A network for women by women

Health & Fitness


The Skinny Bitch Collective

It seems the world has been taken over by fitness and exercise. Every month there is a new craze, whether it’s zumba, Pilates or hot yoga. It appears we all want a taste of the luxurious LA lifestyle, one which exudes the idea of fitness and wellbeing to an extreme level. Perhaps we want to forget about our monotonous lives for an hour a day, soulcycling our troubles away, the sparkling beads of sweat trickling down our temples, like a Victoria’s Secret model. I can’t speak for everyone but sadly this isn’t the case for me. Being a track and field athlete, fitness is primarily about cold winter nights, lactic acid and countless thermal layers. However, as I was scrolling through social media, I came across a shudder-worthy fitness programme endorsed by the fashion and showbiz elite, created by Russell Bateman, a self-proclaimed health and fitness guru; The Skinny Bitch Collective. As the name suggests, it’s just for ‘skinny bitches’. Despite what it stands for, this new ‘phenomenon’ has taken the UK by storm is used by the likes of Suki Waterhouse and Jourdan Dunn. The question is this, why has exercise become something that only the elite can take part in?

The SBC, as they are informally known, can be seen on daily instagram videos (in black and white), enduring difficult fitness exercises and wearing the latest Nike attire. Who knew women could look so beautiful and poised doing upside down mountain climbers? I understand that these celebrity figures might find it difficult to attend a regular gym, for the fear of getting attacked and savaged by their adoring fans, but the message that Bateman sends to ‘normal’ women is that if we do not exceed 5”7 and are wafer thin, then we should be denied the right to exercise. It seems that Russell Bateman has lost sight of the real reason behind exercise; it isn’t simply throwing yourself into crazy positions, engaging your core until your insides explode and then recovering with a super green smoothie. Exercise is a long walk in the park, or along the beach, or an old fitness DVD in your living room. For me, it’s the magic potion to all my problems and the greatest stress reliever. The only thing that the promotion of the SBC will do is dissuade women everywhere from exercise and on a more serious note; prolong the global problem of low self-esteem amongst women.

Even though women probably have no intention of joining the SBC, the message is sadly, ‘you’re not good enough, no matter how hard you try as your body shape is unchangeable. Access denied’. It’s an awful thought, but no matter how hard a woman tries to lose weight, it’s impossible to miraculously grow 4 inches, broaden your shoulders or decrease the size of your thighs. How far do we have to go before we just lock women in a huge dark room for eternity?

 Crazy fitness regimes aside, Russell Bateman is also a fan of a intensely strict and clean diet. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s healthy to be aware of what you put in your body and how it can affect you in the long term, but Bateman’s obsession with the ‘caveman diet’ made me question everything I consumed. Even fruit is bad. So is egg yolk. He advises pizza made of out cauliflower. On a more lighthearted note, not only does this manipulate women into thinking they are doing almost everything wrong, it’s also so boring. I’m unsure how any of these ‘skinny bitches’ can be happy just eating egg whites and plain cashew nuts all day. I’m starting to thank the Lord I’m not in their shoes (or sparkly new Nike trainers).

I would like to give a shout out to the girls who are part of this elite tribe. Obviously I don’t know them personally and the majority probably enjoy their time at Russell’s arduous boot camp, but I find it hard to believe any woman who enjoys being called a ‘skinny bitch’. I think I missed the memo that stated the word ‘bitch’ had adopted positive connotations. In my eyes, this collocation alienates these women from the rest of society and allows them to be perceived as unreachable creatures, destined to be loathed by the masses, through no fault of their own.


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