Functional fitness is feminist fitness
Alliteration is the best.
Many years ago, not so long after I had first ‘discovered’ feminism, I encountered an idea in Susan Brownmiller’s Femininity (which is required reading of all people who click over to this blog so go ahead and get started) that blew me away. It was so obvious- like looking for lost keys and then discovering them in your hand. I felt stupid for never having thought of it before.
One of purposes/side effects of most of the trappings of femininity is to erase functionality.
There are some obvious ones, of course. High heels, super tight and/or short clothes. And there are some slightly less obvious ones. Lots of aesthetic rituals turn functional parts into decoration (and really, that might be a stretch, but I can see it.)
And it occurred to me, while people-watching at the gym the other day, that women’s fitness is all about femininity too and therefore all about illusion in place of function.
Whether it’s laying on a mat and doing useless crunches until your abs seize in the hopes of attaining that ‘perfect’ flat belly or spending hours using machines to work muscles in ‘problem areas’, what most women do in the name of fitness has nothing to do with being able to actually, you know, do stuff.
And I don’t mean that the option is working out with an eye towards body composition or you workout to increase your fitness. It’s not either/or. Nor do I think there is a correct way to go about functional fitness. But I guess I’ve always thought the point of working out was to expand your world – go farther, run faster, be able to do more without getting tired. And I find it disheartening how many women don’t seem to feel that way.