. I find it inspiring, just like I find photos of interior design, fashion, makeup, and pretty much anything else I find interesting inspiring. It helps me build on ideas that are already in my head. But what about you? Does it bum you out? What do you think about this article?