We've seen this image countless times: Slim, sculpted models who never seem to break a sweat no matter how hard they exercise. That message is totally misguided, to say the least—and luckily we aren’t the only ones who think so.
On Monday, Sport England, a non-profit organization aimed at helping people create sporting habits for life, launched “This Girl Can,” a national campaign that encourages women and girls to get active. Their first endeavor, a refreshingly honest film that clearly challenges attitudes toward women and sports. And it's making waves outside of the UK, too.
The 90-second spot—set to Missy Elliott's "Get Your Freak On"—features shots of soaked workout gear, smudged mascara, and cellulite. It showcases women of all shapes and sizes going hard at the gym and in just about every sport including running, cycling, swimming, and kickboxing. Their athleticism is celebrated with phases like, “I jiggle, therefore I am,” “sweating like a pig,” and "deal with it." The clip has been viewed on Facebook more than 4 million times.
Sport England's research revealed that 75% of women ages 14-40 wanted to be more active, so the group looked into the reasons why many women sit on the sidelines rather than jump into the active game. "Some of the issues, like time and cost, were familiar, but one of the strongest themes was a fear of judgement. Worries about being judged for being the wrong size, not fit enough and not skilled enough came up time and again," Sport England CEO Jennie Price said in a press release.
But if Sport England has anything to do with it, it won’t be an excuse for long. This newly minted movement makes it clear that although women come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are at different stages athletically, they are all still capable.
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