These new sports bras from Victoria's Secret may not provide the best support or coverage, but don't worry--they come complete with "push-up padding for lift & cleavage."
Cleavage? The point of a sports bra is to provide support and minimize the movement of breasts in order to reduce pain or discomfort while working out. Now, something created to make working out more comfortable for women has been reinvented to objectify women.
Working out should be about health. It should be about taking care of your body. It should be about taking note of how much more flexible you are getting, how much further you are running, or how much more weight you are lifting. And while you are working on becoming stronger, faster, and more flexible, how much bigger your chest appears should not be at the forefront of your mind. Exercise regimes are already part of women's complicated relationship with their bodies. Food and exercise are associated with "thinness," not necessarily health. Working out is focused on looking better, not always feeling better. Magazines are dedicated to helping women find the "Sexiest Butt" and "Knockout Legs." In fact, "SELF's 2012 Fitness Survey" found that only 19% of their readers said they worked out for health. The other reasons? Stress and to lose weight. And now the pressure is not just to workout in order to look good; it is to look good while you workout.
I love the way I feel when I workout. I love the way I look when I workout. But it is not because my sports bra makes my breasts look bigger. It's because I can feel my body changing. It's because I feel refreshed. It's because I know that I am doing something that is good for myself. My workout is not about anybody else. And my sports clothes are first and foremost about what feels good and what works best.
Let's shift the hetero-normative and gendered focus on women's fitness as a means to look "good" to an opportunity to be healthier and more at ease with ourselves. Let's take pride in the real changes that are happening in our bodies and minds when we exercise. Those are the long-term effects, and they do not disappear once you hit your post-workout shower.
EMPOWERTAINMENT aims to take a critical look at media in regards to how gender and women/girls are portrayed. From popular articles, videos, and websites, to original submissions, we want to not only examine the media and its relation to gender, but help shift it.