“Fitspo” (ED TW)

Posted: January 30, 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

So I saw this article on facebook, posted by the girls gone strong facebook page, and one reason I love following them! I love that they a promoting fitness and weight lifting for women but from a perspective that is more cognizant of the health messages around it.

This article is by Jen Sinkler about the “no excuses” photos of women with kids and 6-pack abs.

That’s the thing about both Pell and Kang: Both wholeheartedly appear to believe they are spreading positive messages. And I applaud them for demonstrating a commitment to their fitness in spite of busy lives. But the ripple effect of the many photos they post of their ripped abs—or, more to the point, their challenging, abrasive “no excuses” captions—is not as clear.

An increasing number of teen girls are steering clear of high school sports because Facebook and Instagram are making them feel body conscious, according to a 2014 study out of Flinders University in Australia. “A lot of the girls who were interviewed actually spend a fair bit of time on ‘fitspo’ [fitness inspiration] pages,” said Claire Drummond, Ph.D., associate professor of social health sciences, in a post about the study on the Flinders site. “The problem is a lot of these pages contain images of fitness models with six packs and skinny bodies that are completely unattainable to everyday young women.”

. . .

Our bodies are our own business, and truly empowering messages revolve around what we can learn to do with them rather than how we can shift and starve and shape them to look a certain way. If Kang and Pell want to truly motivate others, they would be better off dropping unwittingly combative, shame-inducing comparisons. When it comes to real inspiration, “Come with me” always trumps “Look at me.”

This has also reminded of a few other articles I read awhile back, and meant to blog about but didn’t get around to, about “fitspo”.

There have been a number of articles written asking the question “Is fitspo just as dangerous as thinspo?” (TW for… well, thinspo)

And, well, I feel like we should be asking why “fitness” is modeling terminology after something associated so strongly with eating disorders? Who thought that was a good message for promoting health?

And this article (5 reasons “fitspo” is bad for your health) states that “fitspo” started gaining popularity right around the time sites like instragram started banning thinspo/thinsporation. For many, “fitspo” is “thinspo” but hidden behind the guise of health to make it seem more ok.

It also brings to mind though the recent blog post from the blog Fit and Feminist: A Coach is Not a Therapist. One thing she talks about is seeing women who seem to be struggling with mental health issues including eating disorders recommended diets or hiring fitness coaches. There are people who turn to “fitness” and “fitspo” to support an eating disorder, and what is the fitness community doing, or should be doing, to help support real health (which means not supporting eating disorders, body dysmorphia, and the idea that happiness means a certain body size)?

I gotta say, I don’t know the answer. It brings to mind some photos I’ve seen on a fitness website that I said nothing about because I don’t want to say something negative about someone’s body and I don’t know how to express this concern without it coming across that way- but I have seen women post photos of their stomachs where every rib is visible and pushing out against their skin, and they comment how they just need to lose a few more pounds to get their abs to really pop.

I know the mantra- “abs are made in the kitchen”. (And my “excuse” for not having visible abs is primarily that I don’t want visible abs!) But come on! When I can see all your ribs that clearly, if your abs are not as defined as you think they should be, the problem is definitely not too much body fat.

And maybe one way to combat is to take over “fitspo” with messages that are actually healthy though? I don’t know.

I do know that I see people use “fitsporation” and “fitspo” for things that do not fall into the “thinspo with abs” category. There was another article on everydayfeminism  about the good, the bad, and they ugly of “fitspo”.

The term is out there. It exists. And people, including young girls, are following these hashtags. So maybe one of the best things would be trying to drown out the negative ways it’s used with images and sayings that actually promote fitness from a healthy perspective, and have a well-rounded focus on health that acknowledges that being healthy means more than just being fit and active, physical health includes so much more than that, and health overall includes our physical and mental health.

As a side not though, I came across a little unintentional body love in an ad that popped up on that women’s health article.

No thanks I already have a bikini bodyThis ad popped up offering me a 21-Day Bikini Body Plan. I am not interested, and I notice that the no thanks button is not simply “not thanks” or “not interested” but says “no thanks, I already have a bikini body”. And my first thought was actually “really, that’s the only reason you think I could not be interested?” And then I thought of this:

So I clicked “No thanks, I already have a bikini body” because- yup! 😛

  1. G says:

    “For many, “fitspo” is “thinspo” but hidden behind the guise of health to make it seem more ok.” Exactly this. It’s nearly the same behaviors, except the outcome looks a little different.

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