So here’s a question, cyberspace. Well, I’ll get to the question. Let’s start with a story. Well, it’s not really a story. Whatever, here it is.
Last weekend, my running pal Brigitte and I went for a six-mile run (my first!). One of my favorite things about running with Brigitte is good conversation! During this particular run, we talked about a good many things, including media representations of runners (and fit folk in general). It’s a problem I’ve seen on Pinterest, especially, but it’s been around for longer in running gear advertisements, television, movies, etc.
Most of the images of runners fall into one or two categories: superskinny or supermuscley.
Frankly, I’d rather be neither. I have n problem if you’re superskinny or supermuscley, and I certainly do want to be strong. But my body inspiration comes from women who are fit but who keep their curves—Kate Winset, Alex Kingston (funny how the first two women who pop up in my mind are British). And there are no images of those types of women being strong and active in their lovely, curvy bodies. Or if there are, I haven’t found them amidst the sea of posters concerned with “inner thigh gap.”
And fitness ideals aside, frankly, there are a lot of ways to be a runner. Now, I think it’s fair to say that most people who run are looking for health benefits of some kind. But at the Securian Winter Run yesterday (a 5k, 10k, half, and full marathon), I saw many, many types of runners—fat, thin, in between, tall, short, supermuscley, bald, not bald, old, young—runners of all ages, races (haha pun intended), and weights. People with piercings and tats, people without.
Where are the representations of these lovely folks? Surely they exist. But most likely in home photo albums and on Facebook and Twitpic and whatnot—definitely not produced by Nike or Adidas or Asics.
Then I wondered—could I help to change that? I don’t work for sporting goods companies, and have no desire to, but I am a blogger. Is there a blog out there that asks people to submit photos of themselves as runners? People of all shapes, sizes, nationalities, ethnicities, ages, and interests?
If not, I think there should be.
Now, there’s no denying the popularity of the act of blogging, and no denying the popularity of some blogs. But I worry whether such a blog would be a little futile—reaching to only my tiny corners of cyberspace, and when my FB and Twitter and Tumblr friends have all submitted their running pictures (if they even do), then the blog kind of dies, and never reaches its inspirational potential.
But I also wonder if maybe that’s enough. If I can remind myself and my friends that there are many ways to be a runner and encourage each of us in our unique, wonderful bodies. Maybe my friends don’t need reminding. But I sometimes do.
So, Cyberspace, the question is essentially this: should I start this blog? Do you think it could float in this vast sea of hyperinformation? Might it do some good in the world? Let me know your thoughts!