Why I’m not just a girl
I have a love-hate relationship with the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign. On the ‘love’ side: anything to get people, moving, exercising, being motivated and empowered to find happiness in whatever sport or physical activity they choose can only be a good thing! Sport England have really pulled a cracker out attempting to start welcoming women into sport and removing some of the taboos on women moving.
Despite this, I feel the campaign falls just short of being very well done. This is where the ‘hate’ side of the relationship comes in.
When Do I Get To Stop Being a ‘Girl’?
Falling at the first hurdle: at 24 I most definitely don’t like being referred to as a ‘girl’. As a female human who’s progressed from birth through childhood and adolescence to attainment of adulthood, I think I’ve earned the right to be called a woman.
It’s a little degrading, surely, to use ‘girl’ to capture the heart and soul of a large range and ages of the female population? This is meant to be a campaign to empower and involve women in sport without the need for male approval or judgement. I’m not feeling massively empowered by being referred to as a ‘girl’. It’s a very stereotypical way to degrade a woman by infantilising her. Maybe they were trying to be ironic.
I Don’t Have to Be Sexy All the Time
‘Sweating like a pig, feeling like a fox’ is a slogan which captured my attention. And for me, it’s the second failing. Don’t get me wrong: I actually love most of the slogans used in this campaign– many of them are a hilarious play on words! Pointing out obvious and chauvinistic behaviour, then laughing at it, is a great way to support women.
However, I don’t feel I’ve ever sweated like a pig. And for people to think it’s okay to highlight themselves in a negative light is not at all helpful towards the cause this campaign is trying to support.
‘Feeling like a fox’ I just find creepy and outdated. I mean, what’s wrong with ‘sweating and still hot’? It’s far too easy to say things without thinking about what the words mean and where they originate from– in this case, a time where chauvinistic opinion was the only opinion.
Why not just celebrate women in sport and women moving without the wit based in a masculine perspective? Just work with obtainable and inspirational images that speak for themselves. Sport England are touching along the right lines with this, but fall a little short on execution.
I move, sweat, and train for my sport without the need to highlight that I’m a female. Without having to sexualise what I’m doing. With no apologies.
From the moment I step into the gym, everything else stops at the door. My heart beats a little faster; the excitement for what’s to come builds. My body is getting ready for what’s to come. It’s me and the infamous kilogram. Work will be done. I push and test every muscle. I feel alive, strong, and powerful. I leave better, stronger, and fitter than I was yesterday.
And at no point am I thinking about being attractive. Instead, I’m thinking about being being healthy, happy, active– and stronger.