Women and Physical Activity
Women and Physical Activity
In the UK there is still a considerable gap between men and women participating in sport and physical activity, some of the barriers to physical fitness for women are cultural, financial and even stigma of body image. The prevalence for fitness advertising to focus on sexualizing women and to focus on western ideals of beauty and what is considered a fit body, plays to our social conditioning and enhances our desire to want to look a certain way. When our physical bodies are not enabled to do this, say through biological make up and physiology our tendency to feel bad or ashamed of our bodies is heightened and could lead to abnormal eating habits, fitness addiction, mental health issues and eating disorders.
As women throughout history we have been conditioned to think that we need to look a certain way for the purposes of being desirable to men. In Victorian Britain for example women were under a code of conduct when it came to dress, performing physical activity and what other leisure pursuits were acceptable for females.
Are we really free now from these constraints in 2019? I would argue that although women in the West certainly have more freedoms than in Victorian Britain there is still a strong social influence on how women look with an emphasis on being desirable for men you just need to look at Instagram to understand that as women we aren’t happy with just being our beautiful selves, we have to have hair done, eyebrows done, lips done, butt done all to play to that social conditioning of desirability.
Positivity and real marketing
When Dove first did their real bodies campaign it was something that no one had really done before in marketing, featuring real bodies and real women to love the skin you’re in. Many brands tried to follow suit however it seemed that it wasn’t as authentic as that of the Dove campaign. Although this type of advertising is welcomed it still can get lost in the barrage of fitspiration and photo-shopped ads that are in glossy magazines and on Instagram.
Diversity in Fitness fashion
How then can a brand with a positive story around diversity and inclusion in fitness fashion get their message across to people who are conditioned and pulled in by mainstream marketing campaigns?
Well, maybe working with women at grass roots level could be the answer.
Using human centred collaborative design as a way to work with women to actively design garments bringing women together to create their fitness experiences could be a solution and alternative for those who are marginalised or stigmatised because of their size or disability.
By involving women in the design process, finding out their preferences of fit, style, colour and pattern it is possible to create garments that are inclusive and that women feel comfortable in along with the sense of empowerment of having been involved in the creation of the products.
Designing your own and personalisation
We want our customer experience to be as interactive and fun as possible we have an integrated app on our website that enables customers to design their own garments for production and we have a virtual try on with some of our selected products.