Sweat-shaming is when someone points out your sweatiness as a way to signal disapproval. Like its counterparts, slut-shaming and fat-shaming, sweat-shaming is aimed mainly at women, who are actually not supposed to sweat at all.
Well, it’s been a while since we’ve had a classic Guardian sentence, let alone a reminder of just how many brickbats and indignities our brave feminists must endure. The sentences above are courtesy of Ms Amy Roe, who, as you’ll see, has been terribly violated (and is therefore heroic and righteous in her ire).
I was ordering coffee when I noticed a well-dressed woman staring at me. “You look like you just did a class,” she said, giving me the once-over. I had no idea what she meant so I said nothing. “Or swimming?” she offered, with a tight smile.
Well-dressed. Tight smile. The bitch.
I’d just run 12 miles and the hair sticking out from under my hat was wet. It took me a moment to formulate an answer. “Um, running,” I mumbled finally… Rather than challenge sweat-shaming, I played right into it, conceding that I “sweat a lot.”
Tight-smiling woman is obviously a hired goon of The Patriarchy. Her mission, to stamp on the self-esteem of hitherto fearless Guardian columnists.
I took the paper cup of drip coffee and hustled past the condiment bar. Screw the half-and-half; I’d drink it black. Once safely inside my car, I threw off my damp running cap and flipped up the hood of my sweatshirt in embarrassment.
Harrowing stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree. Ms Roe is what we must henceforth refer to as a sweat-shame survivor.
Happily, however - and despite the misogynist violence of having one’s copious perspiration acknowledged by someone standing next to you, possibly closer than they might wish - Ms Roe’s drama ends on a note of empowerment and feminist defiance:
I’ve got another long run this weekend and afterward, I’m going to sit down with my coffee, all sweaty and transgressive. The stigmas surrounding women’s bodies are powerful, but they’re no match for how powerful I feel after running.
Hear her roar. And fetch towels.