Beth & Kristin are fitness professionals living in Los Angeles who happen to be engaged to each other and work together at the Phoenix Effect, a functional group exercise studio on Melrose. We believe fitness should be used to empower our community. Feel free to ask us a question and we’ll try to answer it: AskBandK@gmail.com
Q: Dear Beth & Kristin, I’m having trouble feeling motivated, but I want to change my bad habit of no exercise in 2016. I need a pep talk on why a queer gal needs fitness in her life!
Kristin:At the risk of sounding paradoxical, we lesbians need fitness in our lives because of how we’re chronically stereotyped. Turn on any sitcom or stand-up special, and—even in 2015—“liberals” are taking jabs at us. We’re labeled as “frumpy” and/or “angry”—the total opposite of the gay male archetype of “fabulous” and “flawless.” It’s bullshit. But the worst part is that we internalize these negative images, and our self-images are affected, even on an unconscious level, and before we realize it, we’re fulfilling and even reinforcing those stereotypes. Not only are we not negotiating for better salaries, we’re also letting the likes of Justin Bieber totally jack our only lauded aesthetic expressions (he didn’t invent t-shirts and blazers). We’re giving up on ourselves. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of it.
I want us to love us and love ourselves, all at the same time. If I ever have to hear “you’re too pretty to be a lesbian” ever again, it’ll be too soon; being told we look straight isn’t a compliment (it’s neutral and uninformed). A major reason I get up every day is to help make everyone, regardless of age, gender, orientation, race, etc., stronger, fitter, and hotter. I see a major opportunity for the lesbian community to become more empowered using fitness as a vehicle, however, and a powerful one at that.
Beth: Why should you work out? Because your life matters and you deserve to be on this Earth as long as possible and live the highest quality of life as possible regardless of your sexual orientation. Fitness is a powerful tool that can alleviate your aches and pains, give you energy, give you confidence, extend your life, prevent disease, and do many other positive things! Fitness doesn’t have to be about taking up the least amount of space as possible, as popular culture would have women do. Gay women inevitably will face more obstacles in life than our straight counterparts. Why not use fitness to empower ourselves to be the sharpest we can be so that any challenge can be overcome?