“I jiggle, therefore I am.”
This is just one of the body-positive messages in Sport England’s new “This Girl Can” campaign, which offers a much-needed counter narrative to the images of unattainable body types that saturate the media. The ad, which debuted on January 12, aims to show that healthy and active bodies aren’t necessarily “perfect” — and that’s OK.
“The campaign is the first of its kind to feature women who sweat and jiggle as they exercise. It seeks to tell the real story of women who exercise and play sport by using images that are the complete opposite of the idealised and stylised images of women we’re used to watching,” the organization said in a press release.
Healthy and active is beautiful. Sport England’s research indicates that 75% of women wished they were more active, but let fear of judgment of their appearance or ability derail their athletic ambitions. These findings were the driving force behind the campaign; its creators want to empower women to be more active, regardless of how they look when they exercise.
“Before we began this campaign, we looked very carefully at what women were saying about why they felt sport and exercise was not for them,” Sport England CEO Jennie Price said in the press release. “Some of the issues, like time and cost, were familiar, but one of the strongest themes was a fear of judgement. Worries about being judged for being the wrong size, not fit enough and not skilled enough came up time and again.”
In response, the ad showcases women of all shapes and sizes engaged in various levels of athletic activity, from running and swimming to team sports, seemingly without concern for their appearance. Motivational phrases including “feeling like a fox,” “damn right I look hot” and “I kick balls, deal with it” are interspersed throughout.
Emphasizing health over looks is empowering. These realistic depictions — featuring cellulite, sweat and jiggly thighs — send a positive message: that striving for strength and health matters much more than striving to look perfect.
But this isn’t just about body positivity. The myriad benefits of physical exercise are well touted. According to the Mayo Clinic, these include weight control, increased energy, disease prevention, improved mood, and better sex. At the end of the day, regular physical activity can improve the quality of your life and even prolong it. Such an act of self-preservation should never be undermined by a fear of judgment.
So jiggle on, ladies — your lives, health and confidence are the ultimate indicators of beauty.