Workout Music!

Hi all! It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about anything substantial, but I feel like I need to post something new, so here’s a whole bunch of my workout music. I make these playlists for work, and the Cody audience seems to really like them, so I thought I’d share here too.
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New Years Post!

Hi all,  I  realized I haven’t blogged (or written any words at all) for a long time, so I thought I’d get back in the groove with a new years post. Now, I’m not very good at commitment, and new years resolutions usually tend to be a massive fail on my part. My goals tend to be like rollover minutes… except in years. Oh well, here it goes then:

1) Get that goddamn pull up.

WOW. It’s been over a year since I’ve started strength training, and I still haven’t got that pull up. Yes, it is kind of my fault. I’ve gotten close on occasion, with really consistent training, but then something would happen (l moved, I got a second job, I went on vacation, I moved again) and I’d stop training for a few weeks & BAM! No more pull up progress. Right back to the beginning.

2) Get a booty.

Ok, yes, another fitness goal. A lot of you know I’m kind of obsessed with nice booties and getting one for meself. So, this year if I haven’t done anything else in a day, I will do at least 50 squats.

3) Finish a story & publish it. 

I currently have one story written down and two more in my head. By 2015, I need to have completed & sent out at least one. 

4) Plant an herb & vegetable garden.

Many of you know I’m not generally a fan of small animals (or children), but this year I got a basil plant and it really made me like growing plants! Ok… most of the basil is dead… but that was like a practice round. This year I’m going to plant & grow some edible stuff.

I had all these other little things in my head like, “wear a little black dress once a week” or “wake up by 9am on weekends” and of course, the vague but relevant “be more awesome”, but I think I should just be realistic and keep the resolution count at 4.

Now that they’re public I have to do it! Or, at least I hope that’s how it works.

Ornamental Women

I begin this post with an anecdote:

For the past few months I’ve been running a group Pinterest Board, Strength is Beautiful, for my company as part of our social media marketing efforts for Cody.

Here is my description of the board on Pinterest:

This is a group board for all things fitness! Strength is beautiful, ladies. Overly sexual images will be taken down. Email me if you would like to be invited to pin to this board: sophia@codyapp.com

At first the board was going well. There is always some degree  of uncertainty with group boards, because someone could come in and fill it with spam (or porn), but I was hopeful that the board would remain PG and body-positive. For the first few weeks, it was going well. The board was full of stuff like this:

All good stuff. Yay strength is beautiful. Continue reading

Government of the people, for the people, by the people… no more

Today was the anniversary of the Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address.

I was listening to NPR, stuck in traffic on the way home, and they said something I found rather funny. I don’t remember the exact words, but it was along the lines of “approval ratings across all areas of the government have never been so low.”

I kind of laughed to myself. Captain Obvious, to rescue! 

No but really, I got this beautiful moment of clarity where all of these snippets of information, facts, anecdotes, and ideas that have been swirling around my head for the past few months/years (my brain is kind of like a snowglobe) all came together.
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“Inner Beauty Doesn’t Exist”

Oh lawdy lawd. Ok, many of my blog posts are often prompted by people being assholes, and me explaining exactly what about their behavior makes them crappy human beings. Osmel Sousa, the president of the popular Miss Venezuela beauty pageant, pretty much takes the trophy for crappy human being of the day (because there’s always a new one tomorrow).

The following video, produced by the NY Times, is only about 5 minutes long, but if you don’t feel like watching it, Sousa’s opening statement pretty much sums it up:

“Inner beauty doesn’t exist,” he claims, “it is something that unpretty women invented to justify themselves.” (He says this with a really creepy smile on his face, then laughs.)

The first issue with this statement was summed up really well by Erika Nicole Kendall, another blogger whom I admire very much:

“I think it’s pretty f—ing jarring to hear someone say “I say that inner beauty does not exist; it’s something that unpretty women invented to justify themselves.“ They need to justify themselves? As in, their raison d’etre? Their existence? Women who are not “beautiful” are subject to justifying their existence, lest there be no reason for them to exist?”
-Excerpted from “I Say That Inner Beauty Does Not Exist” | A Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss 

Props to Kendall for calling this guy out on what he’s really trying to say: If a woman is not physically beautiful, then she doesn’t have any value.

What is especially concerning (to me at least) is that this dude is gay, and he does not talk about women this way because he wants to bone them. This is not a sexual power play. No, as a gay man, he thinks “ugly” women have “made up” the concept of inner beauty because to him, women are objects for looking at, period.

To Sousa (and many other people), women serve no other purpose than being ornamental, like a painting, or a vase. And what is the point of an ugly vase? None. An ornament must be beautiful to serve it’s purpose, otherwise it is no longer an ornament – it is an eyesore & will be taken out with the trash.

6853b425061fd557e85cede08d769e53

The rest of the video explores the new trend of Venezuelan mannequins being modified to be super busty, reflecting the increasingly extreme beauty ideals of the country. This trend of mannequins with impossible body proportions is nothing new. But mannequins are also particularly interesting because they literally are woman-ornaments. A mannequin with a less-than perfect body shape is worthless and will be modified and/or thrown out.

And herein lies the scary connection to be made: To Sousa (and people who agree with him) If “inner beauty does not exist”, if traits such as intelligence, compassion, and strength do not matter, and women are merely ornaments to please the eye, there is no difference between a woman and a mannequin. If this does not outrage you right now, leave my blog.

Why do mannequins even matter that much? Much like photoshopped women in magazines, they contribute to social norms of what women should & shouldn’t look like.

Venezuelan mannequins:

American Mannequins:

(by the way, if you walk around to the back of mannequins in America, you can see the clothes are often clamped or pinned to be form-fitting, because the mannequins are thinner than size 0/XS).

Swedish mannequins:

(because Sweden does everything right)

Ok, obviously the notion that “inner beauty doesn’t exist” is complete and utter bullsh*t. This brings me to the second part of this blog post:

Yarrrg Musclezzzz (& Booty)

Our standards of female beauty are changing from heroin-chic to Wonder Woman. Don’t believe me? Google Trends knows – thin is on it’s way out, fit is just getting started.

fitspo-thinspo-trends

Part of this trend is due to a strong resurgence in the feminist movement worldwide, ever since several notable gang rape incidents (selfcontrolselfcontrol don’t fly off the handle about rape right now). Check out any “fitblr’s” Tumblr account, and chances are you’ll see some feminist stuff on it. That’s because fitness & feminism actually go together like salt & pepper. Fit gals and fit dudes understand the mental, physical, and social empowerment that comes with control over one’s body.

Because I have a sociological background, when I started writing for Cody I realized I was in a position of influence, and I could use this influence for the better. That’s why you will never see sexualized fitness content on the Cody blog. I’ve made a point to only use body-positive language on Cody’s social media accounts. Our graphic designer Tasheon also does a really great job of  only using non-sexual, body-positive images & illustrations:

awesomebychoice everyseason girlonfire iplie lifeisasport sissyarealwoman dontbeirondeficient rockoutchalkout truestrength progres_hurts_so_good weightoffshoulders

Another reason this trend is catching on so quick is CrossFit! This is because as CrossFit spreads, more people are exposed to images of strong women, and the more you are exposed to these images, the more you grow to accept it, like it, even want to look like it.

Here’s a short CrossFit video called “Letting Beauty Speak”:


Unlike Sousa & his beauty pageants, CrossFitters understand that beauty is not skin-deep. That being said, imagine what would happen if our mannequins looked like CrossFitters!

I’ve been waiting for the ever-vapid Seventeen or Cosmo magazines to start featuring some of the more conventionally “hot” CrossFit women, like Andrea Ager

or Christmas Abbot

or Camille Leblanc-Bazinet

But then I realized, if Seventeen & Cosmo won’t put athletes like Mckayla Maroney or Venus Williams on their covers, they’re probably not going to put a CrossFitter on their cover. Which is a damn shame. But that’s ok, because Seventeen & Cosmo are insulting pieces of shit that portray women as idiots who are only interested in makeup, clothes, and men, and they can go suck a fat one.

I’ve received some criticisms in the past – “this blog reads like a CrossFit advertisement” or “you’re still focusing on physical standards of beauty” or “stop hating on skinny bodies“… blah blah blah.

These are all people that don’t understand the deep connection between physical fitness & female empowerment. When  I started working out, yes, I was doing it to “look better naked”.  I had no idea that the following would happen:

1) I’ve stopped wearing makeup on a regular basis. Makeup is now reserved for big nights out, or job interviews.

2) I’ve stopped wearing form-fitting clothes, and pretty much my wardrobe consists of baggy jeans & a sweatshirt. Even though my body is now the most smokin’ I’ve ever achieved, I have no desire to show it off.

3) I’ve stopped weighing myself.

4) In short, I’ve stopped seeking outside approval for how I look, because to be honest how I look doesn’t really matter to me anymore.

Y’know what matters? Inner beauty. Intelligence, resilience, strength, creativity, compassion, resourcefulness, spunk, attitude, confidence, dedication… this is what inner beauty is. This is what matters. Not what you look like, but what you can do.

So for every single person out there, man or woman, don’t let any jerk try to tell you that inner beauty doesn’t matter or doesn’t exist. Even if your face got shot off like Chuck Palahniuck’s Invisible Monsters.

The Gym is to Women as Lingerie Stores are to Men

The other day I came across this really hilarious video on BuzzFeed called “What it’s like to be a woman at the gym”:

It immediately reminded me not only of how felt when I first started working out, but also of my friends’ reactions when I bring them into the weight room.

I went to the gym with my girl Melanie. Everything was fine in the downstairs section of cardio machines & floor space. The second I took her upstairs to the free weights room, she looked around and, with a nervous giggle, whispered to me, “…we’re the only girls in here…” 

I knew it made her feel uncomfortable.

When I took my friend Christine to the gym, we hadn’t even changed yet. We looking for the locker room in this new facility, when some guys standing by the ellipticals started up. “Hey girls, how’s it goin’? Where you goin’? We don’t bite!” 

“If they keep on hollering at us like that, I’m gonna freak”, she muttered. Continue reading

1200 Calories

I don’t know why “1200” managed to be the magic number of calories women should consume if they want to lose weight.

I don’t even know how I know of this number. Only that I know it, and my friends know it, and my mom knows it. Somehow, somewhere along the road, I was taught that if I want to have a flat stomach and tight tushy, I need to limit my calories to 1200 a day and do cardio. I don’t know how it got in to all of our collective brains, but somehow it did (if any ladies remember how or when they first heard the 1200-calorie rule-of-thumb for losing weight, please let me know via comment box).

What I do know is that 1200 is the general number of calories health professionals say women cannot drop below without suffering negative health consequences.

Interesting, isn’t it? 1200 calories. The line between health and what they call “starvation mode”. 1200 calories. The dangerous tightrope that many women are trying to walk, because they think this is how thinness is achieved.

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5 reasons you should support the fast food workers strike

So I’ve been hearing all sorts of mixed responses – or even more maddening, no responses – to the current fast food workers strike. I am genuinely shocked how few people are passionate about this issue, considering how riled up we were about inequality during the Occupy movement less than a year ago.

I mean, not trying to insult you guys or anything, but you’d have to be either 1) incredibly ignorant or 2) incredibly stupid to not be mad at the unequal wealth distribution of America.

Currently our economic “recovery” looks something like this:

“Top 1% incomes grew by 31.4% while bottom 99% incomes grew only by 0.4% from 2009 to 2012. Hence, the top 1% captured 95% of the income gains in the first three years of the recovery. From 2009 to 2010, top 1% grew fast and then stagnated from 2010 to 2011. Bottom 99% stagnated both from 2009 to 2010 and from 2010 to 2011. In 2012, top 1% incomes increased sharply by 19.6% while bottom 99% incomes grew only by 1.0%. In sum, top 1% incomes are close to full recovery while bottom 99% incomes have hardly started to recover.” – Emmanuel Saez Continue reading

Sedated Haze: A Humble Argument to Curb ADHD Stimulant Prescription in the United States

I actually adapted this post from a term paper I wrote for my Sociology of Mental Disorder course at  McGill. Which means all of the information I provide in this is actually super accurate- not just ripped off of any ol’ site in InternetLand.  Yay for accurate information!

Now let’s get into today’s topic: ADHD. First is a brief introduction to how ADHD originated.

ADHD is a scam:

adhd diagnosis 2007 united states map

To me, ADHD is the modern day “hysteria”.

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Spread the Strength: The PG Version

This girl is 17 and a CrossFitter. I can pretty much guarantee you she is never going to be mugged.

First of all, hi everyone. It feels like I haven’t blogged about anything sociologically substantial in a while, and I might be a bit rusty so please pardon the potentially poor prose.

Anyhoozle.

Now that I’ve graduated from McGill and no longer have to whittle away the hours of cushy student life by blogging nonsensically about sociological things, what have I been doing with myself?

WELL. That brings me to today’s topic.

My strange, wonderful, and illuminating journey working in the fitness industry.

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