No, Beyonce’s sportswear does not empower me

16 May
This is an ironic photo from 1970's not Beyonce's sportswear LOL

This is an ironic (iconic as well) photo from 1970’s not Beyonce’s sportswear LOL


I do a fair bit of exercise. I go to Pilates, Feldenkrais, dance class, aquarobics, and in between I walk, run & swim, largely unsupervised.

With the exception of the water-focused exercise I wear the same clothing to every activity: leggings, comfy bra, tee-shirt, bare feet or runners. I’ve yet to enter a sportswear store in search of empowering work out gear.

The idea that the clothing I choose to wear when I put my body to work empowers me is, to be honest, elephant shite. What empowers me is using my body, and as long as I haven’t clothed it in something likely to result in strangulation or a bone-shattering fall, what I’m wearing while I work my sweet ass off is of no effin consequence at all.

True fact. We do not have to wear any particular garment in order to be empowered by exercise. Empowerment is to be found in becoming familiar with our bodies and what they can (and in some instances cannot) do. Empowerment is to be found in the enjoyment, the satisfaction, the gratification of using our bodies to the best of our ability. When my Feldenkrais teacher instructs me to “open those knees, Jennifer, wider, wider” I’m giving the finger to all those years the nuns told me to keep them closed.

Do not be tricked into outsourcing your empowerment: it can never come from an external source such as celebrity leggings, & Beyoncé is only after your money.

Neither does Beyoncé’s sports line empower the women who manufacture it: …a seamstress employed to make the clothes in Sri Lanka told The Sun newspaper: “When they talk about women and empowerment this is just for the foreigners.

The disempowered seamstress is paid just $8.50 a day in her sweatshop to produce for foreign women garments described as “empowering.” Oh, the feckin, the heartbreaking irony.

In my experience, the process of self-empowerment is a long and gruelling one. It requires a woman to deconstruct all the disempowering shite she’s been told about herself, and replace it with the wondrous adventure of discovering who she can actually be and what she can actually do, without the toxic dictates of societal expectation that all too often require us to shrink our potential, rather than expand it.

Claiming we can get all this from wearing a designer sweatshirt and leggings  is actually adding to the burden of crippling shite most of us haul about every day. We can’t. We don’t. Telling us it’s even possible is an anti feminist act, and yet another example of capitalism’s co-option of women for profit.

Nobody is winning here, except Beyoncé. Not the women in sweatshops, not the women shelling out for promises of empowerment. It doesn’t matter what a woman wear while she empowers herself.  It only matters that she does it.





69 Responses to “No, Beyonce’s sportswear does not empower me”

  1. samjandwich May 16, 2016 at 2:28 pm #

    Hmmm, one of the dilemmas of being a committed anti-cynic and anti-misanthropist is that concepts like body dissatisfaction become quite difficult to reconcile. I’ve always held to the view that people are far more complex than to be influenced by their cultural milieu into feeling bad about the way they look… and into engaging in questionable behaviours ranging from wearing Beyoncé gear to waxing their pubic hair in an effort to fit in and feel better about themselves.

    But it does appear to be the case that this type of phenomenon is quite pervasive and surprisingly common… maybe you could say that cultural cues do actually have the effect of emphasising self-perceptions that already exist, such that they overwhelm competing self-perceptions and become dominant? Is there a school of thought in psychology about this??

    Liked by 1 person

    • townsvilleblog May 16, 2016 at 3:19 pm #

      I’m too old now to worry, seen one bare arse you’ve seen the lot. How people are influenced by stupid yank “hero worship” is something I’ve never been able to work out? Do people have giant sized “inferiority complexes” I wear what is comfortable and don’t keep up with any fashion, and haven’t for 30 years.

      Liked by 2 people

      • helvityni May 16, 2016 at 3:31 pm #

        I don’t about people’s giant sized ‘ inferiority complexes’, but I know that we are becoming giant sized.

        Liked by 2 people

        • townsvilleblog May 16, 2016 at 3:36 pm #

          Both my wife and I are having the gastric sleeve done next March.


      • Jennifer Wilson May 16, 2016 at 4:41 pm #

        I’ve always been a cotton, linen and silk girl myself….:-)


      • sam jandwich May 16, 2016 at 9:26 pm #

        “seen one bare arse you’ve seen the lot.”

        Funny because when I look at that picture I can feel my serotonin levels rise and a tightening sensation between my eyes… and by God the same thing happen when I flick over to another similar picture! And ad nauseum apart from a few inexplicable exceptions.

        This calls for a song!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson May 16, 2016 at 9:33 pm #

          Sam, you are now obligated to translate that song…


          • sam jandwich May 17, 2016 at 11:34 am #

            I suppose you’re right… just for the general information.

            “One old bloke’s dissolute habit, I like to brighten up my solitude with this little ditty:

            When I think about Fernande I get a hard-on, I get a hard-on,
            When I think about Felicie, I get a hard on too.
            When I think about Leonore, by God I get a hard-on again!
            But when I think about Lulu I don’t get a hard-on at all.
            Daddy’s old feller just can’t be dictated to!”

            See – it’s true that there’s a song for every occasion.

            Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson May 16, 2016 at 4:38 pm #

      Is there a psychologist around to discuss Sam’s query?


  2. samjandwich May 16, 2016 at 2:30 pm #

    Hah, it must be very empowering for Beyoncé to know that when you write Beyoncé the computer automatically places an accent on the “e” at the end of her name. Beyoncé! There it did it again!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. diannaart May 16, 2016 at 2:52 pm #

    When I was Oh so young and Oh so nubile, what I wore jogging, at the gym, in the pool mattered very much – totally vain about appearance….

    Of course, these days I have no idea what sportswear Beyonce wears – I do not care anymore, I throw on any old thing that simply serves as suitable attire for whatever I am doing, I don’t care who sees me either – very liberating. (But still, probably, a little bit vain – but that can’t last forever).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson May 16, 2016 at 4:40 pm #

      It isn’t that I don’t care about what I look like – sometimes I do, others not. It’s the lie that looking a particular way will empower me that pisses me off. It’s a lie told so somebody can make money out of my insecurities.

      Liked by 1 person

      • diannaart May 16, 2016 at 5:30 pm #

        Such a big lie that starts very early for little girls – being very skinny until my 20’s was humiliating – words aren’t supposed to hurt – we know that is just another lie.

        Little boys used to be safe from this scrutiny – not so much now.

        ‘Equality’ gave the marketplace more ways to manipulate.

        No celebrity sportswear empowers anyone except the shareholders wallets.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. helvityni May 16, 2016 at 3:24 pm #

    Maybe we should empower people to start walking again, and why have we stopped talking/writing about obesity, the major cause of diabetes, many cardio vascular diseases, and some cancers…and more…

    It’s a huge health problem, never mind aesthetics.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson May 16, 2016 at 4:42 pm #

      So true, Helvi. I exercise to keep well. Bugger the aesthetics 🙂


  5. debinmelbourne May 16, 2016 at 3:37 pm #

    “Do not be tricked into outsourcing your empowerment: ” The perfect maxim.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. doug quixote May 16, 2016 at 3:43 pm #

    Hmm, I knew I put my tennis ball here somewhere . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson May 16, 2016 at 4:45 pm #

      Well, that’s the disadvantage of playing without your knickers, nowhere to tuck the ball…


  7. rabbitwithfangs May 16, 2016 at 4:53 pm #

    You know how clothing could actually be empowering? They could invent a sports bra that works. I don’t want to pay some surgeon thousands of dollars for the privelige of cutting off bits of me that the Goddess made that way, but I’d sure like to run without discomfort and pain. / end rant

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson May 16, 2016 at 4:58 pm #

      I hear you, Rabbit. It’s taken me a long time to find a bra that holds me in place when I need it to and I’m of fairly average size.

      Liked by 1 person

      • diannaart May 16, 2016 at 5:33 pm #

        I’ve taken to wearing firm fitting cropped sports tops all the time (except when I’m home of course) – no more wires and straps biting into MY tender flesh.

        Liked by 1 person

        • helvityni May 16, 2016 at 6:27 pm #

          …some of the sports bras are fine, some make me feel like I’m wearing a bullet proof west.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Jennifer Wilson May 16, 2016 at 6:49 pm #

            A bullet proof west, Helvi? Where can I get one 🙂


          • diannaart May 16, 2016 at 7:18 pm #

            I like that – nothing getting out of control…

            Liked by 1 person

  8. paul walter May 16, 2016 at 6:57 pm #

    Really felt sorry for the tennis player reflexively reaching for a ball from the usual place women carry service balls…the silly forgot to put her knickers on for the big match and we dared not interject for fear of embarrassing her.

    A little pat on the bum as she was passing by.

    Might not have solved her predicament but I would have felt better for the offering of the kindness and bestowal of a comfort.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson May 16, 2016 at 9:30 pm #

      I think she was scratching her bum, PW.

      Liked by 1 person

      • paul walter May 16, 2016 at 9:42 pm #

        It’s a magnficent bum, Jennifer- as bottoms go, a Rembrant.

        Sam understands.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Hypo May 17, 2016 at 9:10 pm #

        The young lady has clearly, ‘done a hammy’.Trying to escape from David Hamilton , Pentax in hand, in full flight-no doubt..

        And FYI Jennifer, a ‘bogan’?
        Someone gifted with the intellectual attributes of Barnaby Joyce, but with the ability to keep the walking parts separate from the talking parts.

        Life Lesson,
        (If you had a choice of fellow castaways you’d pick a bogan over Joyce every time.)
        However should Karma deal you the losing hand,Survival-wise, Joyce could never look a gift dog in the mouth, let alone eat one washed up on the beach. He’d be too bust trying to poke it back into the surf, lest its puny paw prints deface the sandy carpet.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson May 18, 2016 at 8:06 am #

          Hypo. Is it you?
          Whenever I think my life is awful, I will from now on imagine being stranded with Barnaby & be grateful.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Hypo May 18, 2016 at 10:30 am #

            Tis I

            Liked by 1 person

            • Jennifer Wilson May 18, 2016 at 2:59 pm #

              I am so pleased to see you again.


              • helvityni May 18, 2016 at 8:13 pm #

                Hypo’s post made me remember Hypocritophobe from the early days of NPFS.


                • Jennifer Wilson May 19, 2016 at 6:41 am #

                  I don’t remember, Helvi, is it the same?


                  • Hypo May 23, 2016 at 1:48 pm #

                    1 in the same.Moniker shortened for editorial porpoises.


  9. paul walter May 17, 2016 at 1:13 pm #

    Empowerment, or climbing through the goo consumerist culture indiscriminately pumps out!!

    As Neil Young says in “Back from the Black”, “more to it than meets the eye”.

    Always, the Panopticon, always the Murdoch Gaze. It is a tricky thing negotiating the obstacle course that is consumer capitalist culture.

    You don’t see the down side unless you spot a pic of a starving kid in Africa, but if that doesn’t work, try looking around your own suburb for the chewed up, spat out human detritus of Today’s culture.

    The trailer trash or bogans are the most obvious manifestations, in their tired and malfunctioning lives. But bogan culture is actually also an expression of a pathological mess beyond the manicured lawns and behind the walls of neat and stately Macmansions of the bourgeoisie and oligarchs.

    I’m glad John Birmingham included your observations re Duncan Storrer and in the wake of a good sleep, concur that it is a steady but rewarding day’s work, keeping the System’s psychic toxins from colouring of a person’s own outlook..Vive La Resistance, although there is always the problem of isolation when the answer lies in developing interpersonal networks resistant to the dark forces.

    “United we stand
    Divided we fall”,

    brothers and sisters alike.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson May 17, 2016 at 7:11 pm #

      PW, what is a bogan? I’ve never understood


      • paul walter May 18, 2016 at 9:57 pm #

        A bogan is socialised and commodified blue-collar unit. They are well identified by certain inscribed cultural markers of the noisy Eliza Doolittle kind, but basically, they are people who do not live near us, or are easily identifable if they do.

        A bogan is what a bourgeois person looks like to an intellectual.

        This intriguing thread opens up for me with me with ab article from the Guardian that proposes that all this Kardashian/ Beyonce stuff is actually a site for class and cultural warfare.

        Liked by 1 person

        • paul walter May 18, 2016 at 10:31 pm #

          I must add, following a brief scan of the comments section, that Hypo offers a workable definition of some genius.

          Also, it is plainly possible to see bogans as living collateral damage evidencing class warfare in its various forms.

          In Africa and such places the local equivalent is merely starved to death or butchered by militias, but here, the atrocities are beneath the surface as by a sort of Stepford process millions of people not included in the charmed circle are rendered suitable for the processes of consent manufacture and legitimisation of a form of feudalism.

          That the excluded feel pain (hath a jew not feelings) is irrelevant, since they are palpably non-human, eg not bourgeois, beyond the insight that the right type of pain will induce the right responses, on the disciplined Road to Serfdom.

          Clearly bogans are bogans, as Tony Abbott, et al have observed: welfare dependent like Gordon the Welfare Ibis of First Dog, shiftless and moral cowards who fail to handle life’s realities.

          They eat Dominos pizzas, watch free to air teev if they are not bankrupted by subscribing to Foxtel, drink cheap cask wine instead of posh Hill of Grace like a civilised person, somehow squeeze their obese butts into hipster jeans and go to big Bash cricket where they scoff Macs instead of buying sensible food and eating at home.

          The cultural desert they inhabit does indeed suggests, after Hypo, that the miracle is that so many have had the resilience and character to survive at all, let alone deliver inconvenient truths about life on Struggle Street of the kind nattle-scarred Duncan Storrar articulated the other night.

          Liked by 1 person

          • paul walter May 18, 2016 at 10:39 pm #

            I forgot to mention that they shop at K-Mart, not David Jones.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Jennifer Wilson May 19, 2016 at 6:44 am #

              Ummm, PW I don’t like DJ’s & I shop at K-Mart sometimes. Love, Bogan Sheep.


            • helvityni May 19, 2016 at 9:26 am #

              The place where I Iive , is heavily populated by Liberal voters, who do no want K-Mart in their little town…. yet they happily frequent Aldi….

              Yet dress shops that rely heavily on polyester and go up to 24 in sizing are popping up…

              Liked by 1 person

              • helvityni May 19, 2016 at 9:26 am #

                I live


              • sam jandwich May 19, 2016 at 12:00 pm #

                In my electorate of Bronwyn Bishop land (for a few more weeks at least) most people are pretty conservative and conformist – aptly demonstrated here:

                So when we see someone with a bogan-like appearance (as PW would have it) we automatically assume they’re a film producer or a retired rock star.

                Liked by 1 person

                • helvityni May 19, 2016 at 12:32 pm #

                  sam jandwich,

                  LOL, I have to admit that I too like stripes, like they do in Avalon, but not those Royal red coats many a matron here seem to prefer when the Highlands winter settles in…

                  Liked by 1 person

              • Jennifer Wilson May 20, 2016 at 6:45 am #

                Ha, what an interesting juxtaposition: lib voters & obesity. Someone should investigate that,


                • helvityni May 20, 2016 at 9:28 am #

                  Our youngest family member is has learnt the family mantra well. When listening to my usual complaints about shopping trollies left behind on nature strips in Sydney, he promptly joined in:

                  “It’s the Abbott lovers who do that, they are LAZY…”

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Jennifer Wilson May 20, 2016 at 2:05 pm #

                    Our youngest family member has just learned to crawl so I’m teaching her the politics of space. 🙂


          • Jennifer Wilson May 19, 2016 at 6:50 am #

            I get very aggravated by the stereotyping, not yours, PW, but that which you so accurately describe.
            It’s bad enough that the LNP want everyone not like them (and that means us) to either die or enter into a lifetime of servitude and attendance on their needs.


          • doug quixote May 19, 2016 at 9:20 am #

            I think they are defined by being crass and uncultured. They can be wealthy; several billionaires I can think of are bogans.

            But whilst it is definitely easier for a poor person to be a bogan, for a wealthy person to to be one by choice or inclination is tragic.

            Liked by 1 person

            • paul walter May 19, 2016 at 10:09 am #

              No one more bogan than the late Kerry Packer and Rupert Murdoch.

              Don’t dismiss this, Murdoch qualifies for marrying Jerry Hall. as Jerry Hall does for vice versa, as if if both weren’t bogan enough already. The species mates within its own bloodlines though, when you think also of James Packer and American bogan Mariah Carey

              Liked by 1 person

              • Jennifer Wilson May 20, 2016 at 6:46 am #

                Yes, you’re right, PW, bogan is much more than financials. Its a state of mind.


        • Jennifer Wilson May 19, 2016 at 6:42 am #

          Ah, thanks, PW, another great link.


  10. paul walter May 18, 2016 at 11:10 pm #

    Back from AIM with a posting concerning why it is necessary for billions of folk to have their lives disrupted in this vale of tears:

    Liked by 1 person

  11. wonderwomanweights December 14, 2016 at 4:43 am #

    Such a great post!


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