Strong is the new skinny; yay or nay?

Several years ago, when I was just getting started with fitness blogging and was beginning to find my power in the weight room, I saw an online advertisement for a hoodie with the logo ‘Strong is the new Skinny’.

Because (a) I was tired of seeing skinny ‘treadmill girls’ at the gym, (b) I wanted to defy the notion that women needed to be thin to be fit and (c) I needed more long sleeve shirts to keep me warm at work (ever the practical one, I know), I ordered one.

strong is the new skinny

Smiling only because my 11-year old photographer insisted

I wore it proudly for a year or so, before it got buried at the bottom of my workout shirt drawer. Ever so slowly, the slogan had started to bother me as day after day images of skinny models wearing the same writing on their shirts kept showing up in my Facebook stream. (Also, it was one of those shirts that makes you sweaty under the arms as soon as you put it on; what’s up with that?).

I had all but forgotten about the sweatshirt until I read this wonderfully written post by Megan Clements; Strong is Still Strong, Skinny is Still Skinny.

Go and have a read. While you’re doing that, I’ll be doing some clothes-drawer-cleaning-out. While I usually donate used clothing to the women’s shelter, I have no intention of foisting this sweatshirt’s message off on another unsuspecting woman.

To the trash it goes.

strong is the new skinny

Share your thoughts about strong and skinny? I’d love to hear them!

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  1. I’m not a big fan of the word skinny. I don’t work out to be skinny or look a certain way – I just want to be the best version of myself I can be!!!
    Kim recently posted…A Man/Boy in UniformMy Profile

  2. Like you, I first liked it.. then yes, skinny models were wearing it – still are – like they were lifting – not & if they are, must be 3 pound weights! 😉

    I have been writing a lot about this distorted view of thin or fit or beauty in the media – today again.. a few in the past few months – another next week…

    Lip service by media & magazines IMHO… I want it to change for us, for women, for the children but I don’t see it in my lifetime – I hoe but not holding my breath.

    Excited to hear more of what you are doing!
    Jody – Fit at 55 recently posted…Are you Fat? Is this Fat?My Profile

    • Jody, I’ve been enjoying what you’ve had to say about this topic on your blog too. Don’t you wish we could just put an end to it for once and for all????

  3. One of the reasons my social media days will be coming to an end soon is this: The internet has become a border town of ideas, values, concepts, and businesses. People are hucking them like chiclets and switchblades. Others are to quick to buy these ideas, concepts, and values – adapting to them often ties without even realizing what they have bought, and are now promoting. The whole idea has grown tiresome.

    Like a lot of people, I have allowed the internet to effect the way I think. How scary is that…?

    As far as fitness values and ideals go, I always default to Emerson,

    “Speak today in hard words what you believe. Speak tomorrow in hard words what you believe, though it might contradict what you say today.”
    Contemplative Fitness recently posted…22 is no age to start working…My Profile

    • Roy, while I do understand your frustration, I’d hate to see you leave social media! Your voice is one of the sanest and truest out there and many can benefit from reading your posts. Don’t go completely, please?

  4. This is a great conversation. I would like to also add healthy to the conversation! Just skinny or just strong isn’t what people should aspire to be…but instead they should aspire to be healthy.

    • Suzannah, you are so right. Healthy is really the bottom line, isn’t it? And healthy can look like a lot of different things; there’s room for everybody there!

  5. It’s always bothered me too in a vague, undefined kind of way. Marketing is by nature manipulative, and it’s up to us to parse it. Sometimes we need a little help – thanks for your post!
    Suzanne @WorkoutNirvana recently posted…Friday Roundup: Move More, Eat Smarter for Faster MetabolismMy Profile

    • Thanks for your comment. I loved the post I linked to, as I was having a hard time articulating my feelings about it too. Just knew that it made me feel uneasy (and embarrassed to wear the shirt).

  6. I would like some thing that says CONFIDENCE is the new SEXY! Of all the people I have met ~ fat, fit, skinny, tall, short, full of acne, beautiful complexion ~ true execution of confidence (and being “real”) no matter what we are discussing is a beautiful thing! I go away thinking about our conversation. Our time together. Our words.

    I don’t leave thinking: If I could only be that thin like her…..if I could have that perfect face….oh, she has the best clothes….oh the muscle definition “I want that”….comparing, comparing, comparing….it has to stop.
    Kathy recently posted…10 for 10-10My Profile

    • Kathy, confidence is so appealing, isn’t it? And you’re right, when you spend time with somebody who is confidence and comfortable in her own skin, you don’t think at all about what they look like. Just what an amazing person she is!

  7. I understand the premise behind the statement – don’t focus on becoming skinny; focus on becoming strong – but I agree, this statement, especially as it is being misconstrued, has lost the intention of promoting good health and finding confidence in being strong. I believe I’m strong (and my increase in strength has given me confidence), but in no way am I skinny!
    PlumPetals recently posted…Holy Sh*!My Profile

  8. It all boils down to what point you are in your life….at times, I’ve longed to be thinner, just as at times, I’ve longed to be stronger, and at times, I’ve just given up.

    We get to a point, perhaps it comes with age, that we just want to be happier and kinder to ourselves…..

    It needs to move away from body types and move toward human qualities. Kindness is the new …………
    jules- big girl bombshell recently posted…Exposed: Out of Darkness, Into LightMy Profile

  9. Popped over and read that post, loved this quote about why the author (and you) came to hate the slogan: “because they started attaching the slogan to a bunch of photos of fitness models who were probably too dehydrated and calorie deprived to lift much more than their own body weight at the time the photos were taken.” LOL. Yup, those ‘figure’ athletes are on very rigorous regimes, one generally doesn’t look like that without some extreme efforts which are not all that healthy. Not so different really from the very skinny models– it’s a look that’s not terribly achievable or healthy.
    Mary @ Fit and Fed recently posted…Cauliflower Mushroom (Sparassis crispa) ‘Noodles’My Profile

    • Hi Mary,
      I loved that quote to. It really got to the bottom of how I feel about fitspo in general. Even though we know it to be true, it’s easy to forget when we’re looking at those images.
      Healthy is really what we all need to be striving for!

  10. Nay. Strong is the new Strong; whether skinny or not.
    Smitha @fauxrunner recently posted…Wordless WednesdayMy Profile