The Politics of Fitness (Warning: Canadian Content. Sorry)

When healthy is conflated with wealthy.

When healthy is conflated with wealthy. Miranda Kerr, supermodel.

Normally I use the term “politics” in the broadest sense, to analyze how everyday interactions are produced within dynamics of power (i.e. visual politics, sexual politics, body politics). Fitness is certainly political in this way, especially now that it is increasingly linked with elite forms of consumption. Just look at how fashion model Miranda Kerr poses for a supposedly candid “healthie” that shows her working out in a luxurious beach home with a personal trainer. IMHO both of them should be doing legs instead of bis, but that is neither here nor there. This image directly links Kerr’s “healthy” lifestyle with privilege. It also rejects and remakes the conventions of a gym selfie, something I am tempted to say more about. I recently revised an article about gym selfies for a scholarly journal, railing against the way in which scholars lump all fitness images together and never look closely at them. This post is, however, more banal. It considers how politicians associate themselves with health and fitness as part of their election campaigns. Continue reading

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