Fired Up

I’m fired up.

Last summer I wrote a post about how I have struggled with my running clothes making too much of a “girly” statement. Oddly enough, I was asked to wear a running skirt during my lululemon Ambassador photo shoot (mind you, I could have said no). The very position in a company that I believe actively spotlights a variety of community athletes of all shapes and sizes and abilities is where I came face-to-face with the potential hypocrisy of wearing a skirt for a photo that is supposed to represent me as an athlete first, not a woman.

My Ambassador photo (@ the E. 66th St. lululemon store!)

I decided I could own my femininity and still be a kick-ass athlete in a skirt. So there.

This new documentary was brought to my attention by Janae over at Hungry Runner Girl (she really does eat more candy than anyone I’ve ever met), it’s called Miss Representation. Take a few minutes (appx. 9) and watch the trailer for it. Then come back and tell me you aren’t fired up, too.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Why is it that we don’t promote strong females? Why must they always be all sexed up damsels in distress and not the strong, fierce women who are actually doing the dirty work, too? The images are everywhere: TV, magazines, and those advertisements on the sides of buses.

She really wants you to respect her as an actress.

What are young women to think? Looks (impossibly perfect ones at that, thank you Photoshop) are the most important thing in the world. Your body, your hair, your makeup, your skin is top priority. Wax it, dye it, laser it, nip it, tuck it and starve yourself. Then get implants.

I was told that I could do and be anything I wanted to, I just had to put my mind to it. My parents made sure that my studies, my self esteem, and my dreams came first. They always told me I was beautiful (I protested, especially during my braces/glasses/acne/perm phase) but never put pressure on me to look a certain way or make sure I put make up on before I walk out the door.

Good health and physical fitness are important. I like to feel good about my appearance, possibly more than I should but whatever, and so I make sure that I look professional and presentable when I go to work or school. So, I am not saying that looks don’t matter because I am not that naive.

I do want to build up the self esteem of young women. I do want to teach my niece (and daughters, if I have them) that she can be strong AND beautiful AND smart AND successful. I do want women to start believing in themselves more and strive to be more a part of running this country and the businesses that make up Corporate America.

I will do it through physical fitness. I hope that the inspiration and strength they learn on the track and in the gym translates into their professional roles as adults. I hope, I hope.

How are you encouraging young women to dream big and fight back against gender discrimination? How can you START doing it? Start now!

Now go out and run!