How many people can say without hesitation that they emulate a healthy lifestyle by going to the gym and eating right?
I can say that I kind of do! I mean I go to the gym and I try to eat as healthy as I can, I get my protein and all. But when I get those cravings (and girls you can relate here) chocolate is really hard to deny and then the gym becomes a distant friend. It’s so hard to want to go to the gym and work out and be fit when all you get bombarded with are these jacked up juice heads that overpower the machines and the ones that go just for fun and don’t really need to be there just seem to stare and make comments about others! I for one am a fan of the classes I think that they’re fun and I don’t really feel like I’m doing an intense workout when really I am. The classes I find provide a very welcoming and inclusive environment free of those harsh eyes and criticisms (though I think for the most part the fact that people think others are staring at them while they work out is wrong, because in reality no one cares they focus on their own workout).
These gendered stereotypes that bombard us are probably the most evident when we’re at the gym! Which makes it just that much more difficult to want to go. Dworkin pointed out some key things that are quite important and that is that the human body gets constructed in a particular way through the constant repetition and selection of certain images and fitness practices. This leads people to the internalization of these images and practices that makes them eventually think that their body isn’t good enough or that the female form of a body builder can never be as sexy or as beautiful as someone who is on the verge of passing out from being too skinny- but hey she can walk down a runway with style, so who cares right?
There were three people in the fitness industry that I heard speak about health and fitness and they were all quite interesting. One of the women was a competitor in body building competitions and though she didn’t look like Arnold Schwarzenegger she had a decent amount of muscle and still looked like a woman. We get ourselves into the notion that women who compete or who have too much muscle are to be considered manly and not much like a woman and that is the result of these stereotypes we’ve fallen into believing as right. These things happen on a subconscious level that we aren’t even aware of sometimes but the fact that most women don’t feel that they can step foot into a gym until they look a certain way is just ridiculous.
The two other speakers spoke about being fit and active and incorporating being fit and active almost like play into everyday life. And it provided me with some motivation to want to go to the gym probably more often than I do to begin with. I think what is really important when considering the human body and what it should look like we don’t do ourselves an injustice by thinking that what society tells us is correct. Because though we aren’t always aware of the male and female “ideal” body form that we get bombarded with I think it’s about time that we do.