"Stunners" (stylish runners): Is the rise of cute running gear anti-feminist?


by For Two Fitness

In this month’s issue of Runner’s World (and on  RunnersWorld.com : “Fastinistas!” ), there is an article on fashion among female runners, and the various apparel companies that outfit them.   What struck us most wasn’t in the article – it was the comments.  We’ve excerpted a few of them below, along with the intro of the article,  which you can read in full here:
  
 
“if you are concerned about your appearance, there is something drastically wrong.”
“…and why would you feel bad about the way you look if your running? Let me guess, your casually jogging 3 times a week? and yes, I AM going there.”
 
“woo hoo look at MEEEE…I’m a middle child and didn’t get enough attention growing up.”
“it’s not enough to be out there logging the miles and setting new PR’s, now we have to be “stunners” too? It’s just one more way mainstream culture tries to suck the confidence out of girls and women by taking the focus off of athletic performance and prowess and placing it on “looking cute”.”
 
Fastinista!

Baggy shorts? Cotton T’s? Forget it! Enabled by newly creative apparel companies, female runners are grabbing attention—and PRs—in sassy and stylish athletic wear.
By Sarah Bowen Shea

 

Image by CJ Burton From the August 2011 issue of Runner’s World

“When April Powell, 34, started running three years ago, her workout wear took up one tiny shelf in her bedroom closet in Greenwich, Connecticut. As a newbie, she stuck to black Nike pants; after having her second of three children, she started tying a jacket around her waist to cover her mommy-bits. Then she discovered running skirts, “the best invention God has given women—a cover-up that makes you look cute.” After baby three, she found herself living in her running clothes. “I’m lucky if I’m out of them by school pickup time,” Powell says. Today her daily uniform is pink and black athletic apparel. In fact, on a recent family vacation, Powell packed only running clothes. She even sold a load of fashionista shoes on eBay and used the profits to buy a running skirt and new Asics Gel-Kayano 16s. “My running gear is taking over my closet,” she says.

Powell is among the growing number of runners—mostly women—living in their gear. Sales of women’s running-specific apparel grew from $275 million in 2008 to $350 million in 2010, according to SportsONESource, a research and analysis firm focused on the sporting-goods industry. But while years ago, runners pulled on whatever shorts and cotton T-shirt for a five five-miler, today in New York City’s Central Park, along Chicago’s lakefront, or around Austin’s Lady Bird Lake, more of them head out in such stylish technical duds as capris, skirts, and, yes, running dresses. Which doesn’t mean style-conscious runners wear one brand head-to-toe or matchy-match outfits. No, being a “fastinista” (it’s not about speed, but a state of mind!) means not just grabbing what’s at the top of the drawer. Fastinistas (also known as “stunners,” for “stylish + runners”) wear what they think performs well athletically and aesthetically. “

So, once you’ve read the full article, and read the comments, tell us:  is being a “stunner” about the market finally embracing girl power or just another way to de-emphasize athleticism of women?  What do you think?

 




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