Thinspo and Fitspo

So maybe I am totally out of it, but this is the first I have heard of ‘thinspo” and “fitspo” which to define the most simply are images and quotes that women post to encourage themselves to be thin and fit.  So, curious, I googled the words and came across whole websites devoted to the topic.  Many of the postings were phone pics taken by real women in seductive poses showing off their, admittedly, quite thin and often very fit bodies.  I learned from Glamour magazine that Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram have banned “scary pro-anorexia images known as thinspiration” (August, 97).  Not being much of a pinner and still new to Tumblr and Instagram, I was amazed at the seductive photos I saw on these websites.  I’m not sure if the motivation is to get attention, a date or to just show off their bodies, but many of the women were dangerously thin.  It used to be that we worried how women’s magazines gave an unrealistic body image to girls, all the while knowing that these bodies were air brushed to hide flaws.  But the pictures I saw were not airbrushed.  They were real, true hard bodies.

So we’re back to it again, aren’t we?  Where is the line between fit and anorexia?  What is the message these kinds of photos are sending to our kids?  Can the average woman really look like that without starving herself or spending two hours at the gym every day?  Is this the definition of modern beautiful?  I am 40 years old and all for fitness.  I work out three times a week and count my calories.  At 5″3, it takes a lot of effort to stay at 120 lbs or less.  I can’t imagine the kind of effort it would take me to look anywhere near as fit as many of these women looked.  I know its possible, but at what cost?  Here’s the deal – the definition of beautiful is a moving target and has been since the beginning of time.  Whether is was cor-setts designed to make women’s waists look impossibly small or Renaissance painters immortalizing the delightfully plump woman of ease, what we find beautiful is always changing.  And that’s okay.  But when the definition of beautiful inspires women to unhealthy places, something needs to change.