THIS GIRL CAN: SEXIST OR SUCCESS?

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After a Christmas involving eating your own body weight in festive treats, it comes as no surprise that January is a time when we’re desperate to get rid of those Christmas pounds, drop that dress size and feel healthier. In other words, it’s the prime time to launch a sporting campaign.

This Girl Can aims to empower women, encourage them to take part in sport and feel good about themselves while doing it. Launched on 12th January, with the street adverts going live today, the campaign is a great example of an integrated marketing campaign. It features a TV advert, posters, catchy slogans such as ‘I jiggle, therefore I am’ and has social media at its heart.

You only have to type #thisgirlcan into Twitter to see its success. Social media is exploding with people showing their enthusiasm for the campaign and sharing their sporting ventures. Furthermore, it has amassed an impressive 26.7 thousand followers in little over a week, and the YouTube advert, which shows women of all shapes and sizes getting into their workouts, has accumulated almost 2.5 million views.

However, as with any campaign, with the positive comes the negative. Criticism is mainly focussed around how it’s sexist given that it’s only aimed at women and ‘girl’ isn’t the right word to describe women of all age groups.

Sport England created This Girl Can in response to the revelation that there are two million fewer women than men aged 14-40 participating in sport and 75% wish they were more active. If that’s the case, why should the campaign engage men if women are the target audience?

There’s also the question of adult women being classed as ‘girls’ – but is it really such an issue? Personally, endorphin-filled women working out and laughing along to Missy Elliott’s ‘Get Ur Freak On’ sends a strong enough message for me without getting picky over wording.

This Girl Can symbolises the general female population, with the use of real women as case studies in the campaign. Low body-confidence and worrying over how you look, especially whilst exercising, is something that I think has bothered most women at some point in their lives. Because, let’s face it, red-faced and sweaty in skin-tight lyrca isn’t something that really makes you feel attractive and this can affect many women’s motivation to exercise.

There was definitely a gap in the market for a campaign to directly engage and unite these body-conscious women and, judging from the overwhelming response it’s had (and the fact that I’m itching to get to the gym after writing this), This Girl Can has just filled it.