"Betty Leopard": Fitspiration and Body-Shaming

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Fitspiration and Body-Shaming

This isn't something I'd ever given any thought too before last night when I was messing around on Pinterest putting together a Bad-Ass Body Motivation board.

I have gained a fair bit of weight over the past six months, through the combination of doing little other than sitting down to write my thesis, stress and comfort eating, followed by Christmas indulgences and now, comfort eating because it's cold! Getting back into exercise, shedding the extra pounds and getting back into decent shape was one of my primary goals on completing my thesis - unfortunately I have struggled getting off my butt and actually doing anything about it so far. Hence the inspirational pin-board.

It was while searching for fitspiration pins that I came across a whole raft of #stopfitspiration images, which really surprised me. It seems that, for the people promoting #stopfitspiration, fitspiration is more-or-less the same as thinspiration - promoting unhealthy body image aspirations that are ultimately harmful and addressing the problem in entirely the wrong way. #stopfitspiration-ers take the view that you should love yourself before you change yourself, not work on changing yourself to help you love yourself. Whilst I will acknowledge that that is an admirable stand-point, I honestly don't think it's practical for most people and I also don't think that wanting to improve your body and your health through increased fitness is actually that unhealthy (unless of course you take it too extremes, which I'm not advocating).

So, in your opinion, is fitspiration - or, in proper English, encouraging exercise and fitness - just another form of body-shaming? Is promoting a healthy lifestyle and improved fitness really a bad thing and sending the message that the way you are/look now is deficient or wrong?
Maybe it comes down to the way you look at it - is fitspiration about encouraging exercise to change the way people look or encouraging exercise to improve people's fitness and health?

As far as I'm concerned, it isn't. I see the promotion of fitness as a promotion of health, and there's no way that can be bad, right? From my point of view, it isn't about saying that any body shape or anything about the way you look is wrong, it's about saying that everyone benefits from being fit, any changes in the way your body looks are just a side effect - if you're fitter, you'll feel better no matter what your shape, size or style.

I'd really love to hear your thought on this as it still baffles me a bit,

3 comments:

  1. This topic always seems to be a sensitive one, but I think there is a major difference in fitsperation and thinsperation. The thinsperation posters seem to be completely motivated by getting bone skinny, not healthy. I don't think there is anything wrong with find inspiration to make yourself healthy, motivate you to work-out and improve not just your body, but yourself.

    Jillian - http://epic-thread.blogspot.com

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  2. Is there any way of doing a fitspiration board that doesn't have any bodies on it? Say having a piccy of an apple and a map of a place you want to walk round? Or maybe a picture of internal organs not covered in a layer of fat? Then that would definitely be about the health and not the look xxx

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