‘Dark side to wellness’: Leftist columnist claims getting healthy and fit could turn one into a ‘rightwing jerk’

A recent column by the Guardian suggested that getting in shape could turn someone into a “right-wing jerk.” The scribe of the column is Zoe Williams, who claimed that fitness and wellness can often lead to a judgmental and narcissistic mindset.

The Guardian column stated that “there is a dark side to wellness, which I always, for shorthand, thought of as political: getting fit makes you more rightwing.”

“The mechanism is incredibly simple: you embark on this voyage of self-improvement, and more or less immediately see results. You feel stronger and more energetic, probably your mood lifts, and pretty soon you think you are master of your own destiny. You’re still not, by the way: destiny does not care about your step count.”

The piece went on to claim that the more healthy and confident someone becomes, the more likely the individual is to point out other people’s failures for not being “as healthy as you.”

Consequently, Williams said that someone is healthy and regularly exercises could become “high on self-righteousness.”

“You embark on this voyage of self-improvement, and more or less immediately see results. You feel stronger and more energetic, probably your mood lifts, and pretty soon you think you are master of your own destiny … There you are, high on self-righteousness,” Williams scribbled.

In addition to judging and becoming self-righteous through a healthy lifestyle, Williams wrote that there is a “capitalist logic” to the whole endeavor, writing:

So nothing is ever enough. As soon as you can run 5km, you want to run 10. Before you know it, you’re swapping Strava stats with people you used to think were tossers but now, miraculously, you find you have a lot in common with. Always competing, always striving for growth, even if by ‘grow’ you mean ‘shrink.’

You have internalised the market, unfortunately. Also, you’re getting on everyone’s nerves.

Williams continued by saying that there appears to be a divide between spending time “on your biceps” and developing one’s personality.

“I realise it’s not really a question of an unwitting slide into fascism, hastened by a treadmill. It’s more that there is a fixed amount of excellence in any self … Wellness could turn you into a bit of a jerk, is what I’m saying.”

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