In a world where plus-size women are now walking runways and fronting fashion magazines, there’s still one industry that needs to learn to be more inclusive: fitness.
The image of fitness is typically associated with washboard abs, toned calves, and an overall slim figure. But people should know by now that being physically fit isn’t always like what media to you. In fact, there are dozens of big and fabulous women who can run more miles than a person half her size! Unfortunately, the same people are feigned by the ignorance of society, and the latest campaign by Academy Sports and Outdoors highlights such discrimination.
Shaking It Off: Academy Sports and Outdoors Hits Back at Haters Who Trolled Anna O’ Brien
It all started when plus-size fashion blogger Anna O’ Brien was tapped as an ambassador for BCG Plus, the plus-size line for activewear brand Academy Sports and Outdoors. Instead of celebrating O’ Brien’s amazing feat, an Instagram photo of the blogger in the brand’s athletic pants was flooded with fat-shaming trolls. One user even had the audacity to post this cruel message: “This is disgusting you are making being fat a good thing. People should be ashamed of being fat, not proud.”
Academy Sports and Outdoors was not about to let the troll get away with it, though. They hit back by replying to him directly, “Hi, James, at Academy, we truly believe every woman should have the same opportunity to enjoy sports and the outdoors. As a result, we will continue to represent a wide range of body types. We’re all different, but our access to an active lifestyle shouldn’t be.”
New York–based O’ Brien echoed the brand’s statement by reposting the photo on her page. She also admitted that she’s struggled with her own fitness regime throughout the years due to the lack of inclusivity in plus-size fitness wear.
“This single challenge is one of the greatest barriers to plus-size women becoming active,” O’ Brien said on Academy’s Instagram page.
At the end of the day, exercise is for everyone. People exercise for several reasons, most of which have absolutely nothing to do with weight loss or looks. Diverse campaigns like Academy’s inspire more men and women to exercise at their own will without the fear of being judged. Hopefully, as more campaigns like this come to light, society learns to be more open-minded and accepting!