Scrolling through my recently played tracks on Spotify, I noticed one thing. All the voices were female. The songs were pretty motivational with strong messages and every single one was delivered by a woman. It wasn't a conscious decision and sometimes I do love a deep, bass-y voice but I guess female voices speak to me more, I can relate to them better.
So it's no surprise that the first few twangs of Missy Elliott's Get Your Freak On make my ears prick. It's the sound of Sport England's amazing This Girl Can ad, which shows some badass women taking on a whole host of different sports and activities. Brilliant!
But what makes This Girl Can truly unique is that it shows women of different ages, cultures, sizes, ability and even disability sweating it out. It sounds over the top but the first time I saw the full 90-minute advert, my mouth widened, skin goosebumped and tears dropped. I didn't know how else to react because it's something I've never really seen on-screen before. I was almost tempted to go to the cinema just in the hope that I could see the advert on an even bigger screen!
Normally, those exerting themselves physically on TV are seven foot tall, preened to an inch of their lives with absolutely no lumps or bumps. These women, though, they look like me! In fact, the 'girls that can' look like every woman. We can all relate to at least one person in the ad and that's important because it proves that anyone can run or box or swim or play netball or spin or row or dance or climb or play squash or kick a football or cycle...
There have been a few reservations about the campaign, though, especially around the copy used. Even I have to admit my heart sank as I read some of the headlines – "Sweating like a pig, feeling like a fox", "Under these gloves is a beautiful manicure". On first look, they seem a little patronising and still focusing on what these women look like rather than what amazing things they're doing. As it's something I've been waiting to see for so long, I, and so many others already involved in sport, are precious over it. We want it to be perfect, for it to show everyone how brilliant it is to leave everything you have in a sweaty mess on the floor, to make every female get off the sofa and with us.
But This Girl Can isn't for me or anyone else that already lives an active life. It's for all of those that shy away from sport. The campaign was developed after a lot of research that revealed appearance is one very big, genuine reason why a scarily large percentage of women and girls are terrified of the gym. If they can see that, whatever their size age or ability, they'll feel great even if they're dripping with sweat and they feel like giving something a go, job done.
As any runner, cyclist or climber knows, you have to start somewhere and This Girl Can, whether you like it or not, is just the brilliant beginning to seeing more sporty women being represented in the media. And when more women see others giving it a go, they're more likely to identify with them and start to believe that they can, too.
To find out more about #ThisGirlCan visit their website, here.