JESSICA Ennis is fat. Rebecca Adlington has decided to leave Twitter from now until the Olympics because of the abuse she gets about how she looks. Forty-three per cent of girls agree that there aren’t many sporting role models for girls.
Am I overreaching or is it just possible that there is a connection here?
The only positive I can find in the Ennis (non)story – apart from the fact that the heptathlete from Sheffield has just smashed Denise Lewis’s 16-year-old British record and become only one of seven women to score more than 6,900 points in her event – is that no one wants to admit it was them who called her fat.
Good. I would advise serious caution to the person (allegedly someone within UK Athletics) if they are mulling over claiming ownership of their – what to call it – observation, because not only is it patently absurd that an athlete capable of feats that most of us will only ever dream about could accurately be described as fat, Jessica Ennis weighs eight stone 13lbs.
It’s been grimly predictable watching the beach volleyball teams and women swimmers being subjected to captions of the “beach babes” and “bathing beauties” variety, but when it comes to two of the UK’s top athletes – and medal hopefuls – being subjected to slurs about their bodies you realise that when it comes to body image we have gone seriously wrong.
A Parliamentary report on the subject published last week highlights that girls as young as five worry about the way that they look. Research by Women in Sport shows that half of girls and a third of boys have been on a diet to lose weight and more than half of bullying experienced by young people is linked to appearance. And it’s not as though the pressure disappears once you’re an adult. In a recent survey, 38 per cent of men say they’d give up a year of their life for the perfect body.
So surely sport should be a way to tackle our unhealthy ideas about body image. A way to address the fact that by the age of 14 only 12 per cent of girls are as physically active as they should be. But while elite sportswomen are subjected to outrageous scrutiny and criticism, and while 48 per cent of girls think that sweating is “not feminine”, we’re nowhere near winning this argument.
• I BIT my tongue yesterday. It was one of those eye-watering, can’t speak for a while chomps that doesn’t even have the good grace to bleed. But I should probably be glad because it means another of the 124 small injuries I, along with every other average UK citizen, will suffer this year is over and done with. Paper cuts, bumps, trips, stubbed toes, cricked necks. In the past year, 40 per cent of us have stood on a plug, 25 per cent have sat down only to find there is no chair and 50 per cent have banged our head getting out a car. I’m only just realising: life is dangerous.
• SLUMPED over my desk, shoulders rounded, head on one hand, I wondered why inspiration wasn’t flowing. Ahah! What I needed was a power pose! Perhaps I could put my hands on my head and stick my elbows out? Or maybe I could rest my arm on the chair next to me? According to cognitive psychologists expansive postures like these make us more productive. Dear reader, I tried it. I can reveal that the first provoked a look of such palpable perplexity from my boss I stopped immediately and the second led to a near fall. I will never win The Apprentice.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: West