Letter to the editor: February 2

Dear Editor,

In the Jan. 22 article titled, “Strong isn’t the new skinny,” Kate Meagher discussed the shift in social media’s celebration of seemingly rake-thin Victoria Secret models toward strong and healthy women — a shift propelled by the hashtag #fitspiration, and a shift Meagher deemed a façade, as many photos still illustrate the same aforementioned skinny models, who’ve simply traded in their lingerie for a sports bra.

Although we agree with the observation that many #fitspiration photos on social media still depict the same impossibly skinny physiques, we feel that female strength is present in many varying forms on social media.

As bodybuilders, bulging biceps and six-pack abs are what we happen to look for when sifting through #fitspiration photos. To discredit the #fitspiration hashtag, and the celebration of strong women as a whole, would be to discredit the bodies of athletes who are, as you put it, “up before the crack of dawn for practice, eating whatever they need to fuel their training.”

As students whose sport is mainly aesthetic, we abstain from partying with our friends on the weekends in order to spend time pursuing our fitness goals in the gym and in the kitchen. We combat the isolated nature of our fitness lifestyle using hashtags like #fitspiration.

It is on Instagram that we find our own gym motivation and share our photos as incentive for others. To some, a #humpday picture of our rear ends in spandex shorts may seem unnecessary, or even sexual, but we see it as a reference point and a source of #fitspiration; as a result of tireless discipline and hard work…some may even call it strength.

So, is Meagher right in asserting that on social media one may find models on the thin side of things wearing sports bras and spandex? Sure. We would encourage you, though, to acknowledge the many women on the covers of magazines, such as Oxygen and Inside Fitness, in addition to the many women using #fitspiration to share their photos on social media, who truly do represent those of us who walk right past the treadmill each day and hit the iron.

Tori Graham, PHE ’16

Emma Harvie, Health Studies ’16

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