The commercialization of feminism has swept across clothing, lifestyle and makeup brands alike. More and more, contemporary feminism is being portrayed by models who are visibly feminists. Yet, fundamentally, feminism is an ideology — the belief that men and women are equals who deserve equal opportunities. If you are among those who feel validated and/or empowered by feminist material items, then props to you, but it’s important to remember it isn’t necessary.
That’s where This Girl Can comes in. The program, run by Sport England, aims to encourage women to increase their impact in the world of sport. Speaking to the BBC, Sport England chief Jennie Price emphasized how “most women still feel judged when they play sport or exercise,” adding, “we feel guilty for stopping and starting, for hesitating, for not looking perfect. The women and girls in this campaign remind us that’s normal and create some strong images that we hope millions of women will relate to.”
This Girl Can operates through 4-week long campaigns, aimed at reducing the gender gap in sport, but its impact stretches so much further.
The campaign combats not only the gendered nature of sports, but also the ageist and body shaming elements often felt by women taking part in exercise. The 2017 targets included both reducing the fear of judgement and widening their outreach to those in their 50’s and 60’s. It is estimated that in 2015, when the campaign was first established, helped 1.6 million women between the ages of 14 and 40 start, or restart, a form of exercise. Universities across the U.K. have held This Girl Can weeks, which included dozens of free classes and/or female-only classes, that encouraged self-identifying female students and staff to start a new sport. This increases confidence and your feeling of empowerment.
Female empowerment largely stems from self-care, and what could be more caring than loving and improving the skin you’re in?
Personally, it was through this movement that I bought my first gym membership and now take part in kickboxing and self-defence classes twice a week. For so long I was led to believe sport wasn’t “for” me and I had become more and more uncomfortable with exercising in public – campaigns like This Girl Can can have a dramatic impact on women’s lives and help women improve both their mental and physical health. Female empowerment largely stems from self-care, and what could be more caring than loving and improving the skin you’re in?
This Girl Can operates through 4-week long campaigns, aimed at reducing the gender gap in sport, but its impact stretches so much further. Campaigns like these are among those which promote feminism and female empowerment from within, giving you both new skills and a feeling of community that lasts so much longer than a T-shirt from H&M.