It’s not often that the advertising world has moved on from shaming women’s bodies while the fitness industry hasn’t. Ever since the Protein World debacle (I am sure they still think it was good publicity…they are stupid) and the fact that the new Mayor of London has now banned shaming body adverts from TFL it feels as if change is in the air. Then you pick up a fitness magazine or scroll though Instagram and you realise that it really isn’t. So Kayla Itsinis, I am asking you to please change the name of your Bikini Body Guides to something else.
When I first heard of Kayla Itsinis, PT and fitness celebrity adored by millions worldwide, and her Bikini Body Guides I wanted nothing to do with them. They were like every other ‘health’ magazine or guide out there where it was so obvious that the only reason to exercise or sweat was to lose weight. Not because it’s fun or good for you but because it’ll stop us women offending people with our rolls of fat when we’re on the beach. Well frankly my rolls of fat and I are very happy together, and you all can fuck off. So I didn’t buy the bikini body guides or any protein powder and stopped with the magazines.
Because here’s the thing, the really crux of the matter: by calling fitness guides ‘Bikini Body Guides’ or having adverts which ask me if I am ‘bikini body ready?’ I’m not being sold health or fitness. I’m certainly not being sold that the idea that fitness and sport is fun and certainly not something you should do without thinking of the results. What I’m being sold is thinness. That’s their goal – to have us women be as thin as possible and pay them for the privilege and I said no to that crap a long, long time ago. My fat, my muscles, my skin, my bones – all perfect and all of it looks perfect in a bikini on a beach.
Then I realised that with Kayla at least, her terribly named guides genuinely couldn’t care less about my body in a bikini. More and more people I knew started hopping onto the Kayla bandwagon and all over again I was curious. The name still made me dry retch every time I saw it and when you go on her website massive letters tell you to EARN YOUR BIKINI BODY (NO I screamed back) or to GET BIKINI BODY CONFIDENT but when I started looking through her Instagram and the people using it I realised just how much more her guides were than getting people to look ‘good’ in a bikini. It is as if she created a community of strong and very fit women who enjoy working out, are healthier, and fitter thanks to her guides. She goes out of her way to support her worldwide clients, showing off their hard work, and is a massive advocate for being strong and fit and healthy. So why in the world hasn’t she changed the name of them to something less shaming? Doesn’t she understand that the name of her guides is absolutely ridiculous? Maybe she doesn’t care since they are wildly popular but that isn’t clever of her because time are a’changing and eventually it will hit the fitness industry.
I think she does get how stupid the name is – she is obviously a brilliant business woman and it seems as if she too knows that the tide has turned and that women are tired of being told that their body is anything but bikini body ready: her app is now Sweat With Kayla and currently on-going tour is the Sweat Tour 2016. So why can’t she rename the guides to the same?
I can hear some of you saying right now as you read this that the name of Kayla’s guides is irrelevant and I shouldn’t be so caught up with that aspect or that I should just ignore the word. With regards to the latter I am very, very jealous of you if it is something you can do. I wish I could ignore it but I am exhausted of being told I need to physically change in order to be allowed on a beach from the industry I love (and yes, ‘summer body’ is exactly the same thing and my body will always be summer body ready because I am alive and it’s summer). As for the former I don’t think it’s irrelevant at all. Names are very important and they showcase intentions. And the connotations to the word ‘bikini’ especially when used by industry experts is never positive. So come on Kayla, get with the times and with your own content. Get with your fans and your advocates and the people who love you. Get with the fact that I – we – all of us – are tired of being told we can’t wear a swimming costume without offending someone.