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bear by san

February 2017



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they were all in love with dying

So I read some feminist fitness blogs, like you do. And one of them recently linked to a couple of posts that I'm not going to link to, but the gist of which was that women should not wear "running skirts," or "fitness skirts,"* because it's unfeminist to try to look cute when you work out. That women wearing skirts to work out "creates a sexist atmosphere."

That we can't take ourselves seriously as athletes if we're wearing sparkly ruffles. And that it's okay to mock women who wear them.

To which all I have to say is, "Fuck you, ladies."

If you're policing another woman's clothing, you are a horrible person.

(In fairness, the blog providing the links took exception to the idea that women should police other women's fitness wear, and admitted that if she didn't think women running in skirts looked serious enough, she needed to change her idea of what a serious runner looked like.)

Seriously, it hurts my heart to see women who claim to be feminists policing what other women wear, acting as though the only way to be taken seriously (to take yourself seriously!) as an athlete is to butch out, and blaming women (and how women dress!) for sexist behavior.

Now, I'm pretty butchy. I wear makeup twice a year, and skirts as costume. (They don't feel like real clothes to me.) I don't own a running skirt. I probably wouldn't wear one, because wind resistance. Although leopard print is kinda tempting, I have to admit.

But I'm also a fat girl (by endurance runner standards) who runs and you know what? I run in compression tights, with my belly pudge clearly defined. Gonna police my body for that? Gonna tell me spandex is a privilege and not a right? Maybe I should cover up my thunder thighs with a running skirt! But wait, can't do that, it's too girly!

Can't wear yoga clothes to yoga class; somebody might see my not-stick-thin abdomen.

Oh, wait. I don't care. And yoga clothes are comfortable, and form-fitting means they don't get in my way.

Why are you assuming the woman in question is trying to look cute for men?** Maybe she's trying to look cute for herself. Maybe she's more comfortable with her ass covered up, rather than outlined in skin-tight compression shorts. Maybe her running fantasy is that she's a marathon-winning princess. Maybe she's wearing that orange ruffled skirt because it's fun and outrageous and eyecatching, and she likes the way it clashes violently with her lime green kicks.

This association of things associated with femininity (skirts) as "bad" is a layer of misogyny. It's as simple as that.

If a woman wants to run in a skirt, it's none of your business. If she has dreadlocks down to her ass, it's none of your business. If she wants to run in a padded sports bra? None of your business. No bra at all? Ow, chafing and bouncing, but none of your business. If she wants to run stark naked except for a pair of bright purple Sauconys and an LED safety headband? No business of yours!

If she wants to run in a burqa? Her business. Not yours.

You don't get to police her body. You don't get to police her clothes. This is what feminism means. It means we respect other women's choices.

I believe in feminism. Feminism means that I believe that men should not be infantilized, that they are grown adult people who can make reasoned choices. Which includes not being sexist because a woman (or hell, another dude) is running in a skirt. Feminism means that I believe that femmes are people too, and that wearing lipstick does not make you less of a person. And if you want to go to a bouldering competition in a minidress, more power to you.

Climb hard.

I may have to go buy myself a damned running skirt just to show solidarity.

*These are basically spandex skorts with a compression short underneath.
**And if she is trying to look cute for men, or for a particular men, why is it any of your business?


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Veering only slightly off topic, this discussion thread is all very germane to the work of photographer Ione Rucquoi, who is trying to get exhibition space for her installation: "Sanctae: Portraits of Secular Saints." The second part of Terry Windling's March 5th blogpost on her blog, "The Drawing Board," had a short video of Rucquoi talking about this latest work. She made some very telling points.

Edited at 2013-03-06 03:29 am (UTC)
I am not a runner, but when i was pregnant, I was biking a lot (It was easier than walking. Really.) I bought a couple of maternity skorts to bike in, because while there was a shield over the bike chain to prevent accidents, my favoured garb of long loose skirts had a risk of catching in the back break. (Not fun for the biking. Less fun for the fabric.) I liked them better than just wearing gym shorts or leggings without the skirt.

I needed this post then. Because I always felt self conscious that i was daring to do exercise (okay, travel to work) in a *short!* *skirt!* And waiting for the person to make the snarky catcall (Considering the neighbourhood, nobody ever did.) I could tell the inner voice to shut up as much as I liked, it didn't.

So, a belated cheer,l because yes. It's really good to hear it from someone else. And when I start biking again (if I can find a toddler-worthy back chair I like), I should get a couple of not-maternity athletic skirts.
Well said.

And if someone is worrying about form over function in athletic gear, maybe they aren't running hard enough ;)
Especially if they're worrying about the form of somebody else's athletic gear!
Especially then.
I significantly heart that Iggy Pop sequence of pix.

And oh dear god yes, yes, yes, every word you say here. Sometimes my feminist ass wants to be butch when I ride horse or ski or stuff like that. Sometimes I wanna be girly. It's all fracking OKAY, damn it.

I feel that it is important to teach that what one wears is a choice; that one does not have to wear any particular thing because it is expected of them. One should wear a skirt, if one wishes, because one wishes to wear a skirt, not because it's ladylike, or decent, or it's forbidden to wear "men's" clothes. One can also choose to wear pants, a kilt, sorts, artfully torn garbage bags, or knickerbockers. If one chooses, freely, to dress normatively, that's fine too. I do -- but, then, I'm a guy, and my normative clothing choices are comfortable, convenient, and have pockets.

Clothing is presentation, and should be a free choice. After that, wear what makes one happy.

Well said!
who's going to break it to all those Rollergirls that they're not feminists?

I pick NOT ME.
Yes, and well said. (And do you have context for the Iggy Pop pictures?)
The image is from a fashion photo shoot. The provenance on the quote is uncertain, but I choose to embrace it. Because Jim.
The whole "you're doing it wrong! Our way is the one true path mentality!" can go piss up a rope. I think an "UGH" is in order.

The only time I'd feel comfortable saying something about the way someone else is dressed is if they were running and their shoes were untied.
The only time I'd feel comfortable saying something about the way someone else is dressed is if they were running and their shoes were untied.


Edited at 2013-03-07 06:47 pm (UTC)
Goddammit, I bought a figure skating practice dress to wear for Gothercise, because I cannot goth-dance effectively UNLESS I'm in a skirt.

Whenever I come across shit like this I want to sit the perpetrators down with a pair of headphones and "Don't Dress Your Cat In An Apron" playing on loop.
Thank you.

And I swim half miles, in a skirt, thankyouverymuch.

If I could find a drysuit with a skirt, I'd buy it in a minute.

You're harder than me. I have a suit with a skirt, but it is entirely for lounging in hot tubs. The drag is a killer. *g*
The drag is a killer, but - I learned to swim only this year, and I'm slooooooow, so at this point, the drag isn't enough to convince me to switch to a not-skirt suit.

I expect when I get faster I will need to think about that, but that's not today's issue, todays issue is damn, I can do a half mile!!!
Well, drag will make you strong faster.

And hot damn, half mile!
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