Good News: Exercise Is Rooted In White Supremacy History

The smart thing for the editor at Time Magazine should have been to say “you really wrote a piece on this with that headline?” then hit delete and tell Olivia B. Waxman to write something that is not stupid. Because the headline is based literally on her first paragraph

The White Supremacist Origins of Exercise, and 6 Other Surprising Facts About the History of U.S. Physical Fitness

How did U.S. exercise trends go from reinforcing white supremacy to celebrating Richard Simmons? That evolution is explored in a new book by a historian of exercise, Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, author of the book Fit Nation: The Gains and Pains of America’s Exercise Obsession, out Jan. 2023.

Nowadays, at the beginning of every New Year, many Americans hit the gym to work off their holiday feasts. This momentum usually starts to fade in mid-January, according to a 2019 analysis of data on fitness tracking apps by Bloomberg. But such new year’s resolutions are pretty new—as is the concept of exercise as a way to improve bodily health.

The gyms are usually slammed from the 2nd to 8th, then back to normal.

“It’s really not until the 1980s that you start to have a consensus that everybody should be doing some form of exercise,” says Mehlman Petrzela, a professor at the New School in New York City. That’s partly the result of the women’s movement of the 1960s and 1970s, which fought for Title IX, allowing girls to play school sports. That pushed back on notions that girls and women aren’t capable of doing vigorous exercise because they’re fragile.

Title IX is raaaaacist? Who knew!

Perfect for reading on the treadmill or stationary bike, the below conversation with Mehlman Petrzela outlines the earliest ideas on exercise, delves into the history of various popular workouts, and the outsize influence of Richard Simmons.

So they want you to read a book about how exercise makes you a white supremacist while performing raaaaacist exercise? Huh. Anyhow, Waxman interviews Petrzela, and we learn

What’s the most surprising thing you learned in your research?

It was super interesting reading the reflections of fitness enthusiasts in the early 20th century. They said we should get rid of corsets, corsets are an assault on women’s form, and that women should be lifting weights and gaining strength. At first, you feel like this is so progressive.

Then you keep reading, and they’re saying white women should start building up their strength because we need more white babies. They’re writing during an incredible amount of immigration, soon after enslaved people have been emancipated. This is totally part of a white supremacy project. So that was a real “holy crap” moment as a historian, where deep archival research really reveals the contradictions of this moment.

That’s literally the only thing that’s mentioned as “white supremacy” in the article. The rest revolves around different crazes, about men with HIV/AIDS working to show they’re healthy, fads like “reducing machines”, how environmentalists in the 70’s really embraced running, where Pilates came from, and stuff that has nothing to do with raaaaacism. It probably does have something of interest. I still won’t read it, and it was a very, very silly headline. I’m pretty sure that exercise was around in the U.S. prior to the 20th Century.

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7 Responses to “Good News: Exercise Is Rooted In White Supremacy History”

  1. Dana says:

    Of course, Natalia Mehlman Petrzela is very attractive and appears to be naturally thin. Olivia Waxman, the article author, is pretty much the same. Like it is for most pretty women, life is easier.

    “City girls just seem to find out early, How to open doors with just a smile” — The Eagles

    I used to think the Eagles were saying that “Pretty girls just seem to find out early,” because that’s really what’s meant; city girls who are fat or ugly often times have to open doors by themselves.

    • Professor Hale says:

      You had it figured out since you were in school
      Everybody loves pretty, everybody loves cool
      — Taylor swift

  2. CarolAnn says:

    City girls who are fat or ugly usually get doors slammed in their faces.

  3. ET's Cinema PsychoMasonica says:

    If this crazy woman thinks the trends toward working toward physical fitness didn’t begin until the 1980’s then the premise of her book is deeply flawed. One of the clear windows into trends from the early 20th century forward is what appeared in films. An example of this would be the iconic film comedy The Women released in 1939. In this film one of the main settings was a health and fitness spa where the ladies were paying to having their tails worked off by drill sergeant like employees at the gym. This was in very Richard Simmons like fashion. This was NOT new to the 80’s. There are other examples as well. Jane Russell’s fitness themed number, Is There Anyone Here For Love in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes comes to mind as well. As usual leftists just make shit up that fits their narratives. History is what THEY say it is.

    • ET's Cinema PsychoMasonica says:

      This bitch also seems to have forgotten about the whole Jack Lalane craze of the 50’s and 60’s which saw millions of women working out, regardless of race or social status, with Jack everyday in front of their TV screens.

      • Professor Hale says:

        She seems to have also forgotten the entirety of human history where women fully participated in the back breaking labor of staying alive. Tends to keep one thin and strong without a gym membership. Modern women who go to college and get easy office jobs have no idea just how much work is involved in agriculture, chopping wood, hauling water, and doing laundry the old fashioned way without electricity.

        • david7134 says:

          Going to Greek and Roman towns, you will find male and female exercise areas, swimming pools and all the other fitness areas we currently have.

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