Friday, November 19, 2010

Show the belly.

So, there I was wearing my running pants and a sports bra when my son came in my room and asked what I was doing.

"I'm getting ready to go for a run," I told him.

"Those aren't for runners," he said, pointing to my pants. "Runners wear shorts."

"Right. Runners wear shorts. But when it's cold out, runners wear pants," I said.

He seemed to buy this. Then he pointed to my sports bra. "That's for runners."

"Yup. You're right. It's my sports bra, for running," I agreed.

"Runners have to wear those to show their bellies."

Huh? I didn't say anything, but picked up my long sleeved shirt that I planned to wear.

"Yeah," he continued. "You have to show the belly." He gestured to my mid-section and then he gave me a very serious look. "You have to show the belly, Mommy. You have to pull your pants lower and show the belly."

"What are talking about?" I asked. With probably too snotty a tone.

He grabbed the waist of my pants and folded it over and said, "Like that. Show the belly." Then he pointed to my nightstand. "See? Runners show the belly!"

And with that, he ran off, out of my room.

I immediately knew what he was talking about. On my nightstand is a stack of Runner's World magazines. All of the cover runner-models wear sports bras and low-slung shorts. They show the belly, as it were.

I guess those covers made an impression on my impressionable 3 year old. I don't know exactly how I feel about this. Part of me is a little freaked out and annoyed that my son now thinks that runners need to wear as little as possible to be considered runners. Another part of me is happy that he thinks about running at all and that he pays attention enough to recognize differences in things like what people wear.

Thinking a little more about this, though, isn't is strange that all of the women on the RW covers wear more or less wearing the same thing? Don't some super runners wear singlets? Or shimmels? Honestly, seeing basically the same photo on the cover month after month is pretty boring.

But I guess it makes an impression. At least on the mind of a 3 year old.

And I'll leave you with that. Have a great weekend, everyone!

~ Felice

PS: I have a yummy giveaway going on over HERE so check it out!

29 comments:

Marlene said...

I'm not a big fan of the flat- and bare-bellied women or muscle-bound bare-chested men all over the RW covers... not all runners look like that, I'm afraid.

Manderz said...

Conal is one smart kid!

I agree 100%. Everytime I get a new issue in the mail I say that they all look the same.

Michelle said...

Maybe it's to show off their abs?

J said...

I agree - I wish RW would actually show runners who run. I mean what about winter clothing? Its likes summer gear all the time! Its not like RW is a fashion magazine - I don't think they get many people picking up their magazine because of the model on the front unless it is a famous runner.

Lori said...

Wow. Out of the mouths of babes. Just think about the impressions that are made on their minds through these subtle as a hammer suggestive photos. (and boring!)

I remember many years ago at a conference an image consultant said something that struck a nerve in me - she said, ever notice that a power suit for a man is to see barely any skin? Face and hands only. But (back then) for a woman, the power suit was to show arms, legs, neck and face. I think it was soon after that when I began wearing more and more pants. Now, I wear what I want, and can't remember the last time I wore a suit.

Though I'm not a runner - I'm a walker and I wear what makes me comfortable - when it's hot out I wear shorts, when its chilly I wear pants.

It's too bad the magazines don't get on the same track as their readers!

HEATHER @ runfastermommy! said...

I can never tell which issue of Runners World I'm looking at, since all the covers look IDENTICAL, lol!

Molly said...

it seems like it's the same girl with a blond ponytail on every cover!

misszippy said...

It's cute what he said, but you have a point--they all look the same. I'll also add that I think they do about 9 issues/year with a female cover to 3 with a male.

Nobel4Lit said...

I agree! Definitely would like to see some more variety in the covers. Hope you're reading this, Runner's World!

ShutUpandRun said...

Observant little guy! I would say most runners do not show their bellies, so RW doesn't represent women compelely corectly. That said, women like to see other women with definted muscles, so that's likely why they do it.

Amanda@runninghood said...

You totally need to send your blog or a letter to Runner's World about this. I think that is the kind of thing they would like to hear from their readers or their readers' offspring. ;) It is a good perspective for sure. It is neat how kids help us see things in the world that we otherwise might not slow down or shift our view to see. cool post!

Kate said...

Hmm, interesting. Not all of the females on the cover bare their midsection but you do have a point. Unfortunately, putting pictures of the average runner would probably sell less magazines. Sad, but true. I think Runner's World appeals to non-runners as well (those that want to start running) and they are inspired by those cover photos. I get irritated when the cover model is hardly a runner at all! Once I read the bio for the model and it said she likes to throw in some intervals on the treadmill during workouts sometimes (not even an avid runner).

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

Good observation from the little guy. I like that it's real runners on the cover but I would still like to see features of runners of all shapes and sizes. I guess. Even Women's Running lacks that. Yes I would like to show my belly when running but stretch marks aren't that hot. lol

Running Kiwi said...

Funny, I was just looking at the cover of one the other day and wondered why they always have a woman in front when it is obviously a woman's and man's magazine ... my next thought was to realise that for selling purposes - women will be more likely to spot a cover with a woman like (well, I don't look like that, but you know what I mean LOL) themselves, whereas men are probably quite happy to see a woman on the front ... so it makes for perfect marketing!

onelittletrigirl said...

TEAM Conal :)

I agree 100% with him- less belly RW, please...

lindsay said...

omg! that's awesome. yes, sad on RW's part, but he's a smart cookie!

i would fix unemployment among airbrushers/photo editors if i was to go on the cover for RW, belly style. haha.

Lisa said...

this is a really interesting observation by your son! I am a loyal RW subscriber but it does bother me that every cover basically looks exactly the same and, you're right, all the women are in sports bras and shorts. I appreciate that they are real runners on the cover, but maybe the should dress like most runners dress.

macnic said...

What a smart guy. Hope you enjoyed your run.

Cynthia O'H said...

I picked up my copy of RW the other day and wondered what month they sent me. Here we are nearing Christmas and they are still putting bare-bellied women on the front.

Janice {Run Far} said...

what a cutie. Love the words of wisdom from the little ones.

ajh said...

I think they need to put me on the cover and believe me no one will want me to show my belly! Your son will change his mind about runners needing to show the belly!

H Love said...

I totally agree. Very boring! Let's get some diversity and more "typical" warnings.

Kirstie said...

I have often thought the same thing about the shirtless wonders in the running magazines. Not every female looks or dresses that way so why depict all female runners that way?

Allie said...

I always think they should show some REAL people on the cover of the magazine - all of the models look the same, and of course the elite runners can sport outfits like that! So cute that your son realized this!

Meg said...

Kids just tell it like it is, I love their honesty. I guess I was a little dismayed that that was his impression of runners but IT IS true, all the cover girls have their bellies exposed! That doesn't really bother me but I can see how kids and adults could come to some unfair conclusions. Awesome thoughts, thanks!

Joanne said...

Uh Oh. Good thing they don't show belly button piercings otherwise he'd really give you a hassle.

Amy Reinink said...

My guess is that the idea that women runners must be scantily clad won't last long ... but the idea that mom goes running even when it's cold will. Congratulate yourself on the latter!

FruitFly said...

He had an excellent observation! I've noticed it too -- because before I ever open my issue I stare at the abs on the runners for far too long. *sigh* Someday I'll feel comfortable enough to show my belly!

KT80 (Running Like a Girl) said...

I think this is a great observation and one that highlights a bigger problem that I see. WE are force fed an image of beauty that is almost impossible to attain. I would love to see their models' before and after pictures to see whether they photoshop. I bet they do, sigh. When Glamour had an article with a normal sized woman posing (mostly) nude I bought that issue on purpose! I also buy Dove products, even though I don't like the chemicals, just because of their 'Love Your Body' campaign.

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