The Body Battleground

Another day, another stupid effing “challenge” on social media where people show how skinny they are by holding up a piece of A4 paper in front of their waists. If your waist disappears behind the piece of paper when you hold it portrait in front of your torso, congratulations, you’ve passed the challenge.


Sometimes I really, truly despair.

A4 Waist


This is yet another fad (after the “Belly Button Challenge” and “Clavicle Challenge”) to emerge out of China, and it’s come at a time where yet again there seems to be a lot of unreasonable focus on women and their bodies and reputations (because the focus is more on women as the above photo shows – good luck finding the guy whose self worth is valued by how he looks in a crop top).

Take for example the recent furore around Star Wars actress Daisy Ridley, when the following image was posted to Instagram:

Daisy Ridley

When I first heard about this I was genuinely confused by the whole thing. I have never viewed Daisy as having an unrealistic body type. Since when did being strong and fit become something people viewed as a bad example? Understandably Daisy felt somewhat attacked about the whole thing and felt she had to defend herself online. A little further digging on the matter showed that the image had been lifted from a satirical cartoon strip and been taken completely out of context. But satire exists to mock and ridicule wider issues in society – and how often has the “real women have curves” argument been thrown across the body battleground? All women are real, regardless of shape and size. It really is very, VERY simple.

Lastly, on a slightly different topic, we’ve had Maria Sharapova come out and admit that she tested positive for Meldonium, a drug that was added to the banned list on the 1st January this year. Whether she cheated by knowingly taking a banned substance or whether she showed negligence by taking it without knowing it had been banned, her reputation and career are currently in a bad way. The thing that has struck me about her case though, is Nike’s attitude to it. Don’t get me wrong – if one of your athletes has taken a banned, performance enhancing substance, by all means you should walk away from them.

So how does that explain their relationship with Justin Gatlin? What gives Nike? Gatlin has been completely unrepentant about his past transgressions, so why one rule for the male athlete and another for the female?

This has been a bit of a brain dump of a post so far. I think I’ve just felt so frustrated by the media in the last few weeks (which is nothing new really) and the way there is ALWAYS so much focus on how women look. When Chris Hemsworth beefs up for the Thor films, do you ever hear even a sniff of “what a terrible example! I can’t live up to that!”? Or does everyone gape in awe at his commitment to lifting weights and chugging protein shakes?


I don’t know. Maybe I’m part of the problem by even talking about these things in the first place. Or maybe I’m just too idealistic by wanting women to be valued by their achievements rather than their looks. But is it really too much to ask for the Women’s Varsity Rugby Match to be shown on BBC2 like the men’s was rather than online only (especially as Cambridge’s thrashing of Oxford led to a incredibly exciting match)? Or to focus more on women like Gee Purdy, Bella Collins, Lauren Morton and Olivia Bolesworth who became the youngest and fastest all female crew of four to row across the Atlantic Ocean? Or Paralympian Jordanne Whiley, who has 7 grand slam tennis victories under her belt? These are the things we should be sharing on social media, not the utter, UTTER bollocks that makes young girls think that the size of their waist is all that matters, or that men will always be treated differently in the same scenario. That has to change.

Although when a search for “smart female sportswomen” comes up with this as the top three hits – I have to wonder if it’s too big a battle:

Smart Female Sportswomen

Eff you internet. I may only be a tiny blogger who can only really rely on my mum reading every single post I write (love you!) but I’m still going to play my part by always celebrating inspirational sportswomen whose minds and bodies are leading them to achieve greatness.


Safety is Sexy!

Ok. Enough is enough. People of Cambridge (and everywhere else for that matter), can we please start taking responsibility for our own safety?


Jimmy Fallon is wise.

I commute to work by bike every day, and I have lost count of the number of people I see doing stupid things on foot, on bikes and in cars. Can we please use a bit of common sense and not risk our lives and the lives of others simply because we want to get somewhere 5 seconds earlier or because we just HAVE to send that text? Here’s are the WORST things that I see people doing. Prepare your eye rolls folks.


Eye Roll 1

Here’s a question. If someone is running or cycling in a badly lit area, with no lights or hi-vis, what do you think the chances are of someone being able to see them? It can be incredibly difficult to spot someone in this situation, and there have been numerous times when I’ve suddenly seen someone appear out of the gloom and had to slam my brakes on to avoid hitting them or simply as a reflex because they’ve made me jump out of my skin. As a cyclist you’re legally required to have white front and red rear lights on between sunset and sunrise, and with street lighting being reduced in some areas, it’s even more essential these days. If you’re out walking, maybe consider just having a reflective panel on your coat or bag. And runners, it’s just common sense for crying out loud. At night, just put something obnoxiously bright on ok? It doesn’t have to cost the earth either. Take a bit of responsibility for your own safety and stop expecting everyone else to look out for you.


Eye Roll 4

One of my biggest pet peeves is cyclists (yes, I’m singling out here but I’m one of you) who just don’t look out for other cyclists. If you’re coming up to a roundabout and a cyclist is already on it, don’t pull on to the roundabout anyway. The other cyclist will have to swerve to avoid you, and more often than not that means swerving into the path of a vehicle behind them. Same goes for coming out of junctions. And if you’re planning to overtake something, just give a quick glance over your shoulder ok? Otherwise if another cyclist is already overtaking YOU, you’re making them swerve into the path of oncoming traffic, which is what happened to me last week.


Eye Roll 5

I get it – on long runs or bike rides it’s nice to have a bit of music to keep you company. But in a city with notoriously bad rush hour traffic and old narrow roads without a huge amount of room for the daily cars vs bikes fandango, it seems a bit nuts to me. Plus if you’re plugged in and a cyclist rings their bell, but you don’t hear them because you’ve got Meatloaf or some other guilty pleasure blaring in your lugholes, don’t then swear at the cyclist when they pass you and make you jump out of your skin. If you really, REALLY need your music, maybe try a pair of bone conducting headphones? Or better yet -run with a friend. Chat and motivation in one.


Eye Roll 3

Whether you’re in a car or on a bike this is SO uncool. In the case of bike vs bike it’s the same as the Non Looky Loos. Case in point is the junction where Station Road meets Hills Road. I’ve lost count of the number of times a bike coming down Hills Road towards town has run a red light as I’ve been turning right out of station road. The worst time was when I had to swerve to avoid someone coming at speed, and narrowly missed being hit by the ruddy great bus behind me. When it comes to pedestrians, kids are taught to cross the road when the green man is showing. They should be able to run across a road when it’s their right of way without worrying about a bike (or car!) smashing into them. A bike going at 15mph can do a lot of damage to little bones. And big ones for that matter. Don’t be a jerk. You’ll only arrive 30 seconds later at most. Enjoy the pause.


Eye Roll 2

In a car it means flicking a finger. On a bike it means lifting an arm. For crying out loud just let everyone know what you’re doing and SIGNAL. Despite what you may think psychics and mind readers don’t exist. Be courteous to your fellow road users and communicate.


Eye Roll 6

You get the queen of eye rollers. Whether you’re a pedestrian, cyclist or driver, JUST STOP IT. Be present.

Although this post has been pretty light-hearted, the message is serious. We’re all trying to get somewhere, and no one is more important that anyone else (no matter what your mum tells you). We just need to make it as safe as possible by looking out for each other and taking responsibility for our own safety.

Stay Classy