As you have been introduced yesterday, we are doing a week about body positivity this week, inspired by buzzfeed. For me I was thinking about it a lot and what I could write about it that would fit within the area of politics and society and I then stumbled across sports.
For me sports have always played a big role in my life when I was really little I did Gymnastics, then I moved on to swimming and basketball and then at 10/11 I got stuck with Badminton and have played since then on a relatively high level in competitions. For me that has always been a confidence booster and being shy in school and feeling like you were being judged for your body in school made me a lot of times uncomfortable. However, when I went to my badminton club, that all never seemed to matter and it just counted how hard I worked and how well I played. It was an incredible confidence boost knowing there was something I could do reasonably well.
You may be asking yourself why I am telling you this, but I feel like often people are intimidated to do sports because of their bodies especially when they get past puberty. I had so many friends who stopped doing a sport they loved for reasons, often body image related.
For example, I had friends who were good at swimming and did it up to a high level very competitively, but they stopped because they were getting broad shoulders and muscly arms and as girls they didn’t like that because they had the images in their heads of girls having to be small and not a lot of muscles. Others stopped playing hockey, because their thighs were getting big. But it is not just with girls. I met boys who stopped sports because they weren’t “manly” enough and didn’t encourage them to have more muscles, so they would go to gyms instead giving up things they love. For me that is such a weird concept. I think muscles on girls are a good thing. I sure as hell love when you can see defined muscles, cause they kind of show that you have put in work and effort. Also, having to give up something you love just to fit into something that society tells you you should look like, just doesn’t seem right to me. Also not all guys have to be body builders or have a 6-pack. That is the same as having the ideal of 90-60-90 for girls, all people are different and especially all bodies look different and gain muscles differently. There is no point in trying to be anyone else and to try to be something that your body due to genetics cannot be.
Another thing about sports is for me the idea that to do sport you have to already be sporty. Like how? How am I supposed to get sporty/ be fit if I cannot do sports? I have had friends and I have had the feeling myself that because of my body I cannot do a certain sport (bathing suits terrify me). It is such a shame, because sports are something you are supposed to enjoy and being told that you shouldn’t do it because ‘there is something wobbly’ or ‘it’s not nice to look at’ should never be said to anyone. If you want to do sports: GOOD FOR YOU! YOU DO WHAT YOU WANT! What I also struggle with is fitness classes. There are a few that I would be interested in, but I am always afraid that I will look stupid or that I am not fit enough to take part. If you think about it, it is such a shame because you are missing out on so many great opportunities, just because you don’t feel confident enough in your body.
When I went to University and I saw that they offered so many different classes and Sports I thought about which other sports I could join aside from Badminton, but tbh I never had the confidents to join anything else because I am afraid that I am not good enough and I will make a fool our of myself.
Another reason people don’t feel good about themselves while doing sports is because they are unhappy how they look while doing it. A friend of mine doesn’t like doing Team sports because people can see her run and she thinks she looks when she does it. I know people who don’t like doing sports or going to the gym because they don’t feel confident enough to wear tight leggins or sleeveless shirts, shorts or don’t like sweating because it makes them look horrible.
If you do sports they are good for confidence Boosters and pushing yourself to reach small Targets can make you feel so much better about yourself. I have friends who have trained for a half marathon for half a year and when they then ran it and managed it, they were so happy with themselves. Sometimes even just getting to do regular exercises is a goal that can make you feel so much better about yourself or maybe just going for a run (I absolutely hate running, but when I push myself to do it I feel so much better about myself.)
Basically what I am trying to say is that stupid reasons and Body issues should not keep you from doing sports. Society should not have an impact on telling you what you can or cannot do in any matter of your life, but certainly not when it comes to sport. Sport should be something that you enjoy, not because you love sports in General necessarily, but because adrenaline is such an easy way to make yourself feel good about yourself and your body. Exercise should not be a pain that you have to do in order to be fit and being able to try whatever you fancy even if ‘you don’t have the body type’ should be possible no matter what. So whatever your size, shape or taste in sport: YOU ARE ABLE TO DO AND TRY WHATEVER YOU WANT. Screw what people think, screw what is supposed to be the norm, be yourself, gain your confidence through whatever you fancy! It is also such a good way to meet people (other confidence booster for me) and helps you with Things like social skills, dicipline and learning about yourself, all things that will have a General Impact on how you think about yourself!
Lots of Love,