Fortrove News

In an interview with Coveteur, author Sheila Yasmin Marikar discusses her new book The Goddess Effect. It discusses the effects of modern fitness culture with our modern sensibilities.

When asked about why she wrote in the tone of a woman in fitness that just wants to be accepted, Marikar said, “There’s this undercurrent of desperation and reaching that is apparent in so many of us. We’ve been told that there’s an American dream that we may all be able to achieve if we work hard enough and save enough money and prioritize our health. Increasingly, that just seems out of reach. And those of us who are trying to get that are on this hamster wheel, wondering if we’ve done enough or done the right things. We are constantly trying to get what we thought was going to be ours: success, happiness, comfort. Anita embodies that hunger. She wants to feel like a success, but she doesn’t know in her own mind what success means in a holistic sense. She does come off as desperate and I just picture her grabbing straws, reaching for anything that’s going to give her life and make her feel like she’s better than the day before.” 

When asked if fitness is a modern replacement for a religious lifestyle that our ancestors afforded, a sense of structure, Marikar said, “As our country has become more secular, people are trying to fill holes that religion may have filled before. A ritual like going to church or temple, if you don't have that, you’re looking for something to give your day shape and focus. Going to a seven o’clock in the morning workout gives you structure. But I also think it can go many ways. When I lived in New York, for example, there was a particular bodega where I would get my coffee. Those things can give your day structure as well; it’s a routine. You feel safe in your routine. 

“Right now, I’m in a personal rut with my own workout classes and schedule. I was doing megaformer for a long time, and I don’t know if the studio that I was with is the one I want to keep going to. I could go for a run. I have weight training equipment at home. There is no reason for me to be seeking out another studio to workout at. But at the same time, you think it’s going to give you discipline you wouldn’t have otherwise. We’re all in constant search of that silver bullet, asking what is the thing that’s going to make me feel better that isn’t going to require me to think long and hard about my own impulses and lack of self-control? What can I do on the outside to try to feel better inside without really addressing any of the stuff inside?” 

When asked about the influence of marketing on the average modern person's psyche, and if it has any deific influence, Marikar said, “The one thing that maybe everyone in our culture can agree on is the power of marketing. I spent half of Black Friday refreshing the Skims website, trying to get bodysuits that I don’t need in colors that I don’t even like because I got one and now I’m convinced that somehow the Skims bodysuit is going to save me. I'm very aware of how susceptible I am to marketing. I mean, I can get a bodysuit from anywhere. Why do I want that one? Because it’s Kim Kardashian’s [line] and she is a cultural icon. I want to get the thing that Kim made because in some way it makes me feel like I’m part of something. 



“There’s been a profusion of brands over the past 10 years. They reflect our culture and they influence the things that people read, watch, and eat. That's all due to marketing. For me, putting in brand names and references in the book was important to me, because when I'm walking through the world I notice if someone has, for example, the Cartier Love bracelet. We adorn ourselves with a variety of things, and they say who we are. The brands and labels matter.” 

Information originally sourced from Coveteur.