Monday, 30 August 2010

Me and PE

Between the ages of 17 and 22 I didn't even own a pair of trainers. When I visited a friend and she had Kung Fu class, she invited me to join in, but I put a mental block on it and refused to see myself doing it. Aged about 22, I don't remember why but I bought a pair of trainers and some jogging bottoms and joined the gym at the local leisure centre. That lasted about three years, on and off, maybe once every two months on average over the whole period. Then I broke my finger and didn't get back into it once I recovered. I still have that same pair of trainers and they look pretty new. Since I stopped going to the gym I reckon I've worn them about ten times (for football or squash). I went jogging on Hove seafront once, for about 300 metres.

I'm not inactive - I've played tenpin bowling weekly since I was 11, with only about four years off in that time. I also went out dancing a lot during uni. And I never once got a car or bus to school, ever.

But that's not very active for someone in a Sports Science department. Most other people here either are or were competitive in the Athletics Union, trained to be a PE teacher, or they jog, swim, play football, etc. regularly. Not me, despite studying young people's constructions of status in physical activity. I think I keep guiding my research towards answering a few of my own questions about my own relationship with activity - why was/is it irrelevant to me?

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Thinking about "new femininities"

Supervisor and I are going to a conference next week to present work from the Geographies of the Body project for the first time. Something that has gone in the paper is a mention of "new femininities" which at first I didn't understand but I'm getting that it means sexy but girly, go getting but male-centred, heterosexed and still in high heels. The Cosmopolitan womanhood I suppose. Recently there was a post at The F Word responding to a piece in a rag by Agent Provocateur about female sexuality where basically they are still prescribing to women a male centred notion of sexual "freedom" but packaging it up as pro-woman. Now women are prudish if they don't wear AP's uncomfy bits of lace. Forgetting that feminism brought the ability for women to say yes to sex. And it reminded me of the new femininities that suggest empowerment but really offer male pleasure still.

New femininities are being discussed in our paper with regard to movie Bend It Like Beckham. I'm unsure whether I find BILB as bad as some people think; it is stereotypical but might offer some girls role models who experience similar tensions between family and football. And the Sikh Indian stereotypes are not the only ones; it is not only the Indian girl who is not considered normal. So I guess the film does attempt to offer a new femininity that is fixed and ideal - western, attractive, not too sexy, still in love with the guy, sporty but in a way that doesn't make your body look "wrong". I've ordered another couple of DVDs of women football films so I'll see what they turn out like.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Kelly Brook gives weak not-really-support to airbrushing warning labels

My feminist-in-training boyfriend just pointed out this disappointing video report from Newsbeat, interviewing Kelly Brook on her new advert for Reebok - a full body naked (except for trainers) billboard poster. The Newsbeat reporter asks Brook does she think the poster was airbrushed ("probably") and does she support warnings labels to show where a photo has been airbrushed ("maybe, if they were small").

A missed opportunity for Newsbeat to push for the warning labels and critique airbrushing and naked billboard posters. Oh, my mistake, that wouldn't be impartial enough for the BBC would it?! Yet they'll give a 2 minute platform for Brook to talk about herself, support photoshopping, and give some free advertising to Reebok