This Girl Can – Can Sport Really Be For Every Girl?

By Alice Jenkins, Year 10 Journalist Leader

Exercise is good for you — that is the message we are told again and again.

Then why is it that so many, me included, dreaded PE lessons with such passion? In theory, they should be perfect. 70 minutes pre-built into your day, where, rather than sitting in a chair, you are running around, supposedly having fun. But I remember a time when I used to hate PE so much, that I would spend the whole week dreading Tuesday and Thursday, despite the fact that they also contained some of my favourite subjects. I saw sports lessons as an opportunity to showcase my failings rather than to improve and enjoy myself.

My turning point came in Year 10, when you can choose your own sports. I chose water polo, which, despite having disliked the year before, I really enjoyed. I got out of the pool every Thursday feeling like I had achieved something.

Yes, I was the worst in my class.

Yes, it was very, very hard (I am terrible at front crawl).

But I felt like I had worked hard, and I came home feeling fulfilled and hungry for dinner. This helped me to begin to realise that you don’t need to be conventionally ‘sporty’ to enjoy sports: that is why the ‘ThisGirlCan’ video really resonated with me.

Others, however, were less enthusiastic. One Twitter user tweeted that ‘Girls are classy, please don’t portray them like this,’ while a friend that I sent the video to said that ‘the director did not portray sports in a way that wanted me to get up and go for a run.’ Online, the video received lots of negative comments, particularly in relation to one scene where a tampon string is visible. However, as opposed to Twitter and YouTube, the response on Facebook was overwhelmingly positive.

The message that the #ThisGirlCan campaign is trying to convey is one that so many women have been waiting to hear. You don’t have to look good in sports kit, or have all the right equipment. You just have to find a sport that you enjoy; exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. Exercise is for EVERYONE. 

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