A short rant about an ‘inspirational’ quote on Instagram

I was scrolling through Instagram the other morning, kidding myself that it counted as work, when I came across one of those alleged inspirational quotes.

It was pink and in the kind of shitty font that you see in Powerpoint presentations made by 13 year olds.

‘I don’t sweat,’ it said, ‘I sparkle!’

‘Fuck off,’ I said. (Sorry Daddy.)

I have recreated something similar for you, to give you an idea of how much it made me want to punch my phone in the face:

I don't sweat, I sparkle


Aside from it being awful on a superficial, design level, the message is truly terrible. I’m assuming because of the pink and the flowers that it is aimed at women, and it seems to be implying that sweat therefore, for a woman, is a BAD THING.

Um, why exactly??

Sweating is your body’s way of regulating temperature. It’s a natural function, like your stomach digests food or your bladder helps you get rid of excess fluid. In what way would not having the ability to sweat be a positive thing? I sweat like nobody’s business just sitting still, (it goes hand in hand with my beetroot face), but I sweat more when I am exercising – i.e. TAKING CARE OF MYSELF – which I have been led to believe by the experts is a GOOD THING. When I did that old lady aerobics class I was not ‘sparkling’, I was sweating. It’s normal.

And yet here we are, still, in 2019, being made to feel as women as though our basic bodily functions are somehow undignified, like we can’t just go about our business as a normal human being.

I decided to switch it around a bit, and created a new version of the quote:

I don't sweat, I sparkle

Not so inspirational now is it?

Or how about taking some other natural, human functions and adding a bit of sparkle to make them more acceptable for the LADIES?

I don't sweat, I sparkle

Well that’s just nicer isn’t it? Much more ladylike.

What is doubly frustrating about this picture is that I imagine it was created by a woman. As much as we complain about living in a patriarchy and being conditioned by the media and all that, we do have our own role to play stopping the perpetuation of these stereotypes, and images like this really do not help our cause.

What do you think? Am I being unreasonable to be annoyed by this or do we need to make a stand on the small things in order to change the bigger picture?

If you liked this post you might also like this rant about the hairdresser where everything is £11, this rant about the man online who called me a liar, or this one about car air fresheners.



  1. msedollyp
    25 March, 2019 / 1:21 pm

    I agree, we need to be real people not ‘fluffy’!!

  2. Allie
    25 March, 2019 / 1:32 pm

    I saw that too and it really pissed me off. Plus, wasn’t it an ad for deodorant? I remember taking it literally and laughing at the idea of glitter in my pits. A big load of bollocks, if you ask me.

    • Jo Middleton
      25 March, 2019 / 2:44 pm

      Oh my God, was it?? I have to say I didn’t get past the image to the text because I was already too mad :-D

  3. Claire Sen
    25 March, 2019 / 1:33 pm

    I’m with you on this! I thought it was going to be a ‘live laugh love’ one at first. Bloody hate inspirational nonsense

    • Jo Middleton
      25 March, 2019 / 2:45 pm

      Dance between the raindrops! Make lemonade!

      *throws up in bag*

  4. Susan B
    25 March, 2019 / 2:13 pm

    Yes, I’m with you, Jo. Sick-making drivel as far as I am concerned.

  5. Kimberly Meadows
    25 March, 2019 / 3:42 pm

    You made me spit my tea out

  6. Lisa
    26 March, 2019 / 10:31 am

    Glad you didn’t turn this into another victim of patriarchy rant as most of this sort of guff is, as you say, generated by women for women, we, after all, buy the bitchy magazines and read the gossip columns. Men don’t force it on us, nor the unicorn and princess stuff. We do need to take responsibility, you’re right. And don’t wait ‘TIL were Grandmas to fix it.

  7. 1 April, 2019 / 4:08 pm

    Oh yes, of course you need the words ‘live love laugh’ up on your wall in case you forget to do any of those 3 things. But it wouldn’t matter too much, because you’d be reminded in everyone elses home too. I also hate the wooden word ornaments. I have a tendency to swap them around when i see them in people’s houses. LOVE becomes VOLE and HOME becomes OH EM (my name is Emily). There is just no meaning to most of these signs. I made my own, with some profound words. It says the following thought provoking message… “A person who fishes alone, is not a share fisherman.” This was actually part of some boring terms and conditions from the government’s national insurance website, but I thought it sounded cool so we got it made into a sign, and comes with raised eyebrows when people ask about it.

  8. 14 April, 2019 / 7:57 am

    Have you seen Inspirobot? It generates inspirational quotes and puts them on inspirational images. Some of them are hilarious! And it just goes to show how formulaic and shite these quotes are.

  9. 27 May, 2019 / 8:45 pm

    I honestly could have writen this myself! Thank you for this post! K xx

  10. We, the Humankind
    12 June, 2019 / 12:23 pm

    Totally agree that we have to take a stand on stuff like this. I imagine the woman who made the image wasn’t aware of the implications; that in fact she was putting a damaging message into the public sphere. Since there are quite enough of those floating around, we women need to educate and support one another, as you’ve done in this post. Thank you!

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