Fat and Not Afraid

Respect and love are for EVERY body.

header photo

Fat Athletics Clothing Fail

May 30, 2012

You may or may not have noticed a couple of new buttons in my lower side-bar; Hybrid RastaMama and A Little Etsy Love. As I commented on my last post there for the blog carnival, I’m *really* glad I started reading HRM because we’re learning a lot about attachment parenting and I’m getting comfortable with the idea of wearing a sling and actually taking Katherine places. (Unlike with Gabe, where the thought of leaving the house with him induced full on panic attacks and melt-downs.)

A Little Etsy Love is there so hopefully I can win prizes and remember to check their site for opportunities to do so! Through ALEL (abbreviations are fun!) I found an Etsy shop that specializes in women’s running shirts and tanks, many of which are rather clever but some that are just UGH. Trigger warnings for fat shaming, excersice anorexia and weight-loss talk.

I know there are some runners out there in the Fatosphere, but I’m not one of them. I’ve said fairly consistently since my teens, even my preteens, that the only time I’ll run is to catch a bus or if I’m being chased by a bear. Now that I’m a mom, add in “and to keep Gabe out of harms way.” Other than prenatal yoga once a week right now, I don’t work out. Never have, probably never will. Partially it’s because I just don’t *care* enough to bother, plus lack of energy (part time job + parenting + pregnancy + relationship + Circle + blogging); partially it’s because gym memberships and assorted working out paraphernalia is quite expensive, and partially it’s because of my perception of work-out culture. The people who work out are already in shape; they’re toned, trim, tanned and sexy. They wear cute outfits and chat together about how many reps they’ve done while filling up their bottles from the water cooler. They see someone like me come into the gym and the thought is immediately “What is SHE doing here?” I’ve read many stories from many blogs of people who are fat who’ve dared to ride bicycles in public or go to the gym or pool and been ridiculed right out the door and never gone back, so I know at least partially this anti-fat attitude isn’t just in my head. So I don’t go.

With this Etsy shop, there were a couple of items I saw and thought “I’d wear that, if I was a gym-rat.” Many of the shirts are benign, with sayings like “Just Run Hard” or “Sweat Now-Rest Later” and my favorite, “Beastmode”. In any case, there are shirts here for athletes of many sizes, but sadly the shop only goes up to an XL. I’m not really surprised by this, honestly, just making a note.

And then there are some that, while I’m sure are tongue in cheek and not *meant* to be hurtful, are. For example “Train Insane Or Stay The Same” says to me “exercise anorexia is ok!” Also, saying something is ‘insane’ is a swipe at people with mental health problems, that we’re out of control and dangerous, and really, I’m tired of that trope. “Sweating for the Dress” feeds into the Fantasy of Being Thin and the overall notion that the size you’re at is just not good enough for your wedding day and certainly not for the person you’re marrying! “Sweating for Two” is complicated because I know a lot of pregnant women are pressured to not gain ‘too much’ weight, or to even lose weight during pregnancy if they can, so while a woman wearing this shirt might think what she’s doing is a healthy, positive thing, the reality is weight gain during pregnancy is normal, and dieting or losing weight can actually have a negative effect on their developing fetus. At the same time, if there’s ever a time in your life to take a strong look at your health and habits, a pregnancy is it. You’re building a whole new person, best be doing it in the best way possible you can. “Eat Clean, Train Dirty” is another complicated one; what does this even MEAN? Also, “No Days Off”-why not? Don’t our muscles and bodies need time between workouts to repair damage and build new tissues?

Lastly there are the actual cringe-inducing shirts, the ones I wont be posting up because hey, we don’t need any more fat-hating. These designs/slogans literally make my lip curl in disdain and shake my head. I’m sure there are many people who just LOVE them, and have even bought them and proudly wear them on the track or to the gym, and then curl THEIR lip in disdain and shake their head without a trace of irony because there isn’t a fat person in sight. I’m sorry but if on-top of the cost, in time, money and energy, of working out, I have to deal with outright fat-hatred in my exercise environment, you can be sure I wont be going into that environment.

Because of the lack of size options and the offering of outright fat hating/shaming options, I’m not linking to the shop directly, only writing about it as one of I’m sure many examples of being *so close* yet so damn far when it comes to providing fun, affordable and fashionable exercise clothes for fat folks. If you have any links to fat positive shops, please leave them in the comments!

Go Back

Comments for this post have been disabled.