The tribal beat of the Missy Elliot track – ‘Get Your Freak On’ is the backdrop for what is possibly the most fitness motivating advert I have ever seen in my life!
I literally felt a wave of positive energy welling up in my belly and almost tipping over as I subdued the increasingly overwhelming desire to declare boldly to anyone who was listening (my half asleep husband and 4 year old son) “This Girl CAN!” And for that moment, I really did believe that I could. Seeing these imperfectly perfect women going at it in various sporting and fitness activities whilst yelping, squirming, sweating, laughing and jiggling honestly made me want to throw on my jogging suit and pound the streets for the next hour. To say I love this is advert is an understatement.
But the advert is just a visual promotional tool for a wider campaign spearheaded by Sports England who found that 2 million less women are engaging in physical activity than our male counterparts even though 75% of us between the ages of 14 – 40 say that we wish we could do more!
In an article about the “This Girl Can” campaign, The Telegraph said that “After a lot of research with focus groups and having talked to many ordinary women on the street, Sport England identified that it is fear of judgment that prevents many women from doing exercise.” Sport England CEO Jennie Price told The Telegraph at the launch of the campaign that “Any woman will tell you about the internal dialogue that goes on in her head, particularly when she thinks about sport, exercise and getting fit”, said at the launch of This Girl Can.
“It’s stuff like ‘I’m too fat to do this’ or ‘I’m not fit enough to go to that class’, or ‘If I get on that treadmill and press that button and fall off, I’m going to look really stupid and everybody is going to stare at me, and I’m certainly not going to wear those clothes to do it’.”
“We are trying to say it’s perfectly normal to feel like that, don’t beat yourself up about it.”
The London agency, FCB Inferno were the people behind the creation of the campaign. They said that they “were tasked with encouraging more girls and women in England to participate in exercise regularly by changing attitudes and behaviour across the country, across age groups.” As a member of the direct target audience for this campaign, I can say that in my opinion, FCB Inferno nailed the brief.
Believe it or not, I, like many of you am a woman who does enjoy fitness and who wishes she was more active. I cannot deny that I too have those internal wranglings of whether it is best to loose a few more pounds before jumping out there and joining the ‘Beach Body’ class at the local gym. It is probably for this reason that the ‘realness’ of this advert resonates with me.
The fact that the 90 second advert is void of the usual uber slim model who has just finished a 3 mile jog without a drop of sweat on her immaculate brow and looking like she could carry on for a further 10 miles helps with its relatability. Rather, it features women of varying backgrounds, sizes and ages, and interjects comical yet strangely rousing slogans like: “sweating like a pig, feeling like a fox”, “I jiggle therefore I am” and “I kick balls, deal with it”.
Shout it Loud and Proud – This Girl Can!
Always one for getting involved, I really want to grab hold off this campaign. So here is what I am going to do. I will ditch my office desk and slam down my laptop for a 45 minutes midday exercise session 3 days a week for the next 4 weeks. The hope is that I will be so invigorated that it becomes a lifestyle habit! I will share pictures and 10-second videos on the Vinejuice Facebook and Twitter pages with the slogan “This Girl Can!” Join me by doing the same and sharing them with the hashtag #thisgirlcan here:
Does It Do It For You?
Question is, has this advert had the same effect on you as it has had on me? There are some people out there who say that they find the video patronising and that it objectivises women. www.itvnews.com reports that Simone Fullagar, a professor of sport and physical cultural studies at the University of Bath – said the advert is “still all about women’s flesh” and fails to focus on the positives of exercise “outside the cult of body worship”.
Do you agree or is there another reason why you have not connected with the advert in the way the creators had intended you to?
Either way, the overall message of the importance of women relinquishing their body hang ups and just getting out there to improve their fitness and health can only be a good thing I think. And I for one have received the message loud and clear….”This Girl Can and She Absolutely Will!”
Author: Adaeze Chiwoko, Vinejuice Team