I'd be flattering myself if I thought many of you have read my thesis ("Bulky but Still Beautiful: Representations of Healthy Femininity in the CrossFit Narrative" -- you can still flatter me), but if you have you'll know that it was my attempt at taking a critical look at the narratives surrounding healthy femininity in CrossFit. For two years, I spent my time questioning and taking a critical look at the representations of women in CrossFit media, and I wrote a thesis I'm proud of. I had a hard time finishing things off with the paper, though, because I was torn: while I certainly thought there were issues in the world of CrossFit media that perpetuate some less than stellar ideas to women, I also saw--and experienced--something refreshing in it. To reconcile this, I referred to a paper I thought did a good job of negotiating a critical take without ignoring the positive potential of the issue at hand (Krista Scott Dixon's “Big Girls Don’t Cry: Fitness, Fatness, and the Production of Feminist Knowledge”). It's been almost two years since I wrote that thesis, but I still think about it and the tension I just mentioned.
The other day, a teacher I'm working with during my placement in phys ed showed me a video which I immediately wanted to share. Rather than picking apart the finer details of the video (which features women and girls of various ages and colours and shapes and sizes playing sports or participating in activities of a wide variety, claiming their power), I just want to share it with you. I think it's worth watching. Whether or not videos like this come with their own issues (i.e. those Special K vids that empower women whilst reminding them they ought to be slimming down), there are times when we need to look at what they are celebrating and the potential they do have. Fighting back and forth and hesitating and arguing over small things keeps us stuck and distracted from the larger issues at hand, and it's about time I started to stop seeing things as so black and white when it comes to whether they're "good" or not.
So, enjoy this video, titled "When I Play," that came from espnW. As the story behind the video says, "The espnW team is beyond proud to deliver "When I Play" -- not only as a woman-produced film that captures the inspiration and strength of women athletes, but also as a rallying cry to women who know in their hearts that now, more than ever, movement is a movement."
I'd love to hear your thoughts!