... fact-packed but bouncy ... Friedman also reacquaints readers, charmingly, with the 'leotite,' a modest but accommodating one-piece garment made partly of wool and sold at Montgomery Ward; and Gilda Marx’s 'Flexatard,' issued in multiple colors and fortified with Lycra ... Friedman obviously had fun paging through old ads...and the sometimes astonishingly retrograde magazine layouts overseen by serial dieters ... Most enjoyable is when Friedman shines light on less hallowed figures ... Having YouTube by your side will complement your reading of this book, in which paradigms are forever shifting and prose, covering so much ground, can sometimes over-contort ... the author carefully tracks elitism and racism, noting how social media has helped level the playing field for leaders such as Jessamyn Stanley, a Black yoga instructor and body positivity advocate with a devoted following ... In 2004, for n+1, Mark Greif wrote a lacerating condemnation of modern gyms ... In her own very different style, Friedman offers updates and bracing correctives.
The factoids boggle the mind, but Friedman goes further, providing a rich story for each fitness trend she examines, from jogging to Jazzercise, bodybuilding to yoga and beyond ... Friedman shares just enough of her own experience to grant the book a defined point of view: that of a woman approaching middle age, seeking strength and release in movement. Her research is thorough, and her storytelling is as energetic as the exercises she describes. Let’s Get Physical is full of stories that humanize an industry that sometimes seems to prioritize perfection over people.
... reading Let’s Get Physical, I found myself craving the unthinkable: a room filled with other people, a Tina Turner CD, and a really exhausting workout ... Friedman’s book...persuasively encapsulates the relatively recent history of women’s fitness and the wide-reaching impact its trailblazers had ... Let’s Get Physical is clear-eyed about assessing the flaws in the fitness movement—its mixed messaging, its propagation of toxic ideals, its longtime exclusion of differently abled women, plus-size women, and particularly women of color ... Friedman also understands the different dimensions of power, and how incidentally one kind can lead to another.
Danielle Friedman shows the tremendous gains women have made in obtaining their right to exercise ... Well-researched and engaging, Let’s Get Physical shares the stories of the pioneers who pushed through barriers in women’s exercise ... Friedman addresses the dichotomy between beauty culture and exercising for wellbeing. And she reminds readers that for all of its feminist gains, fitness has been a bastion of privilege, accessible primarily to white women with the time and the resources to pursue it. In a moving final chapter, she highlights the contemporary pioneers working to make exercise more inclusive—of race, of body shape, and of income.
... a brisk history of the women's fitness industry ... It is interesting to see how celebrity exercise instructors of the 1980s onwards reflected the increasingly viable fitness business model, to make it a most lucrative investment area ... An informative and enjoyable book for public libraries and other collections that focus on the social history of women's health and fitness.
Journalist Friedman takes a jaunt through the history of women’s fitness in her astute and entertaining debut ... With an emphasis on barrier breakers, business dynamos, and exceptional athletes, Friedman explores how physical training can be a means of personal liberation—Berk, for instance, saw barre as an expression of women’s sexual freedom. This zippy history is bursting with energy.