Why To Exercise Today: ‘Strong Is The New Skinny’?

Ambivalence.

That’s what I’m feeling about “Strong is the new skinny,” a meme that this CBC news report tells me is “blowing up” on social media this summer. Indeed, a quick check of the Twitter hashtag #strongisthenewskinny yields a bounty of tweets, including:

I ain’t got time for these Victoria Secret tweets! Someone feed the models some carbs and teach em how to squat.

You all want junk in your trunk nobody wants skinny fat flat arses

Train like the beast and you’ll look like beauty!

Skinny girls worry about their weight on the scale—Fit girls worry about the weight lifted in the gym.

(Roberto Berlim/Wikimedia Commons)

(Roberto Berlim/Wikimedia Commons)


The source of my ambivalence: Yes, a shift away from the Twiggy ideal and toward a fit, healthier ideal could turn out to be less anorexogenic. And much of the messaging is wonderful: Try hard. Eat healthy. Work out. But why does any form of body have to be bad? Do you really have to derogate flat bottoms and pressure girls to lift heavier weights? Will young women now end up obsessing about lacking a sixpack instead of about extra pounds?

It’s also worth noting that quite a bit of the impetus for this new slogan — though by no means all — seems to come from personal trainers, who have a vested interest in persuading women that they need to build muscle, and commercial exercise programs. My vote goes with the CBC reporter in the clip above, who ends suggesting “Maybe we shouldn’t say ‘Strong is the new skinny; maybe we should say, ‘healthy is the new skinny.'” Readers, thoughts? Have you heard this slogan and how did you react?

Below: Evidence the meme has spread as far as Australia:

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