#ThisGirlCan but I’m not a girl and I struggle sometimes #runner

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I really happy to see that ‘those girls can’ no matter their body shape, size, age, hair colour or lifestyle. I’m pleased that we are encouraging women to take part in sport and get active, stay fit and live longer. I’m extremely happy that there is a small pocket of the universe that is an antidote to negative female body imaging stereotypes and I’m impressed that lots of people are on board with it. Perhaps the thing that it’s done best is open up the conversation about female activity and self worth.

They describe it as, ‘This Girl Can celebrates the women who are doing their thing no matter how they do it, how they look or even how sweaty they get. They’re here to inspire us to wiggle, jiggle, move and prove that judgement is a barrier that can be overcome.’

However, I’m a man and an active man and I suffer with poor body image and low self esteem especially when confronted with my sporting peers. Does this seem ridiculous to you? I mean I’ve run over a dozen ultra marathons, countless other races, I was the regular fastest finisher at my Sweatshop 5km and I’ve even taken well to outdoor swimming. But I fear the judgement of my peers, who lets be honest, don’t care what I look like or where I finish, but can I defeat that negativity and self destructiveness? I’m struggling to do so.

As is the problem with a poor body image and low self esteem, as much as I can rationalise it to myself here I can’t turn that into something I can use. So I’m always looking for ways to keep my weight under control, avoid form fitting clothing, avoid full body photography, the list goes on. It might surprise readers to learn that I often hear myself say ‘I’m too fat to run’

It might be sexist to suggest that men don’t talk about this but I believe that to be relatively true-which is probably why the ‘this girl can’ campaign wasn’t a little more inclusive to those of us ‘who can’ wiggle, jiggle and move but are still constantly fighting an uphill battle despite being men.

So keep up the good work ‘This Girl Can’ but remember there’s a whole other gender that might also benefit from your support. Just saying.

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