Fit is a Feminist Issue, Link Round Up #85

This is where we share stuff we can’t share on Facebook page for fear of being kicked out! Read why here. Usually the posts are about body image, sometimes there’s nudity but we’re all adults here. Right?

Target’s Swimwear Ads Are Photoshop-Free
It’s nearly beach season and, with that impending dream of warmer weather, Target debuted its latest swim campaign. The ad is filled with models who represent a wide range of ethnicities and body types. What’s more? The images are also fully unretouched, showing off each girl’s gorgeous curves and stretch marks in all their glory. In other words: It’s Target’s most empowering ad campaign yet.

Naked Mannequin Photographer Banned from Facebook

A Canadian photographer has been banned from Facebook after criticism over her photos of naked women posing behind a mannequin. Julia Busato insists she won’t let the ban stop her, even though she says it’s putting her livelihood at risk. The photos have been shared more than 200,000 times and Julia says women are still asking to join the series.But the images haven’t been welcomed by everyone and Julia says she was banned after some Facebook users reported her.

We Decided To Re-Create Iconic Playboy Covers And Here’s What Happened

You miiiight have heard of Playboy. It's a magazine that's been around for a gobsmacking 63 years!

TORRID GETS IT RIGHT ON THE DIVERSITY FRONT WITH ITS LATEST SWIM CAMPAIGN

 

Running in heels, yes, but why?

I finally saw Hidden Figures last night and loved it. What a great movie.

There’s lots worth noting. I was struck by how much bathroom discrimination and having a place to pee matters, and how long explicit racial discrimination in the workplace and in schools lasted in the United States.

I also hadn’t realized that computing machines weren’t around in the first days of the space race. I hadn’t imagined that it would even be possible to do those kinds of mathematical calculations, so many of them, with just human head and human hand, no machines. I feel silly for not having thought about the technology timeline in that way before.

I hadn’t known that “computer” once referred to a job description for a person. And I hadn’t known that African Americans did this job in something like a segregated computing pool.

So I learned a lot and loved the movie.

But putting all of this aside, I was also struck by all the footage of women running in heels. The African American women  had to run miles across the NASA campus to get to the bathrooms for “coloured people” and NASA’s dress code mandated that they do it in heels. Why did they have to run? Limited time for breaks, distance, job security, and the space race.

 

However, unlike other Hollywood movies Hidden Figures didn’t make running in heels look easy.

The one time I decided to run home from a party while wearing shoes with heels, in a “sprightly fashion” according to friends (why is another story, for another time) I ditched the shoes and carried them. Luckily there wasn’t any glass on my route.

So it’s not that I never wear heels but I am opposed to anyone having to wear them. The shocking thing about this recent news item, Canadian province considers banning high heel requirement for women in workplaces, for many people was the idea that employers could dictate heel height as the law currently stands.

Big boots, little boots

A post shared by Samantha Brennan (@samjanebrennan) on

I like to be able to run in the shoes that I wear. I can run in my McKinlay boots from Dunedin (above) and I can run in my “aggressively unfashionable” Dansko clogs. I can’t run in my witchypoo Fluevog shoes but I can dance in them and that’s good enough.

New Year's Eve shoe decision

A post shared by Samantha Brennan (@samjanebrennan) on

Why do I care about running when I am not wearing running shoes? There are a lot of reasons. Safety, sure. I want to be able to run away from people. But that’s not even the reason that comes first. I also like to run if I’m late: for coffee, for meetings, for buses, whatever..

Running keeps me warm in the winter. I often run to my office from remote parking just to keep my fingers from freezing off.

Some people, of course, can run in heels. They even make an event of it. But not me.

And men do it too.

The future is foxy!

We’ve written before about our friend Rachel’s new cycling team. See Another win for inclusive sport: Introducing Foxy Moxy Racing.

Now things are really getting under way. Rachel’s been sharing the following pitch on Facebook and Instagram and I thought I’d share it here too.

Good luck Rachel! We’re cheering for you.

 

Hi there! I’m Rachel. I race bikes. This year, I co-founded a team, Foxy Moxy Racing, with the vision of promoting radically inclusive sport for trans and gender non-conforming people (gnc). That means showing people that trans/gnc people exist, and helping build a community for current and potential trans/gnc athletes. Sport is a human right. That’s in the Olympic Charter as the very first of the Principles of Olympism. But trans and gender non-conforming people have struggled to find a home in sport. I want to change that.

I’ve chosen to race this year as an openly trans woman, at some of the highest levels of women’s cycling in the US and Canada. I’m hoping you can help, though: racing bikes across the country (and across the continent) is really expensive. So I’m reaching out for help funding my summer of racing for trans and gender non-conforming inclusive sport.

I have a full race calendar planned. It started with the Pro/1/2 stage race, the Tour of the Southern Highlands. I was thrilled to win the Stage 2 circuit race. Here’s where I’ll be:

March: Sunshine Grand Prix (FL)

April: USA Crits Speed Week (SC, NC, GA)

May: Winston-Salem Classic (NC)

June: North Star Grand Prix stage race (MN)

June: Canadian Elite Road Nationals (ON, Canada)

July: Intelligentsia Cup (IL)

August: Crossroads Classic (NC)

September: Gateway Cup (MO)

I’m seeking funding to help with travel and race fees. This schedule will cost over $1500 in race fees alone. I live in Charleston, SC, and I drive everywhere to keep costs down. Every little bit you can contribute helps! Thank you!! #thefutureisfoxy

You can find me on Instagram: @mckinnonrachel

You can find Foxy Moxy on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FoxyMoxyRacing/

Donate here.

Hi everyone! Today is launched a personal fundraising campaign to help with my season of racing for trans and gender non-conforming inclusive sport. Please consider helping me with this project: https://www.generosity.com/sports-fundraising/rachel-racing-for-trans-inclusive-sport This year, I co-founded a team, Foxy Moxy Racing, with the vision of promoting radically inclusive sport for trans and gender non-conforming people (gnc). That means showing people that trans/gnc people exist, and helping build a community for current and potential trans/gnc athletes. Sport is a human right. That's in the Olympic Charter as the very first of the Principles of Olympism. But trans and gender non-conforming people have struggled to find a home in sport. I want to change that. I've chosen to race this year as an openly trans woman, at some of the highest levels of women's cycling in the US and Canada. I'm hoping you can help, though: racing bikes across the country (and across the continent) is really expensive. So I'm reaching out for help funding my summer of racing for trans and gender non-conforming inclusive sport. I have a full race calendar planned. It started with the Pro/1/2 stage race, the Tour of the Southern Highlands. I was thrilled to win the Stage 2 circuit race. Here's where I'll be: March: Sunshine Grand Prix (FL) April: USA Crits Speed Week (SC, NC, GA) May: Winston-Salem Classic (NC) June: North Star Grand Prix stage race (MN) June: Canadian Elite Road Nationals (ON, Canada) July: Intelligentsia Cup (IL) August: Crossroads Classic (NC) September: Gateway Cup (MO) I'm seeking funding to help with travel and race fees. This schedule will cost over $1500 in race fees alone. I live in Charleston, SC, and I drive everywhere to keep costs down. Every little bit you can contribute helps! Thank you!! #thefutureisfoxy You can find Foxy Moxy on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FoxyMoxyRacing/ #girlslikeus #transinclusivesport #inclusivesport #lgbtq #transvisibility #socialchange #transrightsnow #allbodies #allgenders #strongertogether #cycling #strava #outsport @podiumwear @lazersportusa @everymanespresso @performancesci @madalchemy

A post shared by Rachel V McKinnon (@rachelvmckinnon) on

Menopause can be boring or dramatically awful or something in between

Note: I was busy drafting this post thinking I could talk about my experiences of menopause since I haven’t had a period since the fall. Finally! I’m no longer the woman menopause forgot!  (And yes, I know it’s not officially menopause until it’s been a year. Yep.) However, between first draft and hitting “publish” I started to bleed. Of course.

Surely I can talk about peri-menopause though. And I have this to say, yawn! So far it’s pretty boring. Nothing to report here.

(Okay. There is one thing to report. I had kind of imagined the way menopause worked is that one’s periods gradually end. From 6 days a month to 4 to 2, then every second month. You know, an orderly gradually cessation of all things bloody and crampy. That’s the way it ought to be. If I ran the zoo, as Dr Seuss might say. Instead my periods went from the usual boring kind of thing to wild, extra bloody, extra crampy, and completely unpredictable. It was hard to teach and exercise was challenging and so at my doctor’s advice I got an IUD. Problem solved. Back to extra boring. And I haven’t looked back.)

Boring is not unusual for me. I remember during each pregnancy doctors rhyming off the bad symptoms associated with pregnancy: Swollen ankles? Nope. Heartburn? Nope. Backache? Nope? Basically pregnancy agreed with me and other the warm, happy, fuzzy glow there wasn’t much different about being pregnant. Other than a brief stint of morning sickness of the super convenient variety (I couldn’t cook food or do dishes. I had enough non-pukey time just to sit down and eat quickly.) I walked, biked, and exercised through pregnancy with not much to report other than obvious increase in size. Childbirth was likewise not very dramatic.

So there’s this silence around pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause–these things that some female bodies do. And sure some of it is because its “not supposed to be talked about” but some of it is also because for some of us, it’s dull. How much is there to say really?

In all of these things, it seems obvious, YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY.

So when friends started sharing this piece last week–The Truth is Out There about Menopause— I was surprised. THE truth? Just one?

I didn’t comment. I just ignored it hoping it would go away.

I’m pretty good at avoiding ‘someone is wrong on the internet’ syndrome. I pick my battles.

The part of the piece I liked was about shame.

Jennifer Nadel writes, “There’s also this weird shame. There’s almost a conspiracy of silence around it because obviously being menopausal isn’t quite the same as being hot and young and nubile and sexy. To say out loud “I’m menopausal” feels like saying “I have lost my femaleness,” which obviously isn’t true, but as a result so few of us are really openly talking about it. We’re both in the same book group, and the moment we discovered that everyone else in the group was also going through it, it was just heaven. Whenever women of a certain age gather together, it’s not men or careers they want to talk about, it’s menopause.”

But I was less thrilled with the general tone of the piece which was about all the bad things associated with menopause. Again, the uniformity bugged me. Again, the misery.

Rebecca got it just right I think when she commented,

A post about menopause on a friend’s page this morning got me thinking. All my life I feel like people – very much centrally including other women – have been basically threatening me that my body is going to betray me because of its femaleness. I’ve been told how I will see, just wait for it, my body will get gross and unsexy and low-libido and shapeless and leaky and weak and painful and moody once I am pregnant, no, once I have a kid … no, once I hit 35, no 40, no really it’s once I hit perimenopause, no it’s menopause that will do me in.

I have just realized that I am angry about this. It’s like a constant onslaught of microaggressions designed to undermine my self-trust and my sense of at-homeness in my body. I think it is distinctively gendered … women are supposed to hate and fear our bodies and not trust them, so if we trust and like then well enough now, someone is always ready to tell us how temporary that is.

Now of course plenty of bodies leak and have pain and change shapes at these times and any other time, but there is nothing magical or universal about these changes. Personally, I am basically the same shape and size I was at 19, and my menstrual cycles are the same, and my functionality is the same or better; none of these scary threats has manifested so far. Lucky me, and obviously there is lots of variation, and eventually I will die like everyone else. But I am pissed at being told repeatedly to fear my body and its future, and I am pissed at being asked to orient myself towards inevitable decline, inevitable failure to count as a possible object of sexual desire, etc.

Every body is different. Childbirth and menopause and so on are not magical and they do not come along with any kind of universal shared experience. Let women enjoy their bodies, wherever they are at, in all their strengths and all their frailties and frustrations. Don’t create counterfactual or impending body shame and fear when you can’t manage to generate the actual kind. We are all gonna die eventually. In the meantime, YMMV and YOLO and all that.

Yes, yes, yes.

Also there is this in the news this week: How menopause affects athletic women.

(tl/dr version: The symptoms of menopause are less severe but your race times may be affected.)

Also, menopause seems to be something that only happens to white women with grey hair and scrunched up angry faces according to Google image search. Though I do like the “gun show” photo.

Image description: Google image search results for a search for "menopause." Lots of white white with grey hair, frowning.

Screenshot of Google image search for “menopause” Image result? Lots of white white with grey hair, frowning.

What do you think? Do you think we don’t talk enough about menopause? Do you find such conversations falsely universalizing?

Ride with the Fit is a Feminist Issue bloggers! Consider the 1 day version of the bike rally….

Earlier today I asked you to sponsor me in the bike rally. I’m halfway to my fundraising goal and reaching out to the the blog community.

But there’s another way you can help. You can also ride with me! 

I just got an email from the bike rally that said We Need 50 Riders by April 30!

It read,”Our current registration is lower than it was this time last year and 1st year ridership is down. The 20th year is going to be one of the best and we want to set the stage to sustain the Ride for next year and beyond.”

You don’t need to start out with the 6 day ride. You can start by riding for one day, on the weekend, and do the first day of the rally with us.

Here’s some reasons to ride:

  1. The bike rally is a terrific fundraiser. It’s the main fundraiser for the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation (PWA) which is the largest direct support service agency of its kind for men, transmen, women, transwomen, non-binary people, and children living with HIV/AIDS in Canada. Every year PWA provide over 30,000 unique services to more than 2,500 individuals. Visit www.pwatoronto.org to find out more.
  2. The 1 day ride is a great training goal. It’s 110 km Toronto to Port Hope and lots of the ride is on paths along the waterfront. There’s lunch in a park along the way and dinner and a swim in the lake when we get there. If you live in Toronto the weekly training rides and social events are great ways to get in shape, build your cycling confidence, and get in touch with the community around this cause.
  3. Also, if you list me as your referring person when you register, I get a gift certificate for dinner. We’re hoping to arrange a group night out funded by the certificates. You can meet up with a bunch of the Fit is a Feminist Issue bikers and bloggers and get to know our community too. Come ride with us!

Riding with the Friends for Life Bike Rally Year #4! (Sponsor me please…)

“The Bike Rally originated as a 6-day, 600 km bike ride from Toronto to Montréal. In 2016, the Bike Rally introduced a 1-day, 110 km bike ride from Toronto to Port Hope. Now in its 19th year, the Bike Rally has engaged over 3400 participant as cyclists and crew and has raised over $15 million dollars for the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation (PWA). The Bike Rally is the sustaining fundraiser for PWA supporting its ability to provide critical services and support to individuals living with HIV/AIDS in Toronto.”

I did for the first time in 2014 with my friend David.

I did it again in 2015 with Susan.

And in 2016, Susan and I were team leads.

Now I’m back for round 4. David and I are riding again.

We are hoping to get friends to join us at least for the one day version. You can find out more about the 6 day ride here. And the one day version here.

You can sponsor me here!

Please….

Should university gyms have scales in them? Sam thinks not…

Image description: Clear snowflake against a blue background.

Image description: Clear snowflake against a blue background.

Carleton University is in the news these days for removing scales from the university’s fitness centre change rooms. Conservatives just hate this. Cue rhetoric about the snowflake generation and safe spaces. Brietbart even jumped in but I’m not linking there.

See Conservative news outlets slam Carleton University gym for removing scales.

And Carleton University comes under heavy criticism after gym scale removed.

Why did they get rid of the scale?

Gym officials made the decision to keep up with “current fitness trends,” Bruce Marshall, health and wellness manager at Carlton Athletics told the school newspaper The Charlatan.

“We don’t believe being fixated on weight has any positive effect on your health and well-being,” Marshall told the school’s newspaper.

“It takes weeks, even months to make a permanent change in your weight. So why obsess about it?

It reminded me of my big success getting rid of the scale at the London YMCA downtown branch. Now the scale I successfully had removed was in the family changeroom. It was being used by children. I wrote a letter to the Y after I watched little girls in my daughter’s swim lesson (approx age, 8-10) weighing themselves before and after class. They were standing around complaining about the numbers on the scale. “80 lbs! I’m so fat.” I wrote to the Y and said that given that they run healthy body image workshops and eating disorders support groups that having a weigh scale for children was inconsistent with their values. They agreed and wrote me a nice thank you note.

But of course university students aren’t children. They’re adults. You don’t have to use it, said lots of readers on our Facebook page when I shared news of Carleton’s decision there. I agree.

Some students think of the decision to get rid of the scale as pandering to those with eating disorders. Aaron Bens, a communication and media studies student at Carleton, wrote to CBC that he is “frustrated” by the university’s decision, which he argues is “the next escalation of trigger culture.” Others argue that the scale is necessary for boxers and rowers and others in weight competitive sports. Note though that varsity athletes rarely use the general student gym and fitness centres. Rowers, for example, have their own training rooms with a scale.

I hear the argument that students are adults and decide for themselves whether to step on the scale.

And yet.

I don’t like scales in change rooms at gyms. Here’s my two reasons why not:

  1. They perpetuate the idea of a connection between exercise and weight loss. There isn’t.
  2. Some people with a history of eating disorders may find it hard to resist the allure of the scale.  It’s why those of us who don’t weight ourselves talk about putting the scale away. It’s hard to walk by. I confess I step on the one at the university gym I go to occasionally. Why? Why?
Image description: Purple scale with a sticky note that says, "You'll never be pleased with the number I show you."

Image description: Purple scale with a sticky note that says, “You’ll never be pleased with the number I show you.”

What do you think about scales in lock rooms at university gyms? Thumbs up or thumbs down? Why/why not?