#ThisGirlCan – Encouraging Women to Exercise?

Sport England created the below ad which premiered on British TV on Monday to encourage more women to exercise.

I love that there are real women in this video, that there are women of all ages and body shapes, that they’re not all white and middle class.


But they’re WOMEN. Ladies. Females. Not GIRLS. It’s condescending to refer to them as girls.

And the slogans. Oh god, the slogans. ‘Sweating like a pig, feeling like a fox.’ Overweight women aren’t pigs, and besides, the saying is actually ‘sweat like a pig, to look like a fox’.

While they are shown to be sweating, they’re wearing makeup. Why, why, why would you wear a full face of makeup when exercising? In what universe does that mascara not smudge and run down your cheeks? How is it practical for a boxer to be wearing long fake nails (0:08)?

I also have an issue with the general lack of affordable facilities in the UK. If I feel like going for a swim, I have to travel many, many miles if I don’t want to pay extortionate monthly gym fees, but then access is limited because the pool is closed to the public during school hours and at weekends when it’s only available for private hire.

How can you encourage people to exercise if there are no appropriate facilities near them? If access requires an expensive gym membership? If you have a car and spare cash every month then Sport England’s video may succeed to motivate you to action.

Unfortunately, if you’re like me who’s no fan of running or those fitness DVDs, with a bicycle in need of repair, lacking money and a car – then your options are limited. This campaign has failed you before its even begun.

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