Saturday, February 9, 2008

In the Mailbox

I received a copy of Activa Sports catalog in the mail yesterday. On the second double page in, an athlete with a disability, a Paralympian who has been featured on The Amazing Race, is featured. Wow, an athletic gear store that features women whose bodies aren't representative of the beauty myth or what I call the fitness myth (like the beauty myth, standards that not all bodies can meet). I don't see Sarah R. on the Activa website, but most of the webpages don't show models.

The only problematic part is the "overcoming obstacles" language. Not everyone can overcome the physical obstacles. Despite the problematic language, the catalog does encourage other real women to share their stories: "Have you or has some you know, overcome an obstacle through sports and fitness. Tell us your story. Email me at Debra [care of] activasports [punct.] com."

I once wrote to Title Nine, which also features real athletes, to request that they consider employing some athletes with disability (there have to be lots in the Denver area, where they're located), but didn't receive a reply to that (I did to the rest of my email). Maybe they thought I was joking. Disabled? Athlete? Disconnect, doesn't compute.

People with disabilities buy athletic gear, too. It makes me more likely to buy from a particular company if I don't feel bad about myself when I look at the catalog, that I am in no way part of the audience they intend. When I can, I like to go hiking; when I was able to, I still danced. When I can again, I will swim. And exercise clothing is a necessity for most kinds of PT.

What, no yoga? :)

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