I'd never thought I'd say this, but could the ladies be challenging for the lead in our struggle to normalise shirtless running?
Today I googled 'running shirtless' on Blog Search and was quickly reading well-written piece after well-written piece concerning running sans extraneous upper-body attire. Each one by a woman:
- There were 'trying it for the first time' confessionals
- There were 'why you should try this too, girl' proselytisations
- There were even how-to guides on the right attire for shirtless running, complete with clinical discussion on what sort of jogbra to wear and which colour to avoid.
I scanned the Comment sections and almost invariably there was only supportiveness, envy ('I wish I could do it!') and approval being channeled.
Now that I think about it, my own observation at the gym I sometimes use is that more women are adopting the jogbra, while we men stay shirted (of course, gym rules make this mandatory - but that's a gripe for another time).
I'm not complaining, for all sorts of reasons - including the most obvious one. But why is this trend gathering apparent momentum?
One answer puts it down to confidence. As women make strides in arena after arena - now justly sure of their equality - it could only have been a matter of time before this confidence strips away the constraints that inhibit body comfort. Confronted by examples of men who cast aside their shirts to exercise, why should women not partake of the same sense of freedom?
As for why conversions, as we deem it on this blog, should be breaking out all over in the summer of 2012, we might make reference to such things as 'critical mass' (online as well as on the ground) and 'tipping point being reached'. I'm no sociologist, but with every extra jogbraed body out there pounding the pavement, we have an additional role model playing her role. Another sister, or daughter, or mother would have discovered the joys of shirtlessness - and pointing the way to more.
Yet perhaps I should conclude by addressing my fellow men, especially those who feel yet resist that so-natural tug towards tugging off the shirt: The ladies have seen the light, fellows. If once we feared to offend their sensibilities by 'exposing too much', do you need further evidence that there is no erosion of modesty here?
May 2015: First up, though I still try to put up blog content whenever I can, it has been easier to more regularly visit the the Twitterverse. Follow me at @barethomas10 and let's keep the shirtless running flag flying. Of course, the blog still attracts very interesting comments, and good discussion. Keep it up.
Second, in the years since this venture launched, and as shirtless running among women has gone increasingly mainstream, the term "jogbra" has clearly declined in use. I will thus prefer "sportsbra" henceforth - as has already been the case on Twitter, and in recent posts here.
I continue to welcome guest posts (sent to firstname.lastname@example.org) on any related topic, including from those who would discourage stripping to the waist. I am myself of course a fervent convert to the joys of running bare. But let all voices be heard!