Friday, September 20, 2013

Is Strong the New Skinny?

I remember the first "Fitspiration" ad I clipped many years ago.  It was a print ad from Nike, and the rookie fitness professional in me liked the message.  It said something to the effect of how we never go out for a run and later regret that we did.  Couldn't really argue that. . .

Flash forward almost 20 years and these ads have morphed into something entirely different.

Nike still plays it relatively safe, but commands hard work and harder bodies.

fitspiration 1

Others have a more radical tone.  Following in the footsteps of thinspiration, fitspiration (nicknamed "fitspo"), offers internet images and slogans designed to motivate us toward our fitness goals. Popping up on social media sites are images of women with toned, muscular bodies and especially chiseled abs accompanied by inspirational messages evoking themes of discipline, failure, and pain.




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hahaha, love this
Charlotte Anderson of the blog (and book), The Great Fitness Experiment, writes about fitspo:  
Looking at rock-hard body after rock-hard body it occurred to met hat fitspo may be in thinspo in a sports bra.  After all ,the problem with thinspo is that the images represent a mostly unattainable ideal that requires great sacrifices (both physical and mental) to achieve and I daresay that most of those "perfect" female bodies, albeit muscular instead of bony, are equally as problematic.
What do you think?  Do fitspo images and slogans motivate fitness behavior in the masses or promote an unhealthy relationship with exercise, food, and weight?  Are these ads just more socially acceptable forms of thinspo?

Photo 17-8-13 10 45 25 PM

Strong is certainly a healthier goal than skinny, and I'd love to see images of strong women of various shapes and sizes.  But if strong really is the new sexy, then why are these women all so skinny?  

7 comments:

Jim Ryan said...

This "fitspo" and "Thinspo" stuff is a form of mental illness, mark my words.

I am a man who has recovered from it and accept myself and my body more than I ever have and yet I look 'worse' than I ever have. It's a huge relief, let me tell you.

I Hate to Weight said...

for some reason, what comes to mind is how self-obsessed we are. looking like that has to take A LOT of time. that's a lot of time not spent doing something useful in the world.

sorry if that sounds cranky and preachy, but it's just what came to mind. :-)

Christine said...

This is definitely the new "thinspiration"....and these women are obviously spending hours at the gym and eating paleo, etc etc etc....but how much time/effort are they spending doing something good for somebody else?

de4dc46e-255a-11e3-b20f-000bcdcb5194 said...

It’s things like this that give our society the messed up view that we have on body image today. These pictures are almost telling us that we are not beautiful if we don't look like this. Yes, it is good to be fit and healthy, but not all fit and healthy women look this skinny. I know plenty of people who are fit and work their asses off in the gym, yet they are naturally thicker and certainly don't look like this. Society is telling them that because of this they aren't fit, yet they probably eat healthier than half the skinny girls I know. Our motivation should be us working hard to be healthy and feel good about ourselves, not to have a picture of some girls skinny body posted up on your fridge to prevent yourself from eating. It's twisted tactics like this that make being thin such an obsession. I personally would like to see pictures of fit girls of all different sizes.

de4dc46e-255a-11e3-b20f-000bcdcb5194 said...

It’s things like this that give our society the messed up view that we have on body image today. These pictures are almost telling us that we are not beautiful if we don't look like this. Yes, it is good to be fit and healthy, but not all fit and healthy women look this skinny. I know plenty of people who are fit and work their asses off in the gym, yet they are naturally thicker and certainly don't look like this. Society is telling them that because of this they aren't fit, yet they probably eat healthier than half the skinny girls I know. Our motivation should be us working hard to be healthy and feel good about ourselves, not to have a picture of some girls skinny body posted up on your fridge to prevent yourself from eating. It's twisted tactics like this that make being thin such an obsession. I personally would like to see pictures of fit girls of all different sizes.

Molly M. said...

I think that being physically fit and active is important, and that having a toned body would be great. However, I have bought into the lie that this is what makes you valuable - and, as a result I have had anorexia and bulimia. The abs thing really gets me. I see sooooooooooooo many pictures of women with a six-pack. Why can't I look like that? I'm strong and I'm fit, but I still feel like that I'm not worth anything unless I look like that.

Nicole Marie Story said...

I think that anyone who gets their panties into a ruffle about 'thinsp' or 'fitspo' has a lot of extra time on their hands. Coming from 11 years of 'Bulimia', three years healthy and counting, I couldn't care less about these images despite my personal requirement of long, lean, and strong lines on my body. Anyone who focuses on these images like teenagers reading Shape Magazine should find something productive to do.