With the recent rise of the “strong is the new skinny” mantra, ab-blasters, fat-melting belts, and thigh-masters DVDs have become the ghosts of workouts past. In their place are killer spin classes, Crossfit WODs, boxing workouts, and HIIT sessions so tough that pumping out this kind of perspiration has become a marker of pride.
Filling up these workouts are women (of course), who are not only taking the fitness world by storm and breaking down gender barriers every day, but proudly now wearing their feminist ideals on their sleeves—literally.
Exhibit A? Reebok Classics’ latest collection with designer Melody Ehsani. Her collections with Reebok have always had subtle nods to a feminist voice, but for her spring 2016 launch, she chose to go more literal, featuring the symbol of the Roman goddess Venus surrounding a clenched fish, a pairing that was first used during the women’s liberation movement beginning in the late ’60s.
“I wanted to incorporate something that people would recognize instantly,” Ehsani explains. “The women of the past paved the way, but there is still so much work to be done, and I think the women of today are the ones to do it.”
And this is a super positive concept, says Ehsani. “The word feminist seems to have such a stigma that it’s about anger or fighting, but it’s about promoting equality, so I wanted to just use the symbol as a reminder to practice the movement.” And putting it on the outfit you wear for 800 chaturangas during hot power yoga or a heart-rate-jacking rowing workout is a pretty awesome statement about woman’s strength, after all.
While we’re seeing messages of female equality broadcast through clothing a lot more lately, from Cara Delevingne’s controversial statement-making tee to Lena’s Hilary-inspired ensemble, Ehsani specifically wants to be a voice in fitness fashion, which she feels is missing, despite the segment having exploded over the past few years. “It’s such an important time in history, and there [are] so many messages on both ends of the spectrum, so I just wanted to help be a voice for women, to remind them that they’re here for a reason,” Ehsani said. That reason, it seems? Wearing badass activewear while proving once and for all who runs the world.
Looking to add some serious #girlpower to your wardrobe? Check out these eight feminist fitness fashion looks.
The ME x Reebok collection includes tanks and windbreakers designed with both your toughest Crossfit WODs and most badass athleisure looks in mind. Graphic stripes and bold colors will have you feeling as fierce as you look.
The shirt seen ’round the world—or a least Instagram, when controversy struck as Cara Delevingne tried to pawn this shirt off as her own. Regardless of that dispute, the statement can’t be argued, and the shirt has become mega popular.
Under Armour’s latest female campaign showcases the ultimate squad of kickass women, from Misty Copeland to Gisele Bündchen, all teaching the same all-important lesson: it doesn’t matter what others think, and their thoughts can’t stop you anyway—you will what you want.
A sentiment shared by strong and powerful women from Jane Lynch to Beyonce, this expression is meant to inspire young girls and women alike to remember that being told you’re ‘bossy’ is good and should be equated to the good leadership skills and ambition that boys are taught to strive for.
A variation of the strong is the new skinny mentality, one glance at this tee during a particularly tough interval at your boot camp will give you that last push of strength you need to finish what you started.
Inspired by the widely discussed Formation video and song from the queen Bee herself, this cozy sweatshirt will keep you warm and remind you to ignore those haters after a soul-reviving session at yoga or spin class.
The original four, Audre Lorde, Gloria Steinem, Angela Davis, and Bell Hooks: all incredibly important in the world of feminism, black rights, and equal rights (there’s way too much for us to cover in this small description, but read about them!). This shirt is simple but to the point: there will be no questioning your deep source of strength when rocking it at boxing class.
Dieting is (increasingly) a dirty word—and not just because calorie counting is an out of date nutrition concept—but because it’s linked to keeping the focus on women’s dress size and not on their rights. This shirt will cleverly remind you (and everyone else) to keep your eye on the big picture issues and not on the numbers on the scale. Pretty genius.