I need to clarify just two things at the onset of this piece:
- This is not a rant.
- This is not a generalization. But a collection of some data points.
At a recent running event, I overheard a conversation between two male runners. They were discussing a fellow female marathon runner! That she was the focus of their conversation wasn’t surprising given how stellar a runner she is! What kept me glued to the dialogue was when one of them said that he felt that runner women should be careful about not losing too much weight, because if they do, then it becomes hard to differentiate the back from the front! At this, they broke into that cheap giggle and brotherhood laughter the meaning of which we women are all too familiar with.
My reaction of disgust and disappointment at the hollowness of their conversation is besides the point! That they care her bust doesn’t look well-endowed anymore is also besides the point! What is not besides the point is that these were my male fellow runners, whom I share the love of a sport with and whom I usually feel safe with while running on the scary deserted roads of Delhi and Gurgaon!
And while I am often scared of being groped, pushed, hit or stalked on roads while running, here I am stuck with no better class of men in the garb of runners, or sportsmen as they would like to call themselves! Anyways, I decide to let it go. I tell myself that are there are people of all kinds in this world! I basically console myself!
I come back home to house full of excitement with Serena Williams winning her record-tying 22nd Grand Slam title by beating Angelique Kerber!
I am in awe! Through the match, I can’t stop thinking of her unique athletic abilities! How does she manage to keep it together physically and emotionally! While I watch her in action, I love her Nike tennis outfit and curse Nike for selling the worst of its sports outfits for the Indian market! I make up my mind to tell my friends in the US to send me some Serena type Nike outfits! Getting back to the game, at every shot, I admire her and get dreamy eyed seeing her win and carry her trophy around! And two days later I came across a media report that reported Serena Williams getting body shamed for visible nipples at Wimbledon
It’s truly sad that there is a part of this world that can overlook every bit of Serena Williams’ brilliance and keep her ‘showing nipples’ over and above everything else!
I am trying to imagine a girly evening among a group of female runner pals! I am trying to imagine if they would ever discuss the ridiculously tight running shorts that some men wear looking strikingly juvenile! Or what does the running movement do to their organ going up and down? Fortunately nothing like this will be ever discussed! I don’t see us being hung on such male-bashing topics at all! I do see myself asking a good male runner for running tips many many times!
Serena’s fans will defend her! She will play in peace! But what about me and my tribe of Ms.Nobodys trying to enjoy a sport? Who will defend us and ask people to stop judging us on how we look when we run? How many of you will put our athletic performance over our shrinking or increasing breasts? At least now you know why we need feminism even in sports!
So let’s just have a good run and concentrate on putting one foot after the other? A little food for thought, perhaps?
Written By Tanya Agarwal for Wellthy.Fit
(Running since September 2014)
An explanation on the Featured Image used for this Article
The reason for writing that this article is not a generalization is that Mr. Preet Singh who is running in the photo with me is an inspiring runner friend. He has paced me for a couple of runs and has been a catalyst in bettering my run performance. He happily agreed to allow us to use this photo for the article. Thank you Preet for being a sport!