In principle, the Sports England campaign is a great idea. Increasing female participation in sports is an important initiative in the society plagued by obesity, osteoporosis, and, perhaps even more harmful than civilisation diseases, the gender gap. But to be my usual, full of spite and criticism self, I need to list the downsides.
1. The girl grew up some time ago
Using the word ‘girl’ in the campaign’s title suggests that sports are for kids only. If you happen to be an adult woman, give up. The word ‘girl’ sends a message that it’s probably too late for you to try hard, let alone to start. Unless Sports England would like to insist on calling adult women girls. Which I doubt. You wouldn’t want to infantilise those whom you want to empower, right?
2. You jiggle therefore you should lose some weight
No, I get it. After certain age (usually when we’re no longer girls) we all have those bits that wobble a bit more than we like to admit. ‘I jiggle therefore I am’ is an attempt at making women laugh at their imperfections instead of giving up sports for fear of exposing them. Normalising obesity is not the way. Focusing on sportive ability and health however, is.
3. Damn, I look hot
Good for you, chica, but when spinning you should be thinking about spinning. The society attempts to objectify you at every step. You don’t have to.
4. And where are the Hijabis?
Kudos to the campaign makers for including women of all ages and ethnicities (but not all shapes – there isn’t a single skinny chick in that video), but where are all the Muslim women? I mean, have you ever walked around an English city? There’s like, every third woman wearing a veil. Missing out on an opportunity to say that it’s cool to do sports in a hijab is a shame.
On a plus side, you can’t stay still listening to Missy Elliot. #ThisGirlCan does a good job at showing women it’s ok to be expansive and unapologetic about their physicality, but being the moaner I am, I just had to point out the bad. So there. Done.
You can hate me now, but don’t call yourself girl, woman.
PS. Maybe it’s just my general aversion to government led actions. I’m much more of a fan of grassroots initiatives such as #SeeAndDo, or Shirzanan. They may be small, but they have the real power to change lives, even if it’s just a few.