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Confession: I have a subscription to Self magazine. It was free, using up my girlfriend’s frequent flyer miles or something. Regardless, every month, I read it cover to cover. And I hate it.
In every magazine, there are secrets to “Drop 10 Pounds and keep it off!” that make me believe the magazines are perpetuating an unhealthy image instead of actually having good, quality body and health advice. It’s gotten to the point where I feel like maybe reading this is making me a bad feminist. Shouldn’t these magazines focus on body-positivity? They’re written by women for women, aren’t they?
Well, thankfully, there’s now a solution to my problem. Enter: Ms. Fit Magazine. Not only is this the most clever name for a feminist body and wellness website, but it’s actually exactly what I wanted from those fitness magazines on my coffee table. It’s written by feminist, queer-friendly, body-positive women who don’t take themselves too seriously.
Kathie, the creator of Ms. Fit Magazine, told Autostraddle that she was inspired to create the ‘zine because
fitness and wellness were becoming more central to my life, and to the lives of a lot of people I knew, but very little of the content of mainstream women’s fitness media was relevant in any way to our experiences, worldviews, or motivations. Honestly, with very few exceptions I think the mainstream fitness media is a bunch of fluffy, body-shaming, heteronormative recycled crap that does more harm than good.
This sounds familiar, right? A look around the site will tell you that Ms. Fit is for intelligent women who have an interest in fitness and health but don’t need Self or Women’s Fitness telling them how to look good for an imaginary mate. Ms. Fit skips the unhealthy stereotypical articles and instead features intelligent, body-positive observations or stories. There are articles on how much the Presidential Fitness Test sucks (seriously, it sucked so bad), how the systems in your body work and how to keep them super healthy, recipes, even an “Ask Saerah: The Feminist Sex Lady” column. I also learned how to legitimately get period stains out of my sheets. Seriously, it’s everything you want a body and wellness ‘zine to have.
When I asked Kathie if creating a body-positive magazine was a conscious effort, she said,
Body-positivity is extremely important to Ms. Fit. In a way, I think it is at the very heart of what we want to do differently. Health and wellness are about a lot more than the size of your waist or how cut your abs are. A key tactic of misogyny is to make women hate themselves so they don’t recognize how much strength and power they have. One of the ways this happens is by establishing these demented ideas of what women should look like and then tell them that their human value is intrinsically linked to how closely they adhere to that model. Ms. Fit calls bullsh*t on that.
We want our readers to decide for themselves what it means for them to be healthy and well. Maybe it means you run marathons or do Pilates, or maybe it means you are an activist for environmental justice or reproductive rights. Maybe you’re trying to live organically, or in a socially responsible way. Maybe you are still struggling with loving and accept yourself for who you are, or are learning how to not harm yourself. A feminist definition of fitness embraces all of these realities as part of the wellness path.
Go check out Ms. Fit Magazine. It’s inspiring, intelligent, positive and queer-inclusive. I’m off to recycle all of those Selfs.