Monday 13 June 2016

#EatSweatPlay BLOG TOUR DE FRANCE | Feminism, My Body, and My Relationship With Sport

Hello, readers! I hope you all had a lovely (rainy) weekend and are raring and ready to spring into a new week! 

Today I am extremely excited to be taking part in a 'Blog Tour De France' of the amazing Eat Sweat Play by Anna Kessel. As soon as I was pitched this book by Macmillan I knew it was something I had to read and be involved in- much to the surprise (or rather, horror) of my family and friends. I don't keep it a secret that sport and I are not the greatest of buddies and that has always been the case, right from when I was a young girl up until now - I am probably the least active person on the planet. And not only do I not like to do sport, I don't watch it, read about it, let it seep into my life at all. Sport and myself are probably about as good bosom buddies as fire and water.

And this is why I am participating in this blog tour. This is why I am reading this book. And this is why I am encouraging each and every one of you to do exactly the same.

I was kindly sent Eat Sweat Play by Pan Macmillan in exchange for an honest review :)

Interested to find out more? Read the blurb to find out...

What does it mean to be a sporty woman in the 21st century? From the launch of Net-A-Sporter, serving up sports clothing for fashionistas, to the introduction of #plankie as the new Instagram selfie for yoga bunnies; exercise for women has finally gone mainstream.

But if sweating has never been so hot for female celebrities, then why are there still so many obstacles for girls and women when it comes to sport? Why do girls still hate school sports lessons? Why is sport consistently defined as male territory, with TV cameras replicating the male gaze as they search out the most beautiful women in the crowd? Will women ever flock to watch football, rugby and boxing in their millions? Or turn up to the park with friends for a Sunday morning kickabout? How long do we have to wait to see the first multi-millionaire female footballer or basketball player?

Eat Sweat Play is an engaging and inspirational work by sports writer Anna Kessel.

As you will probably know by now, I am a feminist, and am interested in anything to do with feminism and the discussion of gender equality. However, my lack of interest in sport has meant that the inclusion of women in sport is something I do not know very much about. Don't get me wrong, I have read a bit about the lack of importance attributed to women's football and the comments made by tennis superstar Djokovic, however apart from that I am largely clueless about women in sport and what this should mean to me as a feminist. However, Eat Sweat Play is a huge learning curve for all women, young and old, sporty or not sporty, in changing your perception on just about everything to do with sport, and in particular, women's inclusion in sport.

Women feeling like they are able to partake in sports is important for so many reasons, and something that is definitely not talked about as much as it should. Serena Williams is a star tennis player, yet is constantly tormented in the media for the way she looks. Only 0.4% of all commercial investment is into women’s sport and only 7% of all sports coverage is of women’s sport. More women died in the Tsunami disaster than men, simply because they hadn't been taught to swim.

But sometimes the problems concerning women and sport and much more subtle than this. Sometimes the boundaries keeping women away from sport are for more complicated reasons, that aren't to do with rules or regulations or the media, but the ingrained ideas that women have been indoctrinated with since their birth.

I am absolutely certain that if I hadn't been dictated by the media all day, every day, what I should look like, then my relationship with sport would be a whole lot healthier. I adore swimming (I have done since I was little), yet when I hit puberty and the pressure of unreasonable expectations for female bodies started to affect me, I could imagine nothing worse than wearing a swimming costume in front of other people. I gave up dancing at the age of 14 because I hated wearing a leotard in front of the other girls in the class. Gradually, as I grew older, sport slowly but surely disappeared from my life.

And this is not just my problem.

This affects girls and women of all ages, all across the world.

Opportunities for women concerning sport is lacking. But so is the encouragement for them to do so.

And this is something that Anna Kessel makes so abundantly and strikingly clear in Eat Sweat Play.

I have not participated in sporting activity in years. But what Kessel makes clear is that we should not accept defeat; us women need to integrate ourselves into sport and not take no for an answer. This may involve arguing for more representation of women sport in the media, better sports education and encouragement for girls in schools, and for a fairer and more reasonable presentation of female bodies on TV, magazines and billboard.

I don't have a sports journey yet. But, I have no doubt that with Eat Sweat Play, I soon will have.

Buy Eat Sweat Play here:

Check out Anna Kessel here:

Make sure you guys check out the other posts on this Blog Tour de France!

Until next time :)

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