However, a quick glance at the adverts coming from most mainstream sports and fitness brands would suggest otherwise – tiny, size 8 bodies are EVERYWHERE (or, for blokes, chiselled six-packs as far as the eye can see).
So it was totally refreshing to see that this week, Nike has launched its sports bra campaign – and HOORAY there is someone who’s bigger than a size 10 in the photos.
The snaps appeared on Nike’s Instagram page, offering advice on how to find the perfect sports bra. While the main point of the campaign is to guide shoppers through the minefield of finding the perfect boob holder, it’s undeniable that using plus size models sends out a strong message about body positivity – if a mega sports brand like Nike is saying the fitness world is a place for all body shapes, people sit up and listen.
In fairness to this particular brand, they do have a strong track record in representing women who are talented, tough and inspirational in their adverts – Serena Williams, I’m looking at you. But I can’t remember seeing many adverts featuring more curvaceous girls modelling sportswear – perhaps this the start of a shift many people would like to see.
After all, there is clearly an appetite for more diversity – when a gorgeous plus-size woman was featured on the front of Woman’s Running earlier this year, there was hugely positive feedback for what is still, ridiculously, seen as a ‘brave’ move by the editor.
The problem with not showing people of all shapes and sizes working out is that it puts people off. I’ve always hated the thought that anyone would be scared to exercise because they feel embarrassed by their body and what other people might think – as if it’s a whole experience that’s just not ‘for’ them. And by featuring more diverse body shapes in adverts, it not only helps to quash the myth that just because you’re larger, it means you’re unquestionably unhealthy – it might also encourage some of those who’ve been put off exercise previously to get involved.
Well done Nike – now let’s hope the other fitness brands follow suit.