Exercise, fashion do not mix

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    After years of fighting for equal rights, some women athletes are taking a conscious step backward in the name of fashion – a trend known as “fashletics.”Nicole DeBoom, who won the women’s title at the 2004 Ironman Wisconsin triathlon, launched a company called Skirt Sports because, according to the Chicago Tribune, she was tired of looking like a boy when she was working out.

    While skirts have always remained prevalent in sports like tennis, golf, lacrosse and field hockey, DeBoom wanted to create a sexy, feminine look for runners and bikers, too.

    Is it just me, or does that not defeat the purpose of working out?

    Running should be about staying healthy and physically fit or relaxing. It’s not about trying to look attractive or pick up a date at the University Recreation Center. I’ll be the first to admit that skirts have their place. I spent my childhood willingly wearing pink tights, a leotard and yes, a dreaded ballet skirt, but that doesn’t mean I want to wear one while I’m working out.

    In dance, the tights and leotard have a purpose. Teachers need to be able to see lines on the student’s body to assess if they are executing exercises and combinations correctly.

    In sports like lacrosse, skirts have historically been part of the uniform. Lacrosse teams have sported the kilt because of the sport’s origin, not because they think it’s cute and adds to their attractiveness while on the field. Lacrosse is one of the tougher women’s sports requiring girls to have endurance, ball handling skills and enough of an aggressive spirit to battle another team.

    Running and biking, traditionally seen as men’s activities, have no historic root in skirt-wearing. Women had to fight for the right to wear shorts and run or bike alongside men, and now they are taking it back and asking if they can wear skirts while trying to gain equality.

    Nike and New Balance both carry a running skirt for $45 and www.skirtsports.com, DeBoom’s company, offers five skirts ranging in price from $40 to $70 each. Even if one could make an argument for the sporty skirt, who in their right mind would spend that much money to look trendy while staying fit?

    When TCU was ranked 12th in fitness last week, it never even dawned on me that the high frequency of Rec Center visits might have something to do with women trying to look cute in yet another setting.

    I hope that is not the case, and that women working out at the Rec Center, or anywhere else, will continue to sport their shorts and T-shirts.

    If you want to pick up a date by showing off your legs, wear a skirt to a party, to class or even to the library, but please don’t turn running into another game of attraction.

    Kathleen Thurber is a sophomore news-editorial journalism major from Colorado Springs, Colo.

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