body image · feminism · Sat with Nat

Nat reflects on how feminism has supported her fitness

I finally finished my Bachelor of Arts in Women’s and Gender Studies. Wahoooooooooo!

Photo of Natalie’s BA certificate with Distinction

It’s the end of a twenty-seven year post-secondary journey that started in 1992.

I’ve been thinking how over that time I discovered feminism while being in the military. By looking at exercise as a not only a way to do my job or change how I look but rather as a source of joy and feeling good in my body.

By reframing activity as something I do for myself that supports my wellbeing I have been able to stay active in a lot of activities.

This separation of fitness from my appearance and my work has helped me be confident in trying new things and persevering.

It’s not easy to navigate aging, work, stress, sexism, capitalism, parenting, caregiving and some sense of mental health in our information culture. I think a feminist analysis of my fitness has helped me connect with other women in a meaningful way. We share our stories, the triumphs and the challenges. We support each other and question those who would try to tell us we are too old/fat/etc to wear Lycra, ride bikes, practice yoga…

Has looking at your own activities with a feminist lens changed anything for you?

2 thoughts on “Nat reflects on how feminism has supported her fitness

  1. Congratulations!
    I work in a male dominated field, at an industrial plant. I never considered just how much sexism and harassment I would face.
    I guess I thought we were past that…we aren’t.

    Maybe I feel safer at yoga because here it is mostly women. I’m going to think on that…


  2. Congratulations on finishing your degree! That is a great accomplishment!

    Many of my activities (including my athletics of choice and my work – I am in a science field) are male-dominated. Looking at these with a feminist lens helps me to remember to uplift and celebrate other women and nonbinary individuals who participate in my activities, rather than feeling the need to compete with them. I also feel that feminism positively impacts my fitness in ways similar to the ones you describe; I exercise for myself (because I enjoy my activities, I like feeling strong, and I like the feeling of achievement that comes with working at a particular skill and getting better at it) rather than for weight loss or other societally-dictated reasons.

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