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I agree completely. This is just a superficial overview of the most obviously ridiculous manifestations of fitness trends, focused on ridiculing people's tastes and motivations. I'm personally frustrated by the quality of information that my friends and family get from various unqualified sources seeking money or attention, and I would love anything that would help them get a better critical perspective, but "isn't it all ridiculous" is not a critical perspective. It's easy to expose how people's concerns about physical fitness are wrapped up in vanity and arbitrary social norms, but you can do the same with food, shelter, and human relationships; does the author have anything interesting to say about what that means?

The closest the article comes to hinting at a more interesting point of view is when it points out in relation to a "Ms. Prudden" that "the paper’s honorific [in 1982] for the author was Miss; The Times was notoriously slow to accommodate Ms., adopting it only in 1986, 15 years after the founding of Ms. magazine." The purpose of mentioning this would seem to be to point out that fitness trends are not unique in reflecting contemporary social mores. But if we're already aware of this, then I'm not sure what the article has to offer except transtemporal voyeurism, trotting out the past to serve as a freak show for the present.

The history of fitness trends could make for an interesting way to see changes in popular ideas about health in gender roles across time. But this article is not a history; it is a catalog of mockery that happens to span a few decades.

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