So let’s tackle the big, popular topic that is ALL OVER social media and the press, Sport England’s “This Girl Can”, which has received the majority of rave reviews thus far. This is actually partly how this blog came about, following a Sunday evening discussion over a steak pie and a glass of wine (Kate’s culinary expertise)
If you haven’t seen it, let’s take a look.
How did it make me feel? I have a couple of mixed opinions…but overall….boom I think I like it. I also love watching the ‘behind the scenes’ bits and I’m super jealous of the people in the advert..it gives me goosebumps and makes me want to get back out (despite the fact I’m currently sitting in bed at 1pm on a Saturday following a park run and an arms session that was so hard I struggled to put my hoody on afterwards…..)
The problem I typically have with these sorts of ‘women in sport’ campaigns is I actually don’t know how to identify. I’ve (thankfully) never been in the position where I’ve been afraid to exercise, to get sweaty, to wear Lycra, to run around with no makeup on, to go into the weights section at the gym. I’ve got a sporty family. I’ve got an academic background in sport…it’s who I am and I’m not actually all that bad at it (modesty is the best policy). Kate is with me on this – we just get on with it and do it, but who gives us a nod in acknowledgement for already doing things? Magazines and websites always want me to ‘start to run’, to ‘enter my first ever event’, to ‘get back to netball’…..Where is my article on ‘how to crack the 21 minute 5k barrier’? Apparently I don’t need it. The fact that I’m involved means that I can now do it all myself. Which isn’t true (otherwise I would have cracked it). Although the fact that I have a degree in sports science should mean I have a better idea than most but I can’t say I’ve recently picked up any of my textbooks.
I digress. Let’s go back to “This Girl Can”.
What I like:
The concept of ‘Without the fear of judgement’. Like I said above, I really don’t care what I look like or who sees me. Half my colleagues have seen me in Lycra, I’ve dated guys who I’ve met in the gym and I have no qualms about going to do my food shop after a long run because it saves me having to go home, change and then go back out again.
When the music stops and you can sense the “that was an AWESOME” workout. Best.feeling.ever. And look how happy it makes them.
The range of activity. The advert features boxing, netball, spin and others and on the website it goes as far as climbing, dodgeball etc. There IS something for everyone, you just need to find what suits you.
THIS IMAGE. It also made me really want to go to a zumba class like tomorrow.
What I don’t like:
If we’re promoting equality and involvement, we can’t keep omitting men from the equation. I’ll save my thoughts on women’s only gyms, classes and events for another time, but why not show a bit of mixed sport? A woman scoring a try in a mixed touch rugby game? (Best.feeling.ever. Well one of them) Beating a man in a race? (I
secretly cackle when love doing this) Rotating in an out of a squat set without changing the weights? (When I do this I pretend I’m finding it really easy but then curse myself for the next 3 days as I can’t get up from my desk or walk down stairs) However, I’m maybe going way way too far ahead as doing sport with men is a few giant steps above doing sport in the first place for a lot of women. And that’s OK. I’m just competitive.
“I jiggle therefore I am” What about those who don’t jiggle? Does that mean they’re not? We’re worryingly close to becoming a nation that is trying so hard to get people to be happy with their bodies, that we start to discriminate against those who are naturally smaller. Being body confident is fabulous, but we need to stop (I’ll potentially get shot down for this) veering in the direction that being hugely obese is healthy as long as you are happy. Although I think this campaign has done a pretty solid job of using a balanced group of women, it’s just the wording I’m having a bit of a pick at. I’m also currently avoiding blogging about the long, complex topic of body image so moving on…
But these are really moot points. For me, it made me proud to be a girl who can and does. I love the feeling of a good workout and it’s great to see others feeling the same. I’m really looking forward to see the other components of the campaign throughout the year, its use in clubs, organisations and local authorities and really hope that the initial hype spreads into action.
Interestingly, when I shared it on my facebook page, all the likes were from my ‘sporty friends’. My friends who shared it themselves, I would also class within my ‘sporty friends’. So what impact has it had on those who weren’t involved already? Let’s wait and see and have a look at the figures….