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Why are beautiful women still so determined to peddle the myth that they don't exercise?

Caitlin McBride


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January Jones in X-Men: First Class in 2011

January Jones in X-Men: First Class in 2011

January Jones attends Vanity Fair and Lancôme Toast Women in Hollywood on February 06, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

January Jones attends Vanity Fair and Lancôme Toast Women in Hollywood on February 06, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

Getty Images for Vanity Fair

January Jones in X-Men: First Class in 2011

January Jones in X-Men: First Class in 2011

January Jones in X-Men: First Class in 2011

January Jones in X-Men: First Class in 2011

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January Jones in X-Men: First Class in 2011

Are you familiar with the acronym NLOG?

For the uninitiated, NLOG is internet speak for 'Not Like Other Girls' and represents a long-established trope in which women portray themselves as cool, maybe a bit clumsy and most definitely one of the guys.

A NLOG is the type of woman who shares pictures of her eating burgers on Instagram yet retains a year-round six-pack; she drinks beer instead of wine or - gasp! - a cocktail; she has perfected the 'no make-up' make-up look and more often than not, she says she finds it hard to forge female friendships.

In certain situations, she serves as a narrative device in television and film and in others, she can be a dangerous mechanic that more impressionable younger girls aspire towards. The latest example of this is January Jones' interview with SHAPE magazine.

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January Jones in X-Men: First Class in 2011

January Jones in X-Men: First Class in 2011

Jones, best known for her role as Betty Draper in Mad Men, is a well-known actress, nearly just as famous for her beauty as her on-screen talent, but in this latest interview, she is - as they say - giving off major NLOG energy.

SHAPE is a fitness magazine, so naturally much of the interview was centred around her physical and mental health. Reflecting on her diet and exercise regime for X-Men: First Class, most of which she featured in lingerie, she boasted about lying to producers about her workouts, saying she pretended to be exercising in her hotel room when in fact she was in bed watching Friends.

"Even when I was filming X-Men and they had trainers for all of us, I would lie and say I was exercising in my hotel room, when actually I was watching Friends and having full tea service," she said.

Anyone with eyes can see the outline of her abs in her scenes are such a distinctive mark of fitness that is not made from sipping Earl Grey and debating whether or not Ross and Rachel were really on a break. It comes from buckets of sweat sprinkled with some blood and tears. And it happens at the gym.

The story was naturally picked up by the Daily Mail, which loves nothing more than to point out women's flaws and perpetuate the NLOG narrative by placing stars like January on a pedestal; never asking questions about how a woman who said she didn't work out but fit into sample sizes throughout her career. In the same vein, they regularly shame curvy women with unflattering paparazzi shots on the beach.

It perpetuates the dangerous myth often peddled by beautiful women that their toned muscles are natural; their wrinkle-free skin simply a good skincare regime and their new nose(s) are simply down to contouring. Out of preference to not be sued, I won't name the women whose versions of revisionist history serve their delusional self-portraits, but there are too many NLOG to count - and each more infuriating than the last.

It seems the only time high profile women will admit to exercising is if there's commercial value: Busy Phillips revitalised her career after sharing her the honest reality of sweaty work-outs; Kate Hudson has a leggings range that aligns with her fitness focus and Chris Pratt went from a lovable actor to a bonafide movie star after he shed the pounds.

It's rare to see exercise advertised as a means through which to achieve a healthy lifestyle, and to strengthen you physically and mentally.

Instead, exercise is either a means to make money, or a tool with which fit women can (usually unintentionally) beat those who aren't as genetically blessed, or don't have a roster of personal trainers and chefs on command. The conversation around exercise has become so anachronistic that someone like Kim Kardashian, whose obsession with skinniness borders unhealthy, emerges as a figure of admiration because at least she's honest.

In the same Shape interview, Jones documented her love-hate relationship with exercise, mostly rooted in hate, as her father was a personal trainer and she recalls him "always pushing my sisters, my mom, and me to exercise", so her youthful act of rebellion was to do the opposite.

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January Jones attends Vanity Fair and Lancôme Toast Women in Hollywood on February 06, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

January Jones attends Vanity Fair and Lancôme Toast Women in Hollywood on February 06, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

Getty Images for Vanity Fair

Since giving birth to her son Xander in 2011, she realised the value of exercise, in particular when it came to "hauling around a 20 or 30 pound toddler, my lower back gave out and I saw my shoulders starting to curl and hunch."

If Jones's Instagram presence is anything to go by, she doesn't take herself too seriously and while there's every chance she was swooning over Matt LeBlanc in a five-star hotel room while filming X-Men instead of hitting the gym; there's no need to rub it in the faces of every woman sweating it out at spin class every night to fit into their 'skinny' jeans.

Online Editors


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