Two years on and the highly commended Sport England campaign This Girl Can is back!
I am blogging to consider the changes in the two adverts. Rather than using my brain I am going to rely on my eyes and ears for this.
Firstly eyes. The bodies that are in the original 2015 advert are of varying shapes and sizes, but fit into the demographic of young to middle aged women. There is diversity around race but on the whole all of the bodies are in a particular category. Also, the advert is set in facilities and environments that are fairly everyday- gyms, hills, swimming pools. The new advert is wider ranging in its use of female bodies as there is a definite increase in age and life course- with images of ‘daughters, mothers and grand mothers’ being physically active. For example, a hefty dose of pregnancy and new mums exercising with babies. There is also a wider variety of facilities and environments as harsher winter weather and boxing gyms feature. All in all a positive step in being more ‘radical’ to what a female body is and what physical activity is.
Secondly ears. The first advert used the Missy Elliot track- Get Ur Freak On. The high energy and catchy tune added a quick tempo and intensity to the advert. I could relate to the exercise and images as it is the type of song you play in the gym or do exercise to. But, in quite an interesting turn the new advert uses a version of the Maya Angelou poem ‘Phenomenal Woman’ one that I first read in my politics undergraduate degree. Angelou is a prolific author, activist and poet most heavily associated with the American civil rights movement. The rhythmic but lower tempo narration of the poem by an older females adds another layer to the advert. The message resonates more as a call to be phenomenal rather than get ur freak on…
Honestly, I am torn. On the one hand I enjoy the adverts and that the second one has crafted a more complex narrative of a female being physically active. But on the other hand I am coming to terms with whether women and sport can utilise a poem written by a civil rights activist?
I guess when you take into account another famous quote by Maya Angelou:
…my mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style…
Then hec, This Girl Can, covers most bases here. I need to wrestle more with how the impact or next step for a campaign like this can be measured or thought through. That is where my brain comes in!