Mine All Mine: How Getting Active Gave Me a New Way of Being in My Body

The following thoughts, from my friend and colleague Tracy Isaacs in the Departments of Philosophy and of Women’s Studies and Feminist Research at Western, and one of the main voices at “Fit is a Feminist Issue”, aren’t strictly about teaching. But they ARE about activism in the best way possible: they speak to Tracy’s experience of taking control of the way she feels about her body in an unrelentingly positive way through amateur athletics. She reflects on how and why that experience has given her a new way to be in the world, with all of its profound, gendered challenges for women (even successful, petit women at middle age). I really recommend it as inspiring reading, especially for young female students.


tracy triathlon embodimentHow do you feel in your body?  At home, absent, at war, at peace, comfortable, uncomfortable? I ask this because, since my fiftieth birthday back in September, I’ve discovered that apart from doing a whole bunch of stuff that I used to think impossible (see my post about that here), the most remarkable change over the past two years is internal.

It’s not just internal in a psychological way. It’s more than that.  Feminists talk a lot about our embodied experience. And lately, I feel that my triathlon training — all that running, swimming, and even the detestable biking (sorry — still not loving it) — have altered the way I feel in my body.  For the very first time in my life, I have a sense of my physicality as belonging totally and 100% to me.

I own these activities–every endurance run, every early morning workout in the…

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