Fit not Thin

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‘You can’t buy the new status symbol – you have to sweat for it’

It’s all been a bit exciting in the press recently is as far as women’s sport goes. After the Independent steamed full ahead last week with its promise to cover more sport, this week was the turn of Sunday Times supplement, Style, as they launched their Fit not Thin campaign. The premise is a simple one, after years and years of fad diets and skeletal looking models Style is taking a new approach, promoting the idea that being strong is far more important than being skinny.

Poster girl for Fit not Thin is the honed and toned model Daisy Lowe, smouldering out at readers in shorts, t-shirt, boxing gloves and, hang on, sweaty hair? In her interview she confesses diets are awful and that exercise is now how she keeps in shape and gets her kicks, using it to make herself feel better, less stressed and stronger both physically and emotionally. Apparently in the model set people are exchanging chemical uppers for natural ones as nobody takes drugs anymore in her social group and instead hit the gym. Which is nice…

And this is no fluffy lip service campaign either. One call to action is a competition to win a pair of Asics trainers, with readers being asked to tweet post work out selfies, changing the attitude that sweaty is bad on its head. (Just snap the pic and hashtag #fitnotthin). This is backed up with a brilliant quote from trend forecasting agency Future Laboratory – ‘Bodies are back. You can’t buy the new status symbol – you have to sweat for it’. They’ve also dedicated a whole month to fronting this get-fit campaign, filling the magazine with body-positive role models to encourage readers to get involved and organising live twitter Q&As with top personal trainers.

There was a bit of a backlash on the choice of Lowe as the cover star for this launch and not a sportswoman and although we’re all for the promotion of female sports stars here having a Trott, Armistead or Ennis to front the campaign wouldn’t have worked as, at the end of the day, it’s their job to do exercise. Daisy Lowe’s job is to be skinny and make clothes look good, something that probably appeals to a far wider audience and consequently these readers may be more ready to follow Lowe’s examples rather than those of a fully fledged sporting star. It also goes back to the issue that maybe for most women to step up initially they need to not think of exercise as a sport, but instead something achievable by everyone.

Lowe and the other model ambassadors Style plans to use are also a good choice as they’re from an industry that has stereotypically shunned anything relating to healthy body image. So even the mere suggestion that the fashion world is changing their attitude is a huge plus to the world of women’s sport. The power and influence of the fashion world is massive- when a model skitters down the catwalk in the latest collection from the fashion house deities, the clothes she makes look good will dictate what many women throughout the world will wear. Who’s not to say that clothes on a fit, not thin model won’t also influence the way women see and treat their bodies too? Suddenly a whole new group of women can be reached – starving yourself to get a skinny body is not easy nor empowering, but working out to get a fit body actually is. If it means magazines may start to fill up with images of strong, not skinny models, this can only be a good thing for future generations of young women right?

FQ

Image from http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/style/living/Wellbeing/article1293754.ece (thanks)

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