So, I’m pretty sure by now everyone has seen or at least heard of the This Girl Can campaign, designed to show real women in sport… It’s brilliant. It’s had an amazing reaction and I think Sport England should be commended for what they’re looking to achieve.
However, according to this article in The Guardian, the campaign ‘is all about sex, not sport’. Really? Can’t say that was the first thing that I thought when I watched the video.
Firstly, we should all be offended at the use of the word ‘girl’. Apparently this is undermining and older women will not engage with the campaign. Well, I’m 33 and I couldn’t give a shit. The author seems to feel there is a negative connotation to the word. Well, yes, if you continue to tell people that it’s wrong, then yes, there will be. It’s a word. It refers to a gender. It certainly doesn’t make me think of the phrase ‘throw like a girl’. If someone were to refer to me as a “girl” in a derogatory fashion, I’d be thinking to myself, yes, a girl who can run a marathon, climb a mountain and deadlift my own bodyweight. A girl who can. This girl can. The point of the campaign, I believe…
Secondly, the campaign is all about women’s flesh. Well, I’d love to hear how this journalist thinks an advert about activity and fitness could be filmed without showing women’s bodies. Apparently, women only sweat in order to look desirable, ‘sweat is sexy’ and keeping fit is only about engendering interest from men. WHAT????? Incidentally, people don’t wear shorts or skimpy clothes to attract attention when working out. It’s because you get hot, weirdly enough!
The journalist summarises by saying “It’s disappointing that a campaign to get women more physically active doesn’t focus on how exercise strengthens friendship, reduces the stress of work and care and gives us physical and emotional strength.”
Well, Jessica Francombe-Webb and Simone Fullagar, perhaps you were too busy being offended at being called a girl and seeing women in shorts on the TV. When I watched that advert, I saw girls working as a team, clearly showing pride in their accomplishments, smiling and laughing. To me, that showed friendship, the pyschological benefits of exercise and clear physical and emotional strength – exactly what you said was missing. Perhaps you need to open your eyes, get over your ridiculous ideas of ‘feminism’ and maybe go to the nearest gym, pull on some boxing gloves and give a punchbag some serious hell – not because you think it’ll garner interest from the men there, but to realise how much more you’ll get from getting a good sweat on, and maybe then you’ll understand the point of the campaign. It’s about taking negative words and connotatioins, like ‘sweat like a pig’ and turning them on their head. You’re turning them right back round again. And guess what? If you go through life looking to be demeaned and offended, well, that’s exactly what’ll you’ll find. It’s everywhere. Instead of whinging about it, do something about changing it. And maybe changing your mindset too.
In the meantime, I’ll take my own advice and go for a run. In my shorts. And maybe even a cropped top. Not to attract attention, but because I sweat. And not in a sexy way!