I’m seeing Under Armour‘s new ad campaign with Gisele Bündchen everywhere. My own ad network has even been running it here on Roni’s Weigh.
I kind of like the underlying message “I Will What I Want” — although it took me a minute to get it — but when will these athletic wear companies start showing some body diversity besides “skinny?”
This is the same reason I don’t even bother looking at Athleta catalogs anymore.
Look, Gisele is awesome! She has an amazing career and I admire any woman who goes after what she wants. She’s a 34-year-old mom and one of the highest paid models in the world. There’s no doubt she’s a force to be reckoned with.
This post is not about Gisele.
I have a hard time categorizing myself as an athlete but damn I’m active. I run, I lift, I workout 6 days a week. I wear athletic clothes more than anything in my wardrobe.
I don’t look like Gisele — never will — and that’s why I find it hard to relate to most athletic clothing lines.
Am I not their target demographic?
Then again, maybe I’m just too old??
I get it. Athletic companies use models. They are selling an image, but am I the only one who thinks the public is ready for some body diversity? Athletes are short and tall. They can have really broad shoulders, thicker thighs and wide waists. Athletes are not models. An athlete eats for performance not to look good in a pair of capris for a photo shoot. Of course there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good in a pair of capris, but if all we see in these ads are female “athletes” who have tiny frames and barely any muscle or curves, then aren’t we projecting an image that only represents a small sliver of what athletic woman actually look like?
And here’s the rub: I can actually fit in their clothing! So really I don’t have anything to complain about. Many athletic lines don’t make anything over an extra-large or even a large for that matter — like every woman who works out falls in a range between 0 and 6.
Maybe I’m being over sensitive but I really find it discouraging that these big brands just keep perpetrating a single female form. Like we can all just be carbon copies of each other if we ate a little less and worked out more.
Of course this doesn’t only go for athletic wear. That just happens to be what set me off this morning. I think I’m finally callous to the fashion brands doing this but as someone who is identifying as an athlete later in life, I don’t think I expected it in athletic clothing because famous female athletes naturally have different body types. Think about gymnasts vs. tennis players vs. Olympic lifters vs. runners. I mean look at all these female athletes! (Click on image to expand)
I guess I assumed athletic wear companies would be more diverse naturally. Yet for some reason athletic lines seem to only focus on that same prototypical female shape.
I know there are some who think body diversity is just another way to make fat acceptable but it runs so much deeper than that. Seeing the same body shape over and over again is not only depressing, it’s boring. Regardless of how much extra fat a person carries around, human bodies are simply diverse.
This has been bugging me for some time and seeing Gisele plastered everywhere just got me thinking about it again. I was going to blog about it after getting the last Athleta catalog, which I paged through and then immediately threw away. All of their models had the same exact body type. I found it really discouraging.
Sure, we can all learn to have a little thicker skin and not let the media portrayal of female bodies get to us, but the more we talk about, the more we expose it, the more difference it can make. Right?
P.S. When I proofread this post Gisele’s ad was right below. Is it still there? It kind of cracked me up.