Feb 8, 2011

Jezebel on Women's "Fitness" Magazines

I've decided to start posting some of the best things I read on the interwebs here (and not just because it's easier than coming up with my own stuff to say all the time), so here's the first:

As a woman who loves running and other forms of exercise because they make me feel strong and help save me from my own head, I particularly appreciated this Jezebel takedown (er, analysis) of women's so-called "fitness" magazines. I wish there were good women's running magazines out there, or a good women's equivalent of Outside, which seems to specialize in putting half-naked men on the cover alongside headlines like "Road Tested: The World's Manliest Minivan." But alas, we're stuck with crappy magazines that tell us how to lose weight and look pretty while we exercise.

Here are a couple of choice excerpts from the Jezebel post:
We've long suspected that "fitness" is secret ladymagcode for "neurotic thinness," and a perusal of three of this month's "health" and "fitness" offerings- Self, Fitness, and Women's Health has shown that there's some serious subliminal self-worth eroding shit going on. Readers are sold the idea of being healthy and strong and fit and end up with a stack of weight loss ads and splashy graphics about having pretty hair. The pervasive "lose weight" message is fed to us like a dog pill slathered in peanut butter, and we're expected to just take it and go happily scampering off.
Women's fitness magazines are packaged and sold as an alternative to the sex obsessed man pleasing tips of the Cosmos of the world, but they're the same shit in a different package. They're still telling us that the way to be happy is to be conventionally attractive and thin and firm and toned, to occupy the socially acceptable amount of space. They're not about pleasing yourself; they're about pleasing others, and their suggestion that they're anything beyond that is insulting and condescending. Where's the magazine that promises to help you squat 150 pounds by June? Where's the guide to starting your own football league? Where's the secret to eating foods that will satisfy you after pounding out a 10 mile half marathon training run?

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