Inspiring girls to be more active
Sport Waikato has produced a new This is ME® Video that showcases real women and girls getting active.
The video is being released today in an effort to better represent New Zealand women and girls getting active and to decrease the anxiety females experience when it comes to being judged while participating.
For many New Zealand women, concerns around ability and body image prevent them from getting active, so there exists a divide between what women and girls would like to be doing, and their actual behaviour. And it’s no surprise that New Zealand women and girls are feeling self-conscious about getting active, particularly given the dominance of imagery of female fitness models and elite athletes with toned physiques in the media.
“While a lack of time, financial resources, injury and illness as well as a lack of knowledge about how to connect are among some of the practical challenges females face with respect to being active, one of the most significant reasons women and girls are not as active as they would like to be or as they could be, is a fear of being judged,” says Sport Waikato CEO Matthew Cooper.
National research suggests that New Zealand women and girls participate in sport and physical activity less than their male counterparts, and that despite wanting to participate more, there are a number of barriers and challenges that seem to be holding them back.
The first of its kind in New Zealand, the This is ME® video aims to generate a positive conversation about and among Kiwi women and girls participating in physical activity at all levels, and is an addition to the current emphasis on increasing opportunities for women and girls to feel both connected to and valued in sport, physical activity and recreation.
The video’s backing track, Gin Wigmore’s recent release Girl Gang, not only provides a catchy beat that audiences will remember, but it speaks to these ideas on many levels.
“As well as encouraging females to band together to challenge the status quo, the song’s colloquial and tongue in cheek use of the term ‘girl’ resonates with a New Zealand audience, while also pointing to the ways this term has been used to marginalise females as weak, inferior and less capable,” says Sport Waikato general manager Michelle Hollands.
Rather than showcasing high-profile New Zealand sportswomen, gym junkies or marathon runners, the This is ME® video instead highlights everyday women and girls participating in activities like Waka Ama, hip hop dancing, social netball, jogging, home-based workouts and backyard games.
It highlights what women and girls really look like when they get moving and takes the emphasis off the usual discourses of competition, exercise and weight loss. Instead, these sentiments are replaced with calls for women and girls to be themselves, have fun and get moving together with confidence.
“The video is far removed from the imagery of females participating in sport or getting active that we usually see in the media. There are no elite athletes, no women or girls with what you might consider visibly peak athletic physiques, and certainly no abs of steel. Instead, the video celebrates real women and girls doing real physical activity, and importantly the varied and unique ways they choose to engage,” says Hollands.
The This is ME video will be officially launched on Facebook www.facebook.com/ ThisisMENZ/ and on the website www.thisisme.org.nz from 3.30pm today.