Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Not getting it

I saw this in the WSU Daily Evergreen the other day, and was totally astonished. It's an ad from Campus Recreation (that I finally got around to scanning, badly).


(More later - I have to run.)

MORE: So obviously, someone at Campus Recreation doesn't exactly get what is meant to be accomplished by Body Image Awareness Week. I'd be interested to see if they would like to write an article for Modern Jackass about the importance of maintaining a healthy body image, in fact.

When I first started getting serious about changing my thinking about my body, I started having fantasies about what a body-friendly gym would look like. It seems like there is so much emphasis on the idea expressed in that image - that we need to change our bodies, that we need to quantify them and judge them to be responsible and healthy - that it's not necessarily a mentally-healthy environment.

In my body-friendly gym, there would be no scales. What do we need them for? No one leading an aerobics class would remind us that "swimsuit season" is coming. There would be fitness classes geared toward people whose bodies are different - classes for the disabled, for example. Even a person's size can significantly change their experience of a class. I've found out (the hard way, having gained a fair amount of weight over a period when I was really into pilates) that having a belly makes pilates harder. And I'm sure that aerobics is a lot harder for someone who has 50 or 100 more pounds to move around than most of the class participants.

Mostly, I'd like a gym where a person's current body was what's being worked out and enjoyed. No matter how hard you work, you're not going to lose actual pounds or gain actual muscle mass during any gym session. I'd like the emphasis on a future, perfected body to take a backseat to the things a person can appreciate about their current body.

What would your body-friendly gym look like?
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