Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Let’s put an end to the “-ista”

The August issue of Runner’s World appeared in my mailbox over the weekend, with a promising cover line: The flashy new gear culture and the women who love it. 

Why, that would be me! Sadly, the title of the article–Fastinista!–was much less appealing.

I thought we were done with this “-ista” business. I assumed (mistakenly, it seems) that once TJ Maxx appropriated this suffix for their “Maxxinista” ad campaign last year, or at least when all those “recessionistas” found full-time jobs again, we were at last living in a post-ista world.

To be fair, the article is quite good, and I recommend reading it. I really only take issue with what adding “-ista” implies; that running gear needs to be figuratively coated in pink cupcake frosting in order for a woman to be able to use it. Pull quotes like “…When I look good, I feel strong,” and “I flaunt my long legs in bright colors, cute skirts, and fun socks” do nothing to dispel the notion that women are preoccupied with their appearances above all else. Feeling strong because you think you “look good” isn’t empowering; it’s placing your entire self-worth on something that’s not an accomplishment.

Don’t misunderstand me. I adore running gear that has style, and I’m willing to spend money on something that will perform beautifully–function-wise and fashion-wise. And sometimes, it’s pink. I just don’t need a closet full of pink running clothes and a schmaltzy empowerment schtick to feel like a real woman. So, editors, please keep your “-ista”, because we ladies don’t need it.