Fitness as a Feminist Issue: Let Us Count the Ways

Yesterday Sam and I were guest speakers at the Wellness Wednesday Coffee Break on campus for staff who work in the Support Services Building. They invited us to talk about the blog, how it came about, and what, as feminists, our “alternative” fitness message is.

We gave a little history of the blog — how we started it in 2012 to document our “Fittest by 50 Challenge” and then it grew into an amazing community. And we talked about what we see as five main “themes” that drive a lot of our blog content.

Here’s a poster we made for a different event a couple of years ago.

blog themes1

The blog still remains true to these feminist themes of equality, inclusivity, empowerment, aesthetics, and embodiment.

We spent about 20 minutes on the themes and then opened it up for Q&A. Questions ranged from “how do you take on the daunting task of changing people’s default views that equate fitness with thinness and “getting fit” with dieting?” to “what exactly did you do during the challenge (in terms of workouts) and what do you do now?”

It’s always interesting to present a feminist message to a group who, for at least some of the people in it, haven’t heard it before. There were lots of heads nodding as we talked, which shows that what we had resonated and maybe even influenced a few people to reconsider their approach.

Above all, we promote the idea that enjoyment is key. If your fitness routine feels like a punishing and joyless obligation that requires enormous discipline, it might be worth reconsidering what you’re doing.

When you think about fitness from a feminist point of view, what does that mean to you? Are there any themes not on our list that you think are worth highlighting?

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