Black Women Run, Too

I recently received the Sept/Oct 2010 Women’s Running magazine and there’s a strong chance I may cancel the subscription. The magazine itself has some almost-useful-to-me information, but each time it comes in the mail, I’m reminded that the magazine is really not geared to me as a black female.

Women's Running magazine

Women's Running magazine

Just a glance at recent covers can tell you that. In the two years this magazine has been coming to my house, I don’t ever remember a woman of color on the front of the magazine. Inside the magazine, not one of the articles features a woman of color. Three ads contain a woman of color: One Latina near the beginning of the magazine, then on page 76 (this issue is 80 pages) in the lower left corner and again on the back of the magazine. The only time you see females of color accompanying an article is when they are children. Of course! It’s so uplifting to see young black and brown girls interested in fitness. *eyeroll*

Of course, this is nothing new. Women of color are be used to the dearth of useful information in magazines geared to (white) women. Self, Shape, Women’s Fitness, Prevention, and Fitness Magazine have never pretended to cater to me. That’s why I will never subscribe or read these magazines. But when I saw “Women’s Running” (previously Her Running), I had wrongly assumed that meant all women. If anything, this is extremely clear in the beauty sections, which mainly focus on products geared to those with fair skin and non-kinky hair. In other words, I’m not going to hold my breath expecting an article on which hair care products are best for black women who swim. Which is okay. I don’t need Women’s Running to change to fit me.

I think what astounds me most, is that when you consider the make up of the US Woman’s Track & Field team, it is mostly black women. I do not recall seeing them interviewed in this magazine. However, I do see many interviews from past white Olympians, including those who have never won a medal. When I go running in my neighborhood the young Latinas and older Asian women put rest to the belief that only white women run. When I join a race and see so many black women of various ages, I refuse to believe the image these magazines give me. There is a reason that I follow @blackgirlsrun on Twitter.

Sadly, there’s not many options for me out there. Heart & Soul magazine has a very, very limited fitness section. I used to subscribe to this magazine for years, but figured it was time to let go when I only wanted to read one article from it. Instead, I’ll continue what I’ve been doing; sending out tweets and blog posts asking black female athletes for tips. Word of mouth is strong among black women. We have that going for us.

Hopefully, I’ll learn of a useful-to-me magazine.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tags: , , , , , ,

  • I don't run, and I'm mostly white. (Discovered a year ago that a grandfather's grandfather was not.) But I went and followed @blackgirlsrun just because. I of course would like to see more coverage of all women's sports on a local level - I have the odd idea that we would actually like to read about our own races, tennis matches and more, in whatever city we're doing our thing.

    If we did that, in a way that showed who was really showing up, I hope we'd see a lot more different colors and sizes of people . . . I hope.
  • eyeopener
    I am just wondering why you find that so surprising. Next time you spend your hard earned money at the shopping mall, take a look at the majority of people working there. And how about that upscale eatery you like to patronize every now and again. And perhaps that physicians office, the place we schedule our mammograms, and don't let me leave out our courts, law enforcement, oh and our private schools. Need I go on. It is so in our face we don't even see it. I went to the mall 2 days ago to an upscale name brand store looking for the cosmetics counter that reflect complexions such as mind but there was none. I asked about related shades and again, they couldn't help me. I have to go to the arab stores to find my makeup. They sell my makeup, hair care products, wigs, outfits, sneakers, lottery tickets, and then food to fill you up as you shop.
  • Cecily Walker
    You know this could seriously be titled "Black women *bike* too" as well. It's been a complaint of mine for a minute or two. I've found a few blogs by black women cyclists, but most don't update all that often, or, like me, they don't want to commit to being full time bike bloggers.
  • Y'know, I think you've answered your own question: you get everything you need to know from various online sources; why subscribe to the magazine? Do let them know that they're missing out by not recognizing women of color… what's the old saw, for every letter there's 1000 more in silent agreement?

    Print mags target a certain demographic… it's like a mountain biking magazine that offered a free trial copy on Usenet way back when, with a "tell us what you think," so I got one. It didn't click with me, and I emailed the guy who made the offer and gave them the requested feedback. He replied, explaining their target demographic, which I stood slightly outside of.

    The only mag I get these days is Asimov's. Everything else I've let lapse because I can get more current and better-targeted info online. Well, we do get the tres-weird Interview but that's because Mrs. Fetched has a media-related (video editing) business and they just send it to us.
blog comments powered by Disqus