Those of you who live in the UK cannot have failed to have noticed the recent Sport England media campaign to get more women active and into sport. The idea behind it is to show women that they can do sport, irregardless of how they look whilst doing it. It aims to challenges stereotypes as we seem women ‘jiggling’, sweating and with make-up running yet having a great time. It seeks to help women ditch the insecurity over their bodies that puts many women off entering the world of sport by showing ‘normal’ women being active. Take a look for yourself:
The first time I watched it my instant reaction was awesome! Finally we are looking past the ‘perfection’ that the media constantly bombards us with. Finally, we are holding up a diverse group of women as inspiration, no photoshopping, just pure real women. Too many people in the UK are inactive and so anything that helps promote sport, and movement, as fun and enjoyable is positive. Right?
Well, this is the thing. Upon reflection the sceptic in me started to wonder. There are plenty of other ‘types’ of real women that are not included in this advert. Where are the skinny girls? It’s not just women who ‘jiggle’ who are intimidated by their insecurities about their body. Where are the muscly girls? They’re real too and although, arguably, they already exercise they might not necessarily be comfortable about their bodies.
Real women jiggle. Real women have some body fat. Real women have very little body fat. Real women don’t have much muscle. Real women have muscle. And all these women may face insecurities about their bodies and feel uncomfortable whilst working out. I’ve been through many of these stages with my own body and through all of them I have felt both confident and insecure.
It’s great to see the beginnings of a fight back against the media’s perception of perfection. But with this, we need to ensure that we don’t move from fat-shaming to skinny-shaming. We’ve moved from the infamous Kate Moss quote that “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” to fitspiration instead. Yet, strong is the new skinny seems to be just another form of shaming. For some people, like myself, having muscle and curves is their healthy. For others, skinny is their healthy. Neither is right and neither is wrong.
Nevertheless, this is just a drop in the ocean so maybe that’s the best way to see it. It’s a beginning. Perhaps I’m just bitter that there are not barbells involved… now that really would be a statement 😉
Too far too soon?!
The hashtag #ThisGirlCan has taken Twitter by storm and a quick search suggests to me that maybe I am wrong in thinking this way. The pure diversity of women taking part in this is outstanding, so for that I praise you. All I ask is that we get bigger and better, that we don’t stop here. For we have a long way to travel yet.
What are your thoughts?