RSS Feed

Fit To Be Tied

I bought a copy of ‘Women’s Fitness’ the other day, and my first impression was, WTF? Seriously, what a load of crap. The big angry feminist inside me came roaring out like a banshee. I should probably explain a little bit how a glossy periodical had the power to make me see red.

Back when I was still on a decade’s long quest not to be myself I ended up exploring a lot of dead end roads. Oh, so many, many roads, but we’ll talk about the rest another day. One of them had to do with the shape of my body. After marriage, apart from other changes, I went and gained close to 100 lbs in a little less than a year. Looking back, I think this was about an unconscious need to ensure I would not be tempted to go out and start a new wardrobe of clothing. Instead, I would be a happy fat man and that only.  I could be content being a junior Santa in training I thought. As it turns out, I was not and found panting in someone’s office after climbing a single flight of stairs fairly ridiculous. This was definitely not me.

If I wasn’t happy being a fat man, perhaps I would go in the other direction. I put together a killer diet and exercise plan that yielded fantastic results. I would build the body of a Greek god, bulging with toned, powerful muscles; a ripped dynamo of exemplary masculinity. I would resemble that guy I saw in a magazine curling a huge log with chains wrapped around it, fully ready for the Festivus feats of strength. I worked out every other day, bought increasingly heavy kettle bells and Craigslisted a weight machine. It was actually starting to work, until I came to the realization that my new bulging musculature was making me just as uncomfortable with myself as the spare truck tire did. What the hell? No matter, I was mere months away from admitting the truth.

During my quest for muscle nation domination, I subscribed to Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness, both excellent guides packed with medical and nutritional information, exercise explanation and demonstration, biology, featured subjects, personal testimonials, and product reviews. The focus was there, and I felt several magnitudes of healthy better just having read them. These were real men’s magazines! Screw ‘Maxim’ and its puerile little fart jokes and Downey-soft core porn; these are what “real” men read.

I picked up the women’s version of Health and Fitness expecting the same thing, but you know, for women. No. Not even close! Sure, there were a few good hints and tips and feel good stories sandwiched in with the unending stream of cosmetics ads, but it was nothing like the raw “you will be healthy and like it, fucker” feel of the male versions. Essentially, these read like Cosmo with a different cover theme. If I wanted yet more new techniques for painting my nails, getting rid of crows feet, telling what he is thinking in bed, or how to shellac a whimsical footstool I was all set, same as if I bought any of the other dozens of interchangeable magazines out there. If I wanted to understand the intricacies of muscle tone to achieve a killer caboose, identify various nutritional techniques to prepare for a marathon, or even how to work against this bloating thing I now seem to be getting about every month, I can go fry an egg. Sure there are some good recipes, but they seem just a little geared toward making sure “he” will like them too. Total, total bullshit.

Worse yet, I’m beginning to suspect this is only the beginning. Feminists have been saying for many decades now that it’s a separate but unequal world in spite of appearances and assurances otherwise, and I did believe them. There is, however, a difference between believing it and experiencing it. It’s not hard to understand why people get mad. Don’t worry, I’m just a little pissed, but I’ll be all right. Understanding is the first step toward change.

About michellelianna

I'm a transgender woman now in the maintenance stages of transition having all the electrolysis and surgery one can reasonably be expected to undertake. While busy exploring my new world, I took to blogging about it with dubiously popular results. I don't have quite as much to say as I used to, but I'm not quite done yet either.

7 responses »

  1. Pingback: Body Dysmorphia is a Real Drag « Michellelianna

  2. I laughed out loud at this “If I wanted yet more new techniques for painting my nails, getting rid of crows feet, telling what he is thinking in bed, or how to shellac a whimsical footstool I was all set.”. So true

  3. Loseing weight isn’t fun we hope to find a pill that can do this for us or find someone else to run on that tread mill so we can lose the weight we want. Eating right doesn’t make much sense eather, eatting pizza, drinking pop, bag of chips, candy seem’s to be natural foods and drink for us. Nail polish kept in the refridgerator gives you time to put it on before it starts to dry and last longer too, “this is important stuff” and all the make up tips are invalueble. Think about how glowing your skin tone can be, so healthy and the thinning effects you can acheve in your face. Yes we’re gullible we want to be told there is an easy way to do things and we’re willing to pay for it and they know this. Watch what you say about Santa because he knows when you have been naughty or nice:)

  4. The sad thing is that they print it because women buy it. Core attitudes have to change before magazines like this change. As long as they make money we will be swamped with this fluff.

    • Actually, they make all of their money from selling ads. Real content would get in the way of the advertorials. They’d give the magazines away for free if they could, but the advertisers insist on charging for magazines as an indication that women will actually read them. There aren’t a lot of options. Sometimes big book stores will have magazines that aren’t dreck, but they’re hard to find.

      • While you are correct that the revenue comes from the ads, ad rates are based on circulation and circulation is based on content. If nobody bought the magazine, the advertisers wouldn’t pay for the space so it goes back to putting in content that people will buy. We live in a world where too many girls still want to be Barbie and buy reading material that reinforces that. We need to change the base attitudes. The only way to vote is with our wallets. If people stop buying the stuff the corporations will be forced to stop selling it. Until then we are doomed to keep seeing it.

        • Yeah, I think we are all on the same page with this one. It makes money, so they sell it, and clearly people are willing to pay for it. It recalls a Seinfeld moment for me… Prez of NBC: And why am I watching it? George: Because it’s on TV. OK, the moment ends with the prez saying “not yet”, but in this case the argument is valid. It’s on the stands.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: