fitness

Recognizing diversity in body shapes and parts

I loved the running bras I used to wear in the early aughts. They were comfortable and supportive, whether I was running or rowing. I remember texting my husband from Spain when I heard the local running shop had a sale on. I think I got four new ones at an unbelievable price.

There finally came a day when the company discontinued that line. Despite my best efforts at searching the Internet, I never found any others. I acquired a new line and the best I can say about them was they were okay. Not great. Not bad. Just okay.

The illustration shows a white woman wearing a tank and sports bra combo balancing on a wobble ball. This is not a photo of the author. Photo by Andreea Boncota on Unsplash

But really, should I, or any person with breasts wanting decent coverage and support, have to settle for just okay?

My fear is getting stuck, arms atangle, especially after a workout when I’m all sweaty and in need of a shower. This in fact did happen to me once and it was a very unpleasant half hour until I escaped the spandex manacles. I have a friend who got trapped in one once and had to text her partner to rush to her aid.

So you can imagine my happiness when I heard the news from Adidas. They have expanded their line of sports bras to 43 styles. Their ad campaign is equally exciting.

Image is of a Tweet and photo illustration of multiple pairs of breasts of all kinds, shapes, and skin tones.

Before readymade clothes, what we wore was created to shape our bodies. While there were patterns, you could adjust and alter to ensure a perfect fit. These days we squish and push our bodies to conform to what’s available, as some of us lack the skills or the cash to custom fit our clothing. Again, I ask, why do we have to assume only one kind of body is suitable regardless of the item we search for?

The fact that Adidas has so many lines is laudable, but what I really appreciate is the validation that we are all different in how we are shaped, and that our bodies also represent our life history. I also really appreciate the sheer audacity Adidas has brought to this campaign.

Embracing body diversity is really important, and as the Olympics play out this month, it’s wonderful to see strength and skills on the ice, on the hill and on the trails.

There’s also the issue of padded bras taking over the bra shopping marketplace, which Sam discussed here. One of the things Sam raises is nipple phobia. We all know the ruckus that results if someone catches sight of a free nipple when a child is breastfed, when you attend a meeting in an air-conditioned board room or experience a wardrobe malfunction on global television!

There’s no end of public opinion on bras, breasts, and nipples. While I haven’t had the opportunity to check out the line Adidas offers, I hope, regardless of our size, shape, and wish (padded or sheer, silky or spandexed), we all get what we need and want when it comes to our preferred sports bra. At the very least, I do hope there’s a bra out there that won’t compress my chest into one uniboob of seamless, uplifted perfection.

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