A lot of basic feminism talks about how you shouldn’t be concerned with what other people think of your looks; you should love yourself and your body as it is, whatever size. That’s really great because of course everyone should love themselves as much as they can. And I certainly do. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel lazy because I don’t work out as often as I think I should (i.e., at all) or that I don’t feel like crap after I eat crap. Obviously I love delicious food. But a lot of food is also obviously bad for me, and a lot of it happens to be the really delicious stuff.
It’s a struggle to decide between eating well and building my body into something that will last a long time or making a shallow attempt at the feminist approach by just doing whatever I want and eating whatever I want. But here’s the thing: Just because I decide that I want to eat well and work out doesn’t make me less of a feminist. What does is trying to dictate to other people that they should be eating a certain way or working out for some reason or another–and I don’t do that. At least, I try my best not to because it’s not my place to make that decision for someone, just like it’s not their place to make it for me. It’s also not their place to assume that I want to get fit because I want to “look hot” in the mainstream sense, because most days (most days, because I am human and I am not perfectly immune to being self-conscious) it’s so not about that. It’s about the fact that I bitch and moan just walking from the car into the house, or I don’t have the money to buy new clothes after I grow out of old ones, or I just feel physically uncomfortable after a certain meal because I don’t know when to stop.
There’s also a lot of problematic stuff within the fitness community because most so-called “fitspiration” is based around that mainstream look that people want to achieve through food and exercise. They want to be skinny and fit into size two jeans. They want to have a six pack or reach a certain number on the scale, and I think that just shouldn’t be the goal–not on a feminist fitness journey anyway.
This post is not only to make other people aware of this concept (because believe it or not, there are some people outside my feminist circle who may not realize it), but also simply to remind myself. Once in a while someone will make an off-hand comment about how useless it is to go running or how it’s more fun to gorge yourself on pizza, the apparent chosen life source of tumblr, and it’ll bring me down, make me wonder if I’m doing the right thing when I say I want to workout and maybe eat a salad. But I’m also not going to pick on someone because they opt not to make the same choices as I do. Fitness should be about loving yourself because you can run faster, do more reps, lift more weight and only because those are the goals you want. If they aren’t the goals for you, then cool. Find the key to loving yourself more that does resonate with you. If it’s that extra piece of pizza, then I say go for it. Who am I to stop you?