My first job in the fitness industry I won because I “look cute in that leotard.” No mention of my knowledge of talent for teaching and training.
I was 19.
Message: “looking good is far more valuable than the work you do.”
I worked with a total badass in the fitness industry in my late 20’s, who said “well, you’re young and cute, so you’ll get the client before me.”
She was usually unfortunately correct.
I went through deep shame in my 30’s due to Diastasis Recti. I didn’t look the part, what is WRONG with her, she didn’t “bounce back,” …. I got stares and harsh judgements, including from members of the fitness industry.
“Just do more ab work.” They said
(Sidenote: that is terrible advice)
I became a master trainer for one of the world’s leading fitness brands in my 40’s. Their response to me “wear more lipstick.” And “you’re aging. You will need to really step up your look” and “wear only this type of top…”
Very little was said about the fact that I was greatly impacting the trainers I was training.
And now, I am in my mid 40’s. And I stayed home for a year, much like the people I serve. My body and face have changed a little, reflecting life in my 40’s.
I’m proud of the work I do and the people I serve, but the back of my mind hears those old voices “is she cute enough?” “She should wear only this style…”
If you have those messages from any aspect of your life or career, know that I see you. Know that I am with you. If we normalize being normal; ie aging healthfully, we can shift this norm.
I never EVER want my daughters’ messaging to be about her looks being her value. The fact that my younger one is in theatre makes me extra cautious.
But I do believe you and me… we can show and celebrate women of all sizes and ages to normalize being healthy and happy over “cute enough” and “skinny enough.”