Fitness Studio Instructors Fight Back Against ‘Body Shaming’ Mail

By Paige Jones
The Frederick News-Post, Md.

Megan Ellis was sifting through mail Monday evening at the fitness studio she manages in downtown Frederick when she said she saw a nondescript white envelope.

Inside the envelope, the manager of the recently opened Barre East Fitness Studio at Everedy Square and Shab Row said she found a torn-out page from The Frederick News-Post’s Oct. 20 edition. It was the page featuring the new fitness studio, and it included a photo of Ellis and co-manager Taryn Sisco.

“I assumed somebody clipped it out for us,” Ellis said.

Instead, Ellis found the page covered in handwritten comments criticizing Ellis’ and Sisco’s body sizes.

An arrow pointing to Ellis read, “You are fat, bordering on obese.” One pointing to Sisco said, “You are overweight.” More comments about their sizes were written in the margins, including one on the left-hand side saying, “Pictures/articles like this give others a license to be overweight or obese.”

The comments moved Ellis to tears, and she immediately notified Sisco of the mail. The two discussed what to do and decided to take action.

“You can fold it up, put it away and be sad, or you can do something,” Ellis told The News-Post on Wednesday.

In a blog post on Barre East Fitness Studio’s website, the duo responded to the comments they received, preaching a broader message of “women should lift each other up, not tear each other down.”

On Facebook, Sisco wrote: “You called me overweight without knowing that I overcame an eating disorder and serious body image issues in my 20s. You called my friend fat not knowing how strong she is or how many inches she has lost since training in barre. … But what you didn’t realize you did was open up an important conversation about overcoming adult bullying, body shaming and unprovoked hate.”

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