Female Ambition

Thurs – 2200m swim
Sat – 2300m swim
Sun – 40min horse ride, 40min run
Mon – swim – 2300m
Tues – 50min run

Like many young women, I used to be quite capable of spending a good 45minutes-1hour getting ready to go out – curling hair, straightening it, applying make up – the list is endless. As a woman, there are so many little, individually unnoticeable things that you are expected to do. Take your body – head to toe – and perfect every bit of it; the media seems to scream. Hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, cheeks… I hope you understand how long this list could get. There is an unbelievable amount of pressure for women to get every bit of themselves just perfect. Why? Men traditionally carry out so few of these unnecessary preening tasks, yet the continuence of the human race implies that heterosexual women still find them attractive. So why must women strive to mimic the dolls of TV commercials?

My answer has a lot to do with confidence; and the modern woman’s lack of it. Slightly longer eyelashes might make a woman a tiny bit more attractive, polished nails might make her seem a little more feminine, but the truth is, though, we are born with the face that god graced us with, and without plastic surgery (don’t get me started!) that isn’t going to change. Confidence should not come from a packet or a pot, it needs to come from within. It should come from achievement.

Dame Kelly Holmes recently told a guardian reporter: ‘I did a project called Girls Active for three years, trying to engage disengaged girls into sport, and I found a lack of self-esteem’, also saying ‘the cricketer Claire Taylor or Victoria Pendleton, the cyclist, should be the ones written up in magazines for girls to look up to, so girls realise that there are other ways to getting recognition than just being really skinny’. It has to be said, I’d much rather have Jessica Ennis as my role model, than Cheryl Cole. (www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2009/dec/17/kelly-holmes-hated-cross-country).

I’m not claiming that a bit of sport could be the key to changing the world for women, merely that it might give them a bit more perspective, and help them to see their bodies as powerful machines, not as sex machines. It’s time women shed the make up, and faced the road, track, pool, or whatever else, and found another use for that 45mins-1hour a day spent preening.

Published by michellearthurs

I'm an NCTJ Journalist and work at Cycling Weekly. Previous to this, I was the Editor at Total Women's Cycling. I've also dabbled in marketing and copywriting - having been Marketing Coordinator and Social Media/Content Editor at Evans Cycles. My first job was working on a local newspaper.  I've written for a variety of titles on a freelance basis, too. I got into cycling when I entered my first triathlon in 2010. I now race crits, road races, time trials, and do a lot of track training for not very much track racing.

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