Thursday, January 22, 2009

Survival of the Fittest: A Comparative Approach

I've recently starting getting into aerobics DVDs. Some girls from church andI meet a couple of times a week to sweat for an hour in the quest to become more strong, healthy and beautiful. We have used both a British fitness DVD by British TV celebrity Davina McCall and a Croatian DVD by Renata Sopec. I was struck by the differences between the two DVDs and what it says about culture and views of women.

The Davina DVDs are characterized by ironic, self deprecating humor, which is sometimes silly, involving prat falls. The tone is encouraging, emphasizing the difficulty of the workout and the need to press ahead. Davina tells her own motivational story about getting her figure back after having two kids. There's always an easier version provided for each workout.

The Renata DVDs are very straightforward, without jokes or inspirational story, although they are shot in unbelievably beautiful settings-- by the beach, in a field surrouded by candles, etc. The inspiration is presumably provided by Renata herself, who is, for lack of a better word, hot. She has long blonde hair, a perfect tan and a Barbie-like figure, with her chest falling out of her workout top. Davina, although very pretty, is much more normal-looking, with medium-length brown hair and more modest workout clothes.

And interestingly, the DVDs of Davina are copyrighted, cannot be copied and play only on region 2 dvd players. Pirated DVDs of Renata's workouts can be found on every street corner.

I leave my readers to make their own deductive conclusions based on the above information. :)

1 comment:

Francois Hoon said...

Hmmm, that's interesting. Do you think that the differences between the two DVD's are because of the two 'leading ladies'' individual personalities or traits, or do you think that it carries a broader cultural significance? And how would we know whether we are able or in the position to judge whether it carries a broader cultural significance or not?

Maybe your experience of Bosnian (or Croatian) and British (western?) culture of the past few years will put you in a better position to add context to your observations in this regard. So it would be interesting to hear your opinion or deduction on the matter, if you would like to.
Blessings, Francois