Every year at this time I am astonished that we’ve been blogging for x years, where this year x=9! On August 30, 2012, Sam and I each wrote brief little introductory posts about ourselves called “A bit about Tracy” and “A bit about Samantha.” These inaugural posts show our inexperience at blogging — we didn’t even include our photos! Indeed, many of our initial posts didn’t include photos.
I mention the point about photos because the past nine years have been, for us, as much about learning to blog as about doing our feminist fitness thing. We really were trying to find our way both in the fitness challenge and in what we were hoping to achieve with the blog. As some of you may know but many more recent readers will not know, we didn’t set out still to be blogging nine years hence. We set out to become the fittest we’d ever been in our lives by the time we turned 50, and we had two years to figure out what our respective (and unique) challenges would look like. We didn’t think anyone other than friends and family would follow us.
As the blog caught on, we realized we were wrong about that. Friends and family did support our efforts, but our feminist approach to fitness, down-playing weight loss and highlighting performance and even enjoyment (who knew!?), resonated with lots of people we didn’t know. Soon a lively community had sprung up around the blog. Spin-offs like the Facebook page, Instagram, and Twitter got established. Our roster of guest bloggers kept expanding. Then we had some regulars, which has now expanded to an authors’ group that is a community unto itself.
Every year as late August rolls in I reflect on what we have accomplished, both where our fittest by 50 challenge is concerned (there’s a book!) and how the blog itself has blossomed. It’s definitely a team effort these days. That said, people need to know that the real energy behind the blog comes from Sam, whose leadership has kept it thriving even when most of the others of us (myself included) have gone through periods where we’ve had to reduce our commitment or even take a total break for awhile (often to resurface again at some point).
I was going to blog today asking people to think about what they’re proud of. But then I noticed that just a couple of days ago Christine posted a wonderful “Go Team: Find a Win and Celebrate It”. She does that so well that it made me think of the many wins, large and small, that I’ve celebrated through the life of this blog. So many fitness firsts: first 5K, 10K, triathlon, Olympic triathlon, half marathon, around the bay 30K, marathon, bike with clipless pedals, open water swim in a wetsuit, group run, group training in the pool, bike ride with a group, velodrome attempt. I feel good about the wins of pandemic fitness, where it sometimes has felt like an accomplishment just to get out of bed in the morning and make it to a virtual workout.
And I consistently come back to the blog itself and the community around it as a win. Even when I fall to the periphery of the blog team, as I have done in recent years, I count Fit Is a Feminist Issue among the major “wins” in my life and I feel it is worth celebrating every single year. Yay to Fit Is a Feminist Issue on our ninth anniversary, and wishing us many more!
(Feature photo credit, Luca Onniboni, via Unsplash.)
In the last few years, I have had the pleasure of participating in this blogging community and this is my 50th post! Before joining, I spent about 5 years writing for an audience of one. I have written a cookbook and a memoir, totalling perhaps 600 pages, both of which are 75% crap and will never see the light of day. However, all those hours of writing for myself helped me get up the gumption to try my hand at a public audience, and I am very grateful for Tracy and Sam providing the opportunity for me to contribute here. And sometimes, I even write something worth reading.
I am especially proud of representing the female strength-training community. As a queer woman, building strength and muscle feels like an authentic form of gender and personal expression, and I love being able to give voice to those experiences. My first post on the matter, Doin’ My Part to Keep the Gym a Safe Space for Men, has been one of my most-read posts to date, and no wonder. Unfortunately, issues of inclusivity and gendering gym spaces are still present and apparent, even in fitness podcasting for strength athletes, who I call out in Women are “Someone,” Too. When I wrote Women, Are You Ready to be Weird?, I also addressed pressures we can receive from other women when our fitness goals start pushing against gender norms. I wrote This is My Why hoping to inspire more women to explore what the pursuit of strength can give them.
When I’m not writing about lifting, I am grateful to have a space to address mental health and to increase awareness of the cross-sections between mental health, physical health and overall wellbeing. I have chosen to be open about my experiences of trauma, beginning with addressing how my hysterectomy increased symptoms of PTSD, when I wrote Sex and Trauma After Hysterectomy. (My post on Keeping Fit While Healing from Hysterectomy still gets read by hundreds of people each month, suggesting we are all still seeking reliable resources on this issue.) Since then, I have also tried to increase awareness of mental health challenges that can be exacerbated by the pandemic in No, “Everyone” Should Not Wear a Mask and to give perspective on these times when I shared 8 Lessons for Living With Uncertainty from a Perennially Vulnerable Adult. Most recently, I offered up solutions to the challenge of getting started when I wrote about what works for me in Working Out When You’re Experiencing Depression. It is my hope that sharing these more intimate experiences serves to destigmatize and normalize conversations about mental health, while giving voice for folks experiencing similar challenges and providing a window into those challenges for folks who are not.
Finally, I love having a place to vent my spleen when outrage strikes. My favorite rant to date is Trigger Warning: Pseudoscience, when I had reached my limit for conspiracy theories and false information running rampant in the United States. Perhaps less a rant and more an exercise in wishful thinking, I was taken by a similar muse when I wrote Could COVID-19 be the End of Keto? And I wrote My Cat is Fat. So What?! after yet another veterinarian suggested putting my big kitty on a diet.
I see the work I do here at FIFI as an extension of my work as an educator and activist. It is my hope that my readers find what I have to say informative, thought-provoking and inspiring. I’m ok with not being everyone’s cup of tea. I am opinionated and accept that voicing opinions means making some people uncomfortable sometimes. I don’t like how internet conversations tend to lack nuance and promote us vs. them thinking, and I hope that I don’t contribute to those weaknesses of the medium.
Thank you for being a reader, for sharing your thoughts and support as I’ve written these last few years here at FIFI. I look forward to sharing this work with you for the next 50 posts and beyond!
Marjorie Hundtoft is a middle school science and health teacher. She can be found clacking away at her laptop, picking up heavy things and putting them down again in Portland, Oregon. You can now read her at Progressive-Strength.com .
8. Crotch shots, upskirts and sports reporting. An older post of Sam’s with all the right words for the search engines. But remember they have to click on a blog post with the word “feminist” in the title before we hear about it. So there’s that.
The blog has been going for over eight years now and on Sam’s prompt, we are reblogging some favourite posts. I don’t have one favourite post among the more than 700 of mine that I have to choose from. But I chose to reblog this one because even though it’s a bit “meta,” and not about fitness, it’s a meaningful (to me) reflection on what we are trying to do here and the limits of what we can control. It was also a real turning point for me because it required an awareness and admission of my own bad behaviour, calling myself out for having conducted myself in a way that was decidedly NOT conducive to “what we are trying to achieve.” Thanks for your continued support of the blog! Tracy
Image description: Colourful drawing of five women in silhouette, suggestive of diverse ethnicities/races.
We here at Fit Is a Feminist Issue like to talk about our “big tent feminism” and how we try to make space for everyone. That’s a lofty goal, I know. One of my favourite questions in feminism is “is an inclusive feminism possible?” I use it as a thematic frame for most of my teaching in feminist philosophy and women’s studies, as a way of pushing people in my classes to think about inclusivity and intersectionality not just as theoretical ideas, but in their actual material practices.
It’s hard. We struggle. People get defensive. There are misunderstandings. Hurt feelings. Anger. Difficult conversations. People are called on their privilege and need to look at that. People are afraid to speak for fear of offending, excluding, saying the wrong thing on a multitude of other levels, sounding closed…
We’ve been here on WordPress for 8 years and a bit. In that time we’ve had 4598 posts! And 2,747,658 views of posts. Our busiest day ever on the blog was July 24, 2014.
21,032 people follow us on WordPress. We just celebrated 21k followers last week which is what started me down this rabbithole of numbers.
Also, 16,026 people follow us on Facebook. We’re also on Instagram with just 1336 followers and Twitter with 1745 followers. Follow us if that’s your thing.
But it’s not all about followers. There are other numbers too. From followers I started tracking what people liked and shared this list of our most liked blog posts of all time.
In 2012 our posts averaged 580 words but in the 2013 they’d grown to 690 words on average. Post length seems pretty consistent through the years though. Last year, in 2020, it was 681 words on average.
Weirdly, post likes have varied quite a bit. Posts got an average of 2.4 likes in 2012. In 2014 they got an avereage of 21 likes, and last year in 2020, 13.3 likes.
Comments also vary through the years. We hit a high in 2013, 9.1 comments per post on average and just 2.9 in 2020.
Where are all the people from? By and far, most of the blog’s readers through the years are in the United States (1.3 million), next is Canada (584k) and then the UK (225k), Australia (120k), Germany (41k), India (35k), New Zealand (22k), France (21k), Netherlands (18k), Sweden (17k) and Ireland (16k).
After that it’s Phillipines, South Africa, Finland, Singapore, Spain, Italy, Norway, Belgium, Brazil, Switzerland, Japan, Malaysia, Denmark, Mexico….and lots more.
Oh, and the blog is busiest, in terms of views, either Monday morning at 9 am or Wednesday afternoon at 2 pm.
Just a couple of more sets of numbers.
Our total word count in 2013 was 293,809
And in 2020, with a lot more bloggets, it had grown to 448,250
Finally, let’s look at the number of posts through the years.
In 2013, 426 posts.
Moving beyond numbers, I also sometimes track search terms that bring people to the blog. This week’s include ‘workout feminist beginner’ and ‘how does renpho calculate metabolic age’ and ‘fit feminist hiit’ and ‘biggest loser new season 2021’ and ‘is it normal to have a period at 53’ and ‘you are not your biological destiny women.’
All the statistics and data aside, we love your engagement. Bloggers at Fit is a Feminist Issue like your comments and your feedback. You might even consider writing a guest post. Drop us a line some time soon!
Stop: like Susan, I don’t really have anything I want to stop
Start: hopefully baby swimming classes with the little person… I just need the pools to re-open.
Continue: doing something physical almost every day even once I return to work in February. It’s going to be tricky because I’ll be busy and tired. Let’s see how it goes, I also don’t want it to become One More Thing I Have To Do (there are plenty of those already).
Bettina started blogging at Fit is a Feminist Issue in 2018. One of her first posts was Competitive Streak.
START. A new writing project, even if it’s picking back up an old one I abandoned for a while. And I have to add, that I thought of this answer yesterday and woke up this am thinking of how I wanted to revise my approach to a long-standing, never finished, project. As if just setting this intention in my mind, manifested a creative idea! Now to start. For real.
STOP. The negative self talk that can be like a ball and chain, preventing me from moving forward. Okay, if I’m honest, this is really just a “reduce”.
CONTINUE. The COVID habit my partner and I have developed of taking walks end of day or in the evening. It’s such a super treat to amble, something I’ve never been good at, because I’m either “working out” or “on my way somewhere”.
START: going outside every single day for at least a 30 minute walk (I find myself doing way too much inside time during lockdown because now I have all the exercise equipment inside). Getting enough sleep. Eating more mindfully in the evenings.
STOP: ordering takeout that ends up with delivery costs that double the price of the food. Staying up too late.
CONTINUE: the writing project I started working on in the summer and lost track of during a super busy fall.
ALSO I am going to continue my quest to do every single Zwift route. That satisfies my unruly completist side lol. I have currently done 37 of the 76 available routes.
Start: My project for this year, in every area of my life, is to commit to working WITH my ADHD instead of trying to fight it. I’m tweaking everything, especially exercise plans, to make it easier to be consistent.
Stop: I’m stopping ‘exercise shopping’ – I save all these interesting-looking workouts in my bookmarks and in my FB saves but I don’t go back to them. If I am not planning to try them at a specific time, I refuse to continue to build up a ‘should’ file.
Continue: I will continue to take my dog, Khalee, out for a 20-30 minute walk each afternoon, no matter what the weather brings.