About feministfiguregirl

I am a 50-year-old professor named Lianne McTavish who receives as much satisfaction from working out at the gym as from publishing my academic research. I decided to combine my two primary identities (scholar/gym rat) to create "Feminist Figure Girl," a fictional character who both analyzes and participates in bodybuilding. I competed in my first figure show in June of 2011, and then wrote a book inspired by the process, published by SUNY Press in February 2015. In this blog I will write about and consider my ongoing research on the body, while regularly making fun of myself. I recommend that you start reading my first post from August 2010 (available on the home page), instead of backwards from the most recent one, in order to get the full FFG effect.

Training in the Moment

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uplay2After stashing my purse in the corner of the indoor playground, I jump on the wide blue trampoline, rising higher and higher. The stress of the week leaves my upper back and neck regions. A bolt of freedom shoots from my entrails to the top of my head. I relish the sheer physicality of the moment, without a care in the world.

I have no idea where my kid is.  Continue reading

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The Last Spin Class

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This title is meant to recall the title of the best-selling book, The Last Lecture (2008), written by Randy Pausch, a professor of computer science who had terminal cancer. Just before his death he delivered pithy life lessons to his students, or at least I think so. I have not read his final words and have no interest in doing so. I thought of Pausch’s book today only because I taught my last spin class, after offering between 2-4 classes per week for the last five years. Although I am not dying anytime soon—thankfully I am fit as a fiddle—I did feel a sense of loss when I decided to throw in my cleats. Continue reading

Shaming the Fit and Muscular

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From an article called: "Fit shaming is the new fat shaming: Have you been a victim?" See http://www.fitnflexed.com/article/fit-shaming-rise-have-you-been-victim

From an article called: “Fit shaming is the new fat shaming: Have you been a victim?” See http://www.fitnflexed.com/article/fit-shaming-rise-have-you-been-victim

I was going to title this post “Is Fit Shaming a Thing?” but someone had already used it. In fact, I found quite a few discussions about “fit shaming” online, dating from 2014 to 2016. In theory, fit shaming is when people who are fit and healthy are criticized for being obsessed and made to feel ashamed of their bodies, based on assumptions about their lifestyle and narcissistic mentality. Some bloggers insist that fit shaming is simply the opposite of fat shaming. They argue that it is discriminatory and wrong to ridicule fit people, just as it is wrong to exclude or make fun of fat people. Others, including the woman who writes at “Iron Beaver Fitness,” provide a more sophisticated view, understanding that being fit is privileged in our society and cannot be shamed in the same way as fatness http://www.ironbeaverfitness.com/articles/2016/7/31/is-fit-shaming-a-thing. Continue reading

Guest Post: Breasts at the Gym

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stop policing

By Sonya W

Workout wear can reflect your mood, comfort level, and sense of fashion. But what if a woman’s choice is a distraction to other gym-goers? Sensitive male (and female) eyes may be confused and agitated, not knowing where to look. Surely, there must be some limit to how much cleavage a woman should be allowed to flaunt in the weight-room? The obvious answer is yes, of course! The correct answer, though, is no. Continue reading

I Call Bullshit: Exercise is Important

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My arms look this way because I eat kale seasoned with unprocessed sea salt. NOT.

Tosca Reno’s arms have been sculpted by kale seasoned with unprocessed sea salt. NOT.

According to certain “experts” in the fitness industry, fat loss is primarily based on nutritional choices. Exercise has little or no impact on body composition. The “Eat Clean Queen” Tosca Reno quantifies such claims, declaring that working out has an effect on the body of only 10%, with genetics providing another 10%, and food intake adding up to 80%. In other words: you are exactly what you eat, so stop blaming your genes. And stop worrying about working out, apparently. I call bullshit on these invented statistics and what they imply. Continue reading