Is Strong is the New Skinny really progress?

Print

We’ve all heard the slogan declaring “Strong is the new skinny” or some other variation on the same theme. I’d like us all to be honest with ourselves about this. It is not a new, empowering movement where women are seen for what they can do as opposed to how they look. Molds aren’t being broken, unfortunately. Before I get into my real beef with this new “movement” (the images that typically accompany those words), I’ll start with the slogan itself. Pitting one ideal against another does nothing positive for female body image, which thanks to years and years of ad campaigns and magazine spreads, tends to be very fragile. We don’t need strong to replace skinny. Some women are strong, and some women are skinny. Some women are happy being strong, and some women are happy being skinny. Most of us fall somewhere in between happiness and insecurity; feeling like we just never measure up. Now instead of feeling like we aren’t skinny enough, we get to feel like maybe we aren’t strong enough. It simply swaps one ideal for another and that is not progress.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think strong is good. I have no problem with strong. I have no problem focusing on what a woman is capable of. Unfortunately, the images that typically accompany this slogan, or its many variations, negate any argument that this movement is positive for women and about something other than appearance. Let me provide a few examples:

fit girl 1

fit girl 2

fit girl 3

There is no denying that these women are fit and muscular, and maybe pretty strong too. What they aren’t is a deviation from the status quo; thin, white, and selling sex. The above images display women who are posed in athletic gear akin to what one might wear in the bedroom with their partner. The second image even uses the term sexy. It doesn’t mention strength at all. What these images are not doing is focusing on ability. It’s all body image, and nothing more. Not one woman in these pictures is actually exhibiting any feat of strength. They are simply reduced to their body parts. If it were truly about strength, those words would be accompanied by photos of women being strong. Beauty sells, sex sells, and a woman’s worth is tied to her looks, and this new fitspo movement is doing nothing to change that. If strength and ability were what it was all about, the following images would accompany those words:

strong girl 1

strong girl 2

These are images of women being strong. This is what should inspire women to get out there and lift, and if that results in them looking like one of the women in the previous photos, great. If not, that’s great too.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Printable Version

We Are Scouting Top Writers

Are you passionate about fitness and have something to say? Reach a huge online community and get the discussion going - start writing for Tabata Times today!

Share this post
@TabataTimes on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook 
Advertise Here

Most Popular of All Time

hashtagmiguel published the post Why are you here? on Tabata Times
Why is a question most people hesitate to answer, hesitate to ask, hesitate to bring up. You can...
zmosbarger published the post It's Okay to Compete on
We’ve taken to the road again after a ten-day pit stop back home in Bellefontaine, Ohio. We...
CrossFit Chesapeake posted an article
Compound CrossFit posted an article
Patriot CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

Athlete Profile Name: Guch Hometown: Anchorage PCF: When did you start with PCF? G: September 2008 PCF: Favorite WOD G: None PCF: Least Favorite WOD G: None PCF: What is...

CrossFit Falls Church shared an image on Facebook

Thursday, Oct 16

Patriot CrossFit posted an article
CrossFit Reston shared a link on Facebook

10 rounds for time of: • 3 power cleans 205/115# • 6 HR Push Ups • 9 wall ball shots 20/14# Compare to 1/27/14

Ballston CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

Mark your calendar! http://ballstoncrossfit.com/tuesday-november-11-2014-630pm-veterans-day-wod-with-warriors/

CrossFit Rosslyn shared an image on Facebook

Thrusters and Muscle Ups = a good friendship. Congrats to Katie G. for getting her muscle up in the AM!

Ballston CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Foundations special (only $99 for 6 classes over the next few weeks)! If you have friends interested in joining BCF, encourage them to do it soon! Please share this graphic on your Facebook wall to help promote BCF around Arlington! Next course starts October 28, register before it's full! http://ballstoncrossfit.com/get-started/

CrossFit Falls Church posted on Facebook

Free workout at noon every Saturday for prospective clients. No need to sign up in advance - just show up!

CrossFit Focus shared an image on Facebook

It's Thursday, ladies!

CrossFit Pittsburgh posted on Facebook

I just wanted to say a special thanks to everyone for yesterday's Hero WOD. Thank you for remembering my Brothers. Special thanks to everyone at the 5:30pm.

CrossFit Iron City shared a link on Facebook

Thursday 10/16/14 http://wp.me/p2Jf7S-18Q

CrossFit Iron City posted an article
CrossFit Rosslyn shared an image on Facebook

CrossFit Focus shared an image on Facebook

Now that's teamwork right there!

CrossFit Focus shared a link on Facebook

Only as high as I reach can I grow; Only as far as I seek can I go; Only as deep as I look can I see; Only as much as I dream can I be.

Salvador published the post To cheat or not to cheat? The "misscounting disorder" on
You hear the signal "3-2-1...go!", the adrenaline starts pumping, you are fully beast-mode. You...
Fentress CrossFit posted on Facebook

Thursday's WOD: "Randy" For Time 75 Power snatchs 75/55 (Note Time) Then 2000m Row

CrossFit Prime posted an article
CrossFit 77 posted an article
CrossFit 77 posted an article
CrossFit LKN posted an article
CrossFit Shadyside posted on Facebook

http://crossfitshadyside.blogspot.com/2014/10/thursday-101614.html

Oak City CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Members of the OCCF Rowing Team are at the box RIGHT NOW getting those last meters in before the Concept2 Fall Challenge ends. Nice work y'all!

Fearless Athletics CrossFit South Philly posted an article
CrossFit Athletics posted an article
CrossFit Invoke posted an article
paleobutter published the post Sicilian Stuffed Peppers on Nutrition WOD
[yumprint-recipe id='124']
Ballston CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

CrossFit Invoke shared an image on Facebook

Emily is putting in work with sand bag thrusters! #getit #workout #workhard #cfinvoke #cfiathlete #cfibootycamp #relentlesslife #crossfit #strong #barbellbabes #fitness #fitlife

Outlaw CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS! http://outlawcrossfit.com/2014/10/15/bring-a-friend-promotion/

CrossFit Rosslyn shared a link on Facebook

Thursday, 10/16/14:

CrossFit Rosslyn posted an article
Patriot CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

Pregnancy and CrossFit This post isn’t going to apply to all of you, but I think it is worth addressing, so bear with me. I’ve been approached by quite a...

CrossFit Novem posted an article
CrossFit Old Town shared an image on Facebook

CrossFit Love shared an image on Facebook

LV III – 10.16.14 Competition Programming Swim Intervals 50 meters x 15, Rest is :30 - :60 between each Inflammation Maintenance Mobility Weakness Work - spend 20:00 improving range of motion "Optional" - Performance Upper Body Strength Programming

CrossFit Focus shared an image on Facebook

CrossFit RTP shared an image on Facebook

The community keeps you coming back! Check out our community at our FREE intro class this Saturday at 10:50 am!! Tag a friend who wants to try crossfit. #CrossfitRTP #Crossfit #DurhamNC #Community #TeamPlayer

CrossFit Gastonia shared a link on Facebook

Thursday's WOD http://www.crossfitgastonia.com/w-o-d

CrossFit Arlington shared a link on Facebook

Thurs 16 Oct 2014 http://wp.me/p2SUDs-1fh

CrossFit Pittsburgh posted an article
CrossFit Wilmington posted an article
Trident CrossFit posted an article
CrossFit Integrated Fitness shared a link on Facebook

http://if-fit.com/workout-of-the-day-october-16th-2014/

CrossFit Arlington posted an article
CrossFit Harrisburg posted on Facebook

Barbell for boobs. Sunday, October 19 at 3:00pm Deload week, will max next week. Thurs Squat Clean and Jerk (5x5 @ 60%) Touch and go Speed and technique stay light Metcon (AMRAP - Reps) 12 min Amrap 3-6-9-12… slamball 30/20 box jump 24/20

CrossFit Main Line shared an image on Facebook

Our 6am class took on a 20 minute AMRAP loaded with lots of fun movements today! 14 Oct 2014 WEDNESDAY 10.15.14 W.O.D. WEDNESDAY 10.15.14 W.O.D. Explosive Strength Skill: Seated Box Jumps (Max Height) ** Sit on box at knee height WOD: 20min AMRAP 50 Wallballs (20,14) 50 Dubs (x3) 40 Box Jumps (24,20) 40 T2B 30 C2B 30 Burpees 20 Power Cleans (135,95) 20 Push Jerks (135,95) 10 Snatches (135,95) 10 MUs

CrossFit Main Line posted an article
CrossFit Main Line posted an article
CrossFit Main Line posted an article
CrossFit Main Line posted an article
CrossFit Main Line posted an article
CrossFit Center City shared an image on Facebook

Woohoo! These dumbbells now have clearly labelled homes and are also much easier to find to use. By our powers combined we can keep these organized! Jordan, Meg, and Perrin are the heroes responsible for this little project! #captainplanet

CrossFit Wake Forest posted on Facebook

10/16/2014 WOD: A single set of Strict Pull-ups for max reps. Then: Helen 3 rounds for time of: Run, 400 m 21 Kettlebell Swings, 1.5/1 pood 12 Pull-ups

Raleigh CrossFit posted an article
Raleigh CrossFit posted an article

@TabataTimes on Twitter

Watch the latest episode of GPTV