Imagine if size really didn’t matter. Can you? #tbt

Today I’m doing a “Throwback Thursday” post where I invite you, once again, to imagine how different life would be if we actually lived in a world where size doesn’t matter. Happy Thursday!

Fit Is a Feminist Issue

tape-measureOne of the most intriguing news items this week reported on a six-year study that measured what happened to the contestants who lost dramatic amounts of weight in Season 8 of the reality TV show we here at Fit Is a Feminist Issue love to hate: The Biggest Loser.

For those of us who have gained and lost, lost and gained, and lost and gained again, the most obvious result wasn’t a shocker. The contestants are heavier than they were when the show ended.  The season’s winner, Danny Cahill, went from 430 pounds to 191 pounds over the seven month period of the weight loss competition.

And he’s gained 100 of it back. According to The New York Times article “After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight,” the regain is despite his best efforts. “In fact,” the article goes on to say, “most of that season’s…

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Bleeding while running and ending menstrual stigma, #tbt

#tbt to the time when I blogged about bleeding while running and ending menstruation taboos. What do you think?

Fit Is a Feminist Issue

An awful lot of people have sent us the story about the woman who ran a marathon while menstruating and asked us to say something about it. Since I’m still menstruating despite my age (see an upcoming post called “Menopause: Seems I’m Late to the Party”) I thought I’d chime in.

Here’s the People Magazine version: Woman Runs London Marathon Without a Tampon, Bleeds Freely to Raise Awareness. That should give you a sense of how much attention this story is getting.

Kiran Gandhi, who has played drums for singer M.I.A. and Thievery Corporation, decided to run the London Marathon without a tampon. Gandhi let her blood flow freely to raise awareness about women who have no access to feminine products and to encourage women to not be embarrassed about their periods.

“I ran the whole marathon with my period blood running down my legs,” the 26-year-old wrote of…

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Is Aging a Lifestyle Choice? #tbt

You know how some people seem young at 50, and others much older, what if there were an element of choice about it all? What if we aged because we slowed down, rather than slowed down because of age? I’m still thinking about this. Here’s a post on the topic for a few years ago.

Fit Is a Feminist Issue

I’ve been reading, and really enjoying, Gretchen Reynolds’ book on exercise science, The First Twenty Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can: Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer.

Lots of it is fun but for those of us who follow exercise science in the media not really news.  I read Reynolds’ Phys Ed column in the New York Times and lots of the chapters cover in more detail, and with footnotes and references, material covered there. That’s fine. Nice to have it all in one place. High Intensity Interval Training beats out long, slow workouts. Yep. Chocolate milk is a better recovery drink than Gatorade. Yep. Exercise doesn’t help (much) in the quest to lose weight. Yep. Sad but true. OK, it gets worse. Massage after exercise–a cyclist’s favourite thing–doesn’t actually increase blood flow to muscles or help remove lactic acid to aid recovery. (Read about that sad result…

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Testing athletes for “too much” testosterone shows how inadequate the sex binary really is, #tbt

Tracy on whether testing athletes for testosterone makes any sense…

Fit Is a Feminist Issue

As if elite women athletes don’t suffer enough indignities just from media coverage, journalists who would rather see them twirl than ask about their tennis game, and being either hyper-sexualized or having their sex and sexuality challenged and questions. No, that’s not enough. Because people are so convinced that women have more limited athletic potential than men, even at the elite level, women who do excel must prove that they do not have “too much testosterone.”

Caster Semenya knows all about this type of challenge. In 2011 her fellow athletes challenged her accomplishments by questioning her sex. This led to mandatory sex testing, and the whole thing was handled badly. Initially banned from competition, Semenya has since been allowed to return. But her treatment left a permanent mark, and the major governing bodies in international sport, including the International Olympic Committee, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association and the International…

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Throwback Thursday!: Gender Policing of Girls in Children’s Sports

Throwback Thursday here on the’s Tracy’s thoughts from last summer on gender policing in children’s sports. Enjoy!

Fit Is a Feminist Issue

gender police comic

A friend of mine has an eleven year-old daughter, Maggie, who is gifted at sports. She is good at baseball, soccer, hockey, and has even played football on a boys team. Maggie also has a preference for keeping her hair short.

My friend got an email message from Maggie’s soccer coach the other day. Apparently, not once but twice recently the referees (young men) have literally STOPPED THE GAME and confronted Maggie about playing on U12 (under 12) girls team. Why? Because it’s a girls’ league, of course, and only girls are allowed to play.

My blood began to boil right then and there as my friend told me this story over lunch.

The coach was more than a little annoyed. She was writing to Maggie’s mother to let her know what had happened and how she (the coach) handled it. Instead of dealing with the referees directly, she felt…

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Throwback Thursday!: Report on First 5K Race

It’s Throwback Thursday! Since Tracy’s now training for a half marathon, I thought it would be fun to share her race report from 2 years ago, her first 5 km!

Fit Is a Feminist Issue

This morning I ran my first 5K race, along with Samantha and another friend, Tara. We chose to do this race in support of the Learning Disabilities Association of London (Ontario). All three of us went into it non-competitively, aiming just to complete the course and enjoy ourselves.  I woke up to rain early this morning but felt so excited that it didn’t matter to me one bit. As it turned out, though blustery and wet, it didn’t actually rain and the air felt quite warm — warm enough that I opted for short sleeves.  I picked up Samantha and we got there early.  This was a pretty low-key event, so it wasn’t intimidating at all. For first timers, I really recommend the 5Ks that aren’t combined with more serious distances (like 10K, half marathons, and marathons) because if this one is any indication, most people are there just to…

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Pictures of Women Cyclists of the 1890s (from our archives! )

Update on the photos. I got an email Alice Roepke
(Website: who says
“You asked, so I want to let you know that the “pictures of other women racers” belong to me. They are from a PowerPoint presentation i made for The Wheelman back in 2000. Tillie Anderson was my great aunt. She died in 1965 when i was 3, but was like a second mother to my mom since she didn’t have children of her own. I have all her collection of scrapbooks, pictures, and racing memorabilia, including one of her bicycles. Pretty cool. Thank you for helping to promote her story on your blog!”


Fit Is a Feminist Issue


Thanks to my friend Dave on Facebook for sharing these wonderful pictures of women cyclists from the 1890s. He found them on Tumblr. I spent a bit of time trying to track them down to give credit but no luck. If you know where they come from, please let us know in the comments!

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