Better late than never – I have to say that the latest #thisgirlcan campaign struck a chord with me and many others because, to put it simply, it’s encouraging women to become more active and not give a monkey in the process.
As someone who has spent the last 10 years not giving a monkey what anyone thinks of them running, cycling or generally looking hot and sweaty around London, I find the stats behind the campaign and research undertaken by Sport England pretty compelling.
Two million fewer women participate in sports than men and yet 75% want to be more active.
So why don’t they find an activity they love and “Just Do It”? You may ask.
In short, it’s down to the dreaded “F” word. FEAR. Fear of being judged by others, fear of not being good enough and fear of not looking like one of those fitness model that appear on the front of a multitude of sporty publications.
Or as Sport England chief executive Jennie Price put it in a piece published by the BBC: “Worries about being judged for being the wrong size, not fit enough and not skilled enough came up time and again.”
The don’t-give-a-monkey’s crowd could sit there and spout out that our fellow women should not worry, do what they want to do, you’re a long time dead after all, but as that no make-up selfie campaign that lost the true meaning in 2014 showed, women are anxious about how they and their physical appearance is perceived by others.
Instead, all I can say is give it a go.And as a starter for 10, head to your local gym’s women’s changing room. Here you’ll see women of all ages and all shapes and sizes, some in the nude, some half-dressed, some fully dressed. My point is if you are among women who are not body builders or going to make it into the America’s Next Top Model then It may make a slight difference to your body confidence.
For the women in the nuddy getting ready for work after a hard session or relaxing few laps up and down the pool are just like you only with a passion for sport / activity / anything that gets them moving outside, in public and often with a group of mates. They’re not experts and probably will never win a gold medal but they enjoy it, which is the main thing, and love that surge of sweaty adrenaline throughout the process.
Before you ask, I do not have any evidence or research into this theory but I personally think the changing room experience is refreshing. (Just don’t stare at the naked bods as that is a bit weird.)
And while I’m not naive enough to say that this will take away the fear of running, swimming or whatever you want to do completely, it may help.
Whether you’re a team player or prefer going solo, remember #thisgirlcan and so can you. Here’s the video: