To Whom It May Concern:
Yes that’s you. The consumer. The lover of the fitness magazines, the casting directors, editors, agents, models, trainers, athletes.
I’m writing this letter because I’ve seen one too many photoshopped images floating around on social media.
I’m writing this because I want people to be true to who they are. To be true to their platform. To not feel that they have to conform to a particular image in order to be the top dog.
What I love about fitness is that there are so many ways to lead a healthy, active lifestyle. I love that in whole this industry has the potential to reach every type of consumer.
I’m concerned about the messages we are sending to young boys and girls, men and women alike about what “fit” is . F I T isn’t just a six pack. F I T isn’t 300 likes on an ab photo or 16.7k followers.
Since when did faux fitness become a fad? I get it. The fitness industry is booming and I love that for so many reasons. I love that women are learning to love themselves and their body and transforming/growing into physically and mentally strong women. But it breaks my heart when I see my peers, my friends, and others that I don’t know aside from a double tap who feel the need to alter their image with the hopes of gaining followers and surpassing 200 likes.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with a filter or changing the exposure (shoot I do it) and I am all about aesthetic(if I could have every image on my feed be taken by a professional photographer trust me I would). BUT when we as fitness professionals (editors, trainers etc.) and consumers photoshop curves going from being 5’6 to 6’1, dysmorphic and unrecognizable what are we saying about our industry?
I’ve changed the brightness in my photos but I’ve never changed my intentions. My intentions are to inspire people. To get people in the gym, on the track. My background happens to be sports performance with a decorated Track and Field career and I use all the things I’ve learned from my experiences in real life sessions and on my social accounts. I'm sharing my knowledge and something I believe in with you.
Even when I don’t have a crazy six pack I still take photos in my sports bra. When my stretch marks are showing I don't smooth them out. I'm proud of my body. I'm proud of my physical 'flaws' because that's me. Sure, I may never grace the covers of a fitness magazine, Sports Illustrated or Maxim because I'm "too toned, lean, buff, unachievable, black, latina, ambiguous" and whatever other bullshit they want to label me with, but that is my being.
My purpose is more than a few likes. My purpose is greater than a feature on an athleisure site. Before you go alter your image think about your purpose. Think about your audience. Think about the message you’re sending. It’s more than a get quick rich scheme to become IG famous so you don’t have to work a 9-5. Every time you falsely represent yourself, specifically in this context you're telling the media, consumers, and everyone else that it's okay for them to continue to only represent certain body types, certain ethnicities and races, and it's not.
CALL TO ACTION—
- STOP altering your images. I want to see you. I want to see you how you were made “flaws” and all.
- DEMAND fitness to be more inclusive. Make the campaigns, the models, more diverse (and not just the token ______ BS).
- Be true to who you are.
- Find YOUR niche in this ever growing market.