This image didn’t always piss me off. And others like it didn’t always piss me off. I was used to seeing them, hearing the rhetoric, and was deeply subscribed to the belief that it was normal & appropriate to motivate women this way.
In an industry where it’s often hard to get women to hop on the resistance train, encouraging them with reminders that it’ll turn them into ridiculously hot amazon women seems to work. Women respond to it and if it gets them squatting, the ends justify the means, right? (No. Not right, but we’ll get to that).
Clearly, I don’t feel the same way now. Body love epiphanies and tipping points will do that to you. But if you’re still where I was, and think these images are harmless, here’s some reasons you might want to rethink them.
First, let’s explore “The Making Of A Pro-Squat Fitspo Image For Women”.
A. Find pictures of bootylicious booties, usually headless. If said images aren’t already headless, cut the heads off. Zoom in on booty.
B. Place the words “squat” or “deadlift” all over them. If possible, accompany by a statement (implied or explicit) that those two exercises will make your booty RIDIC HOT, just like the headless girls in the image. Make said booty as sexually explicit as possible by showcasing it in underwear or booty shorts.
C. To really drive the point home, give the comparison treatment: showcase another smaller, flatter booty, (also headless) and dub said booty the ‘BAD non-squatty, non-deadlifty” booty Just another visual, to make sure you know the difference between a good butt and a bad butt.
D. If true fear or shame is what you’re after, apply a hefty dose of “men prefer women who squat, because of course” and duh, you want a hot booty to impress the fellas. The more implications that your ability to be attractive to men depends on squats, the better.
(I thought the difference was having a donkey vs. not. My bad).
Quick recap: Flat booties = bad. Big, round, tight booties = good. Oh, and flat booties are unattractive to men and having one makes you lazy. Cause clearly, you don’t squat and squatting is EVERYTHING. The only evidence that you squat is whether or not your booty looks like hers. Even if her own booty doesn’t look like that in real life (because, you know. Trickery).
Now, a little history. My history. Here’s WHAT I THOUGHT THESE IMAGES DID.
Encourage women to add squats and resistance training to their programs & help them achieve their goals.
Why? Because it made sense to me. Because a hot booty was what I was after. Because I believed (laughably now) that at least SOME of my self-worth rested on getting a perfect butt. Because every woman I talked to would only get excited about exercise as a means to ‘get hotter’, and it seemed like a logical way to motivate them. Because everywhere I turned, I was reminded that I needed to fix myself and improve myself and get hotter. And I figured, hey. Squats are awesome. And why not tell women it makes their butts ah-mazing. That kind of marketing used to work on me. I thought it was harmless. So I liked these pictures. And spread ‘em around.
And then, I had a mother f*cking body love epiphany. And suddenly, all the sparkle got sucked out of these images. They seemed aggressive. Violent. Aggravating. And horrifying.
(because squats are EVERYTHING. You will get dumped if you don’t do ‘em or if you don’t have a big, round, tight and cellulite free behind. Duh. )
(yeah. Not objectifying at all).
(aww… it’s a bum heart. Or a ‘bart’. I wonder if she squats in full makeup and jewellery too).
I learned a few things. Here are some of them…
HERE’S WHAT THESE IMAGES ACTUALLY DO
There couldn’t possibly be other reasons to squat, other than getting a hot booty for the fellas… at least according to these pics.
So yeah. That’s why I don’t post this stuff anymore. And why I hate when other professionals do it. And why I sympathize with girls who are still motivated this way. When I look at the message I want to put out in the world, none of the things on that list seem appealing.
Don’t get me wrong: I’d LOVE for you to squat your heart out. And pick up weights. Because it has the potential to make you feel powerful. And confident. And strong. It can build muscle, maintain and increase your bone density, and make it easier to do tons of things you do everyday. And yes, they totally make your booty feel awesome. And maybe look awesome too. (no shame in liking or wanting a firm booty). I’m pro-squats and pro-deadlifts. Totally down and would love for you to do them. If I could, I’d change my name to Chichi “Squats”.
But…. I’m not pro-shaming. Or pro-objectification. Or pro-insecurity. Or pro-“there’s a right & wrong way to have a body”. And you don’t have to squat to be fit, worthy or valuable.
ALL BOOTIES ARE GOOD BOOTIES. And if you love squats, there are a million reasons and ways to encourage women to try them without resorting to body shaming, guilt tripping or objectification. Think critically, not only about what you consume but about what you post. Fitspo images say much more that just what’s on the surface.
P. S - If you’re stuck finding other ways to spread the squat love, literally, just post the word ‘squat’ with a heart. Like this: “I ♥ Squats”.
- End rant.
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