There’s something exciting about finding a running catalogue in the mailbox. These days, my catalogues are the closest I get to reading Cosmo. I gave up all my magazine subscriptions at 20. I had to after I realized they made me feel pale, flabby, non-orgasmic, and boring. Good choice, 20-year-old Pimento! Break up with that dropout boyfriend while you’re at it and stop with the tanning beds! Ahh, hindsight…
As a full-fledged 36-year-old educated woman, mom, runner, and feminist (rawr), however, I feel like I might need to break up with the running catalogues, too. But in this case, it’s not the flabby feeling they evoke that’s got me down.
On the one hand, I love that the women-runner-focused brands exist. They forward women entrepreneurs, bring attention to women’s issues, highlight and sponsor women athletes, promote healthiness and balance in women’s lives, and inspire women to be active and athletic.
On the other hand, though, after looking through a catalog I am rarely inspired to do more than roll my eyes and feel that the target audience is not me. Why? It’s not because the models are all tan, healthy, lovely women who look like they have nothing better to do on a given day than paddle board or jog alongside a clear mountain stream with a group of like-minded, yoga-practicing BFF’s. I can get over all that.
The prices of the clothes they are wearing, however, I cannot.
It’s not that I can’t afford the $69 size AA sports bra, it’s that the message is that running is for people with unlimited leisure time and money. It’s that they make it yet another destructive competition between women, the winner being she who stays up on the newest trends, colors, and what running celebs are wearing right now! It’s the thought that women runners have nothing better to do than shop and run and then walk around with our “breezy” $80 hoody tied around our wrinkle-free “effortless” dress while sipping a latte. And worst of all it’s that women runners must dress a part or we’re not doing it right.
This isn’t the sport of running that I know … at all. Running is not about worrying about how I look or whether I am wearing the latest style. The beauty of running is that all you need are some shoes, and some tech-fabric shorts, bra, and tank and you’re good to go. And that might even be more than necessary!
Case in point, adding up the total for the running ensemble in the latest catalogue I got:
$52 tank + $45 bra + $90 shorts + $30 hat + $69 sunglasses + $130 shoes = $416.
Throw in that $80 “breezy” hoodie and the $119 “effortless” dress for the after-run coffee jaunt around town and you’re quickly up to $600 to run and then cover up to get home from your workout. Hell to the No.
What did I wear on my run today? An outfit, including a hat, sunglasses, shorts, bra, shirt and shoes that cost me a grand total of $123.99. This outfit performed perfectly well: no chaffing issues, my copious amounts of sweat siphoned away from my body, glasses felt comfortable, and I hope that all this running makes my ass look good enough to make up for last season’s color scheme. I’m not saying I don’t own any expensive gear, but come on!? Do people really spend over $400 on every one of their running outfits? More importantly, is that consistent with the spirit of running at all?
Those glossy ladies magazines, like Cosmo or Glamour, say they’re there to empower us. Maybe they have an empowering article or two in them, but that message is drowned out when they actually make us feel bad about our thigh-circumference or that we’re boring in bed and will never ever land a hot, tan, bodyhairless man.
These catalogs from women’s running brands say they’re all about empowering us to be strong and to normalize the sport for women. Yeah! And while they do this to a certain extent and I could overlook the fact that none of the stuff will look like it does on models as it does on me, the real problem with them is that their empowering message is drowned out when they actually just make us feel like the way we dress ourselves to run matters that much.
I run because it actually empowers me and makes me feel good about myself and anything that interferes with that needs to go the way of my old Cosmo subscription.
How about you? Do you have a love/hate relationship with running catalogs?