How @Shape_Magazine Exploited The Black Body for Clicks

January 21, 2016


So between watching President Obama’s SOTU address last week to Scrolling through articles about Jada Pinkett Smith’s boycott of the Oscars this has undoubtedly been one of the Blackest weeks of 2016. And I for one love every minute of it. But, something weird happened in the middle of my excitement. I was quickly bought back down to reality. Interestingly enough it was on a fitness level. I often talk about the movement to merge health, fitness and culture. The goal of creating a space for minorities to feel apart of this is a big deal and mission for QLF. so when I see us being exploited for the gaze of “white”media it gets me ready to build my soap box, place it on times Square and start preaching….but then I realized that I can just blog it(we are over a quarter million readers up to date so this works well too) 

The other day Shape Magazine showed me and a million other people what being black in America looks like to them. Shape Magazine put a tweet on twitter telling people how to get a butt like Beyonce. now, this in no way is wrong and with all due respect to Jay-Z, Beyonce is blessed but while the tweet referenced her, Shape Magazine felt that the workout model used for this post was better served looking nothing like Beyonce, and white. While this sparked a mini-discussion on twitter, i’ve come to the realization that the aesthetics of black women are great, just not when on black women. This is quintessentially what the history of being black in media is like.Take the things that separates us: culture,features,identity,and credit them to non-blacks to make them acceptable.



You can relate this back to Dread-locks and big lips being cool only after kylie Jenner got them, Being Plus size was great only after Ashley Graham and Robyn Lawley to even having a big butt/hips and embracing them while being fashionable was acceptable after Kim Kardashian showed up. Now in a system with no representation ( fitness) we are bound to be taken advantage of. Health and Fitness is an industry ran by white culture and and while that isn’t necessarily the issue it does create a problem when you can’t connect with non-whites the same way.
Billy Blank, Shawn T, and then…(me?) the only real faces of fitness from a minority standpoint and yet the first two people listed here wouldn’t dare push cultural issues like I am now. Now let’s look at the logic of this, genetics play 40% of the ability to have certain type of shape and is obviously a factor in having a certain type of hips to glutes ratio, so while this post by Shape Magazine is misleading If Beyonce’s butt is the goal you are trying to push why wouldn’t it make sense to partner with a women of color to get that message across. Simple, she and many other women of color don’t fit the model of the European system or today’s “acceptable”body. Interestingly enough we are the most influential culture, just not when it’s time to celebrate us for it.


“ I have a Dream…” That one day The black body will no longer be fetishized and exploited for the gains of others. 

YOUR NEXT REP: Follow me on Twitter( ZEUS0OFQLF) and IG (QuantumLeapFitness) feel free to share and comment. All workout (and thought) partners are welcome!


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