Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
New interviews throughout the week

Not working out: On the grim labor of fitness.


Health originally meant freedom from disease, and who wants to mention disease? So we go for wellness - at least those who can afford it. Maybe you beat yourself up in the gym, but then you pamper yourself, you follow Gwyneth Paltrow or some other celebrity wellness guru, you spend hours every day thinking about the things you're applying to your skin, about the things you're putting in your mouth, every aspect of your physical and mental health. The idea of doing anything with another person, or a group, just doesn't come up.

Writer Barbara Ehrenreich makes a case against the grim, utopian culture of personal fitness - from the alienated, hyper-individualized work of working out, to the managerial consumption of wellness - in our pop-soundtracked, synchronized march to whatever sized grave we're all just gonna end up in anyways.

Barbara wrote the article Body Work: The curiously self-punishing rites of fitness culture for The Baffler.

Share Tweet Send



Barbara Ehrenreich

Barbara Ehrenreich is an author and founding editor of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.


Related Interviews
More with Barbara Ehrenreich