Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Exercise Tapes and Raising Girls - I just don't need a 'sexy' workout

As I get bored of (and adapt to) the exercise tapes I own, I find myself exploring the offerings at the local library. I've written about my samplings before and I often find something I like.

One thing that I've noticed is how many have themes I don't necessarily want to expose my daughters to. Because I homeschool my kids, they are home when I am doing my exercise tape. Sometimes they are elsewhere around the house, engaged in scholastic, academic, challenging work, or downstairs in the basement lab exploring cures for the most dangerous pathogens known to man, but other times they want some downtime and hang out in the family room while I do my exercises. I've always been pretty aware that body image can be a problem for young girls and I want to do everything I can to show my girls that I exercise because it makes me feel good and healthy and it also helps me from injuring myself if I keep in shape (and I do my best to shuttle them out of the room when their father starts comparing his waistband to that of his brothers. Seriously, he is such a problem).

I have to say, I love my Reebox Versa Training Hi-Lo Aerobics video from 1995. Not only does it include a man in the workout trio, but the outfits and people look normal and all the messages are new-agey and not body oriented at all. I like the workout, too, but I get tired of it after awhile.

More recently, I have bought the 10 Minute Solution Fat Blasting Dance Mix. I like the tape and the workout girls look normal. I'm not too jazzed about the title segments - Simple Slimmer, Calorie Meltdown, Fat Burning Party. Nor am I too thrilled about the comments about looking sexy and working your way towards a slimmer you. It's not too bad, but I did have to field a question asking me if most women want to lose weight. I think my answer was that some probably do, but I like to feel strong and healthy. Think it will work?

Today's workout sample was Self - Dance Your Way Slim. I only did half the tape (another aspect of exercising around the kids is I need/want to keep it to 30 or 40 minutes and this is a 52 minute workout. I like the 10 minute solution series because it's easy to stop a complete workout). I like this tape, 3 very normal looking women in normal clothes. It really reminded me of the exercise classes I used to take (gulp) 9 years ago. It was fun enough, easy enough, and gave me a nice little workout (might be too simple for some). What I also liked was there was no commentary in the first half about body appearance or being sexy. Well, not until around the 30 minute mark when she started saying something about sexy.

I guess I'll keep up my exercise tape sampling, I just wish I could find more aerobic workout tapes that omit references to body appearance and sexiness. Why must everything in our culture always be 'sexy'? It's so annoying. And how am I going to field those questions from my girls?

Yeah, yeah, I know the most important role models are the parents but why must our culture make things more difficult? I think an ABBA song addressed that topic (money, money, money).

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. Sadly, women being pretty and sexy seems to be very important to men and also very important to women -- it's going to be very hard to root that out of the culture (or the genome!) Tell you girls, though, that exercise is about health -- reasonably slim is reasonably healthy -- and strength: there's more they'll be able to do, useful and fun, if they're strong and tough. I understand that women lose a bigger percentage of their strength with age than men do -- all the more reason to start out strong. -- Barry

Marjorie said...

Thanks Anonymous Barry! What I find most strange is that the cultural stereotypes seem to bearing down on me harder as I get older. I either didn't notice or care so much when I was younger or maybe the media of the mid-80s was tamer.