Women and exercise – ‘you don’t have to’


women exercise pride ev grieveLove the Skin. Source: stacie joy

So, this is a little thought about the strange situation women are in in terms of exercise, our relationship to the world and to ‘body shaming’.

It is so assumed that a woman would be exercising because she hates her body or to lose weight that the phrase ‘oh, you don’t have to,’ is often used in response to the statement ‘I’m going for a run now’.

This is sad. To put it on the other foot, for a man who wants to exercise for whatever reason, this phrase seems less likely to be used (please correct me if I’m wrong!), but I’d guess the phrase ‘but you don’t need to lose any weight!’ isn’t used so much.

Our culture seems to have so engrained in our psyche the idea that women should dislike their bodies and strive to change them, that exercise naturally must be an odd side effect in response to this pressure.

women exercise you don't have to love- awesome desktopLove. Source: awesome desktop

But what if there was another reason? (Can you imagine?!)

What if, on the other end of the scale, a woman is so full of love for herself that she enjoys feeling healthy? Maybe she just likes running. Maybe she’s gotten past all the bullcrap about how people think she should be, gotten past all the hate that she is meant to be feeling, and she just loves herself, as she is.

The woman who loves her body does not then need to exercise. She chooses to. Exercise has many benefits, especially improving your mood and mental health, which, a woman who loves herself might want to take advantage of. Or not.

women exercise - you don't have to - lying-naked-woman-alfons-niexWoman. Source: Fine Art America

I happen to be an artist. To me, everything is art, including my body. I don’t work out to eradicate it – I work out to create it! To allow it to be all that it can be!

I love my body as it is and I love seeing it evolve. Yes, I like seeing my body develop into a healthier body, but I don’t berate it or myself when I have an off day and eat a whole pizza and a burrito! My body gave me life, it finds health for me, it works, even when I’m sleeping! And I find all sorts of ways of enjoying it; exercise being one of them.

 awwww women exercise you don't have to body pride girlGirl. Source: Pinterest

So I say yes to body pride (which is always sexy), and I say yes to exercise pride. Let’s allow our girls to run and enjoy being girls, to enjoy being active if they want; to find strength in any way they want to.

Because the shame of not being able to move, just incase you are judged as fearful of your own body, is not something we need carry on to the next generation.

 

What do you think? Vibe from the other side – what is body shaming like for men? Have you ever had this kind of ‘exercise shaming’ before? The odd sister of body shaming?

Let me know in the comments! Thanks, love you!!

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5 Ways A Male Feminist Makes A Really Good Boyfriend

5 reasons you should go out with a male feminist hairy armpits pinterestFeminist boy. Source: Pinterest

This is another slightly silly post. But it’s true, a lot of women go weak at the knees for a feminist guy (or at least, I do!) and here’s why:

  1. He’s down with consent

A guy who is aware that when he offers a cup of tea, you might not want it at that particular point in time, and is ok with that becomes majorly attractive. Someone who understands what no means and respects it immediately and with little worry becomes someone we want in our corner.

2. He cares about you

If a guy cares about women’s rights and equality, then he cares about you and all women. That’s hot.

3. He is likely to be fair to you

Anyone that is on the side of equality is likely to show those same views within all of his relationships. Because fairness is important to him. Period.

4. He’s perceptive and empathic

A lot of people cannot see when inequality does not exist simply because it isn’t happening to them and they haven’t maybe understood (or they don’t want to) how this can effect any ‘minority’ group. (I say ‘minority’ as there are a few more women (1%) than men in my country today)

5. He will respect you

Anyone who sees women already as equal to men can see the good points about being a woman and respects women. It is those that believe women are ‘less than’ that do not appreciate women’s strengths. Likelihood is he will both appreciate and respect you.

This is not to say that all men (or women!) who proclaim themselves as feminist are perfect. But, if the right guy (or gal) comes along and they genuinely share these views… total bonus, right?!

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So there you have it! What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

Inner Violence? Why your inner peace is so important for the planet today

hairy armpitspeace innerInner Buddha. Source: Your Life Your Way

There is a lot of talk of inner peace. And I just realised the real benefit of it.

I had always thought inner peace was all well and good.I like the feeling of peace, who doesn’t? ‘But it doesn’t help the people fighting in Palestine, I would argue. It doesn’t take direct action.’

I understood that we cannot give (much) to others, if we haven’t taken care of ourselves. But that was the most I valued in it. I didn’t see how it connected practically to the outer world. I thought finding ‘inner peace’ was a fluffy idea that didn’t really do anything much.

Yesterday I had a hard time getting starting on my writing work. I’m stuck in a difficult situation where I want my own independence but am too stuck in my ways of wanting to write my novel and change the world to manage to leave my mum’s house.

This whole situation creates a continual inner conflict.

Listening today to a talk about the Dalai Lama, I realised, that the harsh words I have been saying to myself, are actually contributing to violence on the planet- the one thing I do not want! I realised I was inflicting violence upon someone – myself. And that shouldn’t mean the violence is any less needed to resolve.

When I heard Jeremy Gilley (founder of Peace One Day) say that 98% of conflict is not in the war zone; it is in our communities, and we can all become peacemakers on our turf; it opened my eyes to the power we each have. All conflict is connected, and in a culture where conflict thrives (all you need to do is watch an episode of Coronation Street or open a newspaper, or even watch cartoons) , war becomes a much more feasible option.

And why is this important? I am not likely to be violent to others, although the jump from judging myself to judging someone else in a harsh way is not so far. It is most important to be able to be compassionate to myself when I have acted in a ‘not so perfect’ way, because if I can’t have compassion for myself when I am in pain, I will never be able to hear what is going on for anyone else when we are in conflict. If I can’t DEAL with myself and my emotions and can only ever see an enemy image in myself, then I cannot hear what is going on for someone else in another situation. And without that connection, violence wins. It’s that simple.

And as a pacifist, I do not want to contribute to violence. There is enough in this world.

And so the next time I begin chastising myself, I will begin a conversation with my inner educator.

I realise now that it starts with me. It starts with empathy. It starts with inner peace.

Marshall ❤ Source: The Tube

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