When two fitness instructors were body-shamed, they shut it down in the smartest way
Taryn Sisco and Megan Ellis have devoted their life to health, as well as opening up the world of fitness to people of all body types. In fact, they run Barre East Fitness Studio, which The Frederick News-Post called “a fitness studio where clients would feel comfortable working out” in an October 20th profile. But when one woman saw the profile in the newspaper, she did something unbelievably cruel.
Taryn and Megan recently received their first piece of hate mail. It was from a woman who took it upon herself to take the clipping of the newspaper’s profile and write body-shaming comments all over it, then mail it to the studio.
“You are overweight!” the woman wrote, drawing an arrow pointing to Taryn. But Megan wasn’t spared from her vitriol, as the woman also drew an arrow pointing to her with the comment, “You do not model a healthy lifestyle. You are fat, bordering on obese. I hope to see an article in the future that shows you practicing what you preach.”
As if that’s not enough, the woman felt compelled to continue. “Pictures/articles like these give others a license to be overweight or obese,” she wrote. “I’m so tired of seeing articles espousing fitness and health while those in the picture are neither.” She also included her own personal statistics — 115 pounds, 5′ 2″, 20% body fat, exercises six days a week. Clearly, this woman was under the impression that this somehow gave her ground over Taryn and Megan, or that it gave her a reason to spew her rage.
But Taryn and Megan were above all of this. They decided to use the negative comments as an educational opportunity in the best way possible, and they posted a picture of the clipping on their blog, along with a whip-smart response that may make body-shaming haters think twice before they speak.
First, they explained that they know who the woman is, and although they didn’t disclose her identity, they noted that they’ve never actually met her in person — and that her background in school administration is “the most disappointing factor in all of this”:
Though the woman’s hateful remarks were naturally frustrating, and though Taryn and Megan would “love to kick her booty in a class,” what they really want is for her to talk to the women who take their classes:
They also pointed out that the anonymous woman claimed that they “give others a license to be overweight or obese,” but no one gave her a license to deliver “unprovoked hate.”
“Judging anyone based on their looks. . . sends the wrong message to women everywhere,” Taryn and Megan wrote. “Women should lift each other up, not tear each other down. So nice try lady. . . but mission not accomplished. Barre East welcomes all ages, all levels and ALL BODYTYPES. Always.”
Yesterday, they continued their body positivity movement with this post on Facebook:
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YAAAS. Hate is never productive, but Taryn and Megan are so amazing that they’ve transformed a cruel act of bullying into something beautiful. “Part of being in the fitness industry is to stand up against body shaming, and to advocate for the person who would have just thrown it away and cried,” Taryn told People in an interview published today.
In fact, they’re planning on adding an inspiration wall to their studio to create “a place where we can build each other up and celebrate our beauty, strength and courage both inside and out.”
Because really, isn’t that exactly what we should be doing: celebrating each other? Thanks, Taryn and Megan, for fighting the good fight. You are amazing and beautiful, inside and out.
(Image via Barre East Fitness.)