Dear Activewear Industry: I Can't Relate to 99% of Your Ads

Amanda Montell

Here at Byrdie HQ, we think the idea of a "perfect body" is as outdated as snake-oil diet pills and spandex-clad workout icons. But that doesn't mean we don't talk about our bodies—the opposite, in fact. We're all about body acceptance 24/7/365, but this week, we're serving up some extra love: Meet Byrdie Body Week. Consider it a love letter to the weird and wonderful vehicles we inhabit, as well as a deep dive into all the body questions that plague us (such as Will my laptop really fry my ovaries?). We'll also be spotlighting all that's new in the product world (fake nipples—yeah, we're going there). Let's all agree to be a little kinder to our bodies this week (and month and year), no?



I do not hate my body.

I am 25 years old. I do not have time to hate my body. I have a job and two cats, and I like to go on weekend trips to the mountains, and I have a standing weekly Italian lesson on Saturday mornings. I don't have time to spend every evening in front of a full-length bathroom mirror practicing different ways to make my stomach look flatter. There was a time when I did, though. Back in the early to mid-2000s, when I was a tween, I thought my body was nothing short of hideous. I don't know if you remember that era, but around 2005, skeletal celebrity frames were appearing on the cover of tabloids with disturbing frequency, and I couldn't help but compare. Luckily, those years have passed, the concept of body positivity has been on the rise, and criticising every imperfection of my slightly soft, 5'2" frame no longer interests me. It may have taken half my life to get here, but I am finally cured of my self-loathing. At least that's how I felt… until "athleisure" became the decade's biggest trend.

Read on to learn how the activewear industry did a number on my body image—and how one brand's inspiring new campaign is helping to turn that around.

Explore: Byrdie Body Week

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