You are correct in assuming that this reckoning is overwhelming for many of us. I am a white woman with a foreign accent, this as been a definite handicap in my day to day life here in the US, for now half my life. Until I open my mouth I am taken seriously but after that it's over. I often think of what it would be like to wear it on my skin. It would be exponentially worse. I am grateful that you took the time to write to this community. I might be completely overwhelmed with doubt and sadness but it helps to hear from someone that shares the same passion for something, anything. I live in one of the whitest state in the country (Utah), It is not straight forward to find any black voices here.
Thank you for this post, Roxy! Aa a Black woman trying to get her footing in this industry, I can relate to everything the author says, especially the line about “silence or total dismissal” and the popular assessment that I have hyperlordosis due to my body’s architecture.
And I’ll never forget the time I went to a studio to audition for the owner, and when I walked in, she had the portraits of her instructors on the wall and I thought, “They all look the same!”
Later, the owner came out, but after seeing me, she immediately looked very uncomfortable, suddenly was unavailable to speak with me (the audition never happened, by the way), and later told me that the position “was no longer available”. FYI, the job still was, and it was posted on her website and remained there for some time — it apparently was no longer available to me, even though I was never assessed on my qualifications. So sad!
Thank you for your post! As a black fitness instructor, the Pilates industry does represent one type of person. When I went to Pilates certifications, classes and workshops I saw most of the mentors favor thin white women or dancers. It was not in my head! Being a thick jockey athletic black woman I felt I was not good enough to teach Pilates, even though I had a following of women and men who enjoyed taking my classes (and still do). Maybe your post will shed some light on the exclusiveness traits of Pilates, and there might be a day when Pilates can be a community for all
Taryn Upchurch thanks for taking the time to read this, comment and share your story. Unfortunately, your experience is all too common and its important for everyone in the industry to hear these stories and yes, it is so sad -- it was definitely that owner/studios loss!
Michelle it's definitely NOT in your head and this is the time where more people are opening up and really seeing what has been so ingrained in society that it seems normal (or it's just in our heads and we're overreacting). I too hope that Pilates will be a community for all and that change is starting to take place. Thanks for taking the time to read this and comment and share.
Thank you so much, Roxy, for this article!! So clear and well explained!! We should be one people, one world. I work on me and on it to spread this aswell as Pilates and movement love. The rainbow is only beautiful because there are all colors in harmony and equity. Thanks a lot for taking time to write this article!!