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Colette Fitzpatrick: It's time we stopped making excuses and started wiggling it

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Exercise: An image from the This Girl Can campaign

Exercise: An image from the This Girl Can campaign

Helen Mirren.

Helen Mirren.

Pope Francis.

Pope Francis.

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Exercise: An image from the This Girl Can campaign

The satirical website Waterford Whispers News was spot on with its recent headline: 'Juice Diet Sparks Verbal Diarrhoea Epidemic'.

It reported that a new juice diet craze sweeping the nation "may be the cause of several unwanted side-effects, most notably a severe dose of verbal diarrhoea with people 'deluding' themselves into eating healthy for the rest of their lives."

"Families, friends and co-workers," it continued, "are incapable of doing anything other than talking s**t."

What the website was doing, of course, was sending up the utter nonsense that most of us fall foul of at this time of year.

Juicing, gimmicky diets, starvation. Then mass carbicide. Nil-by-mouth, quick-fix detox, then binge - and of course, the mass communal enrolment in gyms.

But 80pc of January joiners are back on the couch by mid-Feb apparently.

Women are the worst for excuses, it seems: 'I've just got my hair blow dried, I'm not ruining it by sweating' etc.

Men aren't anywhere near as vain.

They're nearly twice as active as women - getting at least 30 minutes of daily exercise, according to a study in the journal Preventive Medicine.

This compares to 18 minutes for women.

Which bring us to #thisgirlcan, a campaign not here (alas) but in the UK, which celebrates women who move, no matter how red or how sweaty they get.

They're wiggling and jiggling bellies, muffin tops, big thighs and arms - and they're getting a massive endorphin rush.

The campaign's 90-second ad shows real women, of all body types, exercising - and loving it.

Phrases like "I jiggle, therefore I am" are interspersed with shots of women working out - red-faced, cellulite wobbling, smudged makeup, sweat patches and muffin top.

This reinforces the message that exercise is for everyone. It's sort of 'in your face' to the phenomenon of airbrushed selfies.

This is an empowering, refreshing campaign and has already been endorsed by celebs such as Martina Navratilova and Missy Elliot.

Here in Ireland, meanwhile, it was revealed this week that more than half of women are unhappy with their bodies, and 40pc also consider going under the surgeon's knife for help.

Hundreds of scientific studies have shown exposure to unrealistic bodies can lead to this body dissatisfaction.

So we're back to where we started, thinking we're too ugly to exercise. That's why this campaign is so important.

Irish women need to follow their UK counterparts and jiggle it, just a little bit.

 

Contraception? Termination? At least the Church got it spot on about breasts

Some women feel that the Catholic Church treats them like second class citizens or that some Scripture is sexist.

Contraception and terminations are banned, practices many believe hold the key to women's economic and sexual freedom. They believe they're discriminated against because only men can be ordained.

Former president Mary McAleese has previously said: "The old boys' club are going to have to go."

Yet this week saw one of the most positive moments for women within the Catholic Church, with Pope Francis encouraging infant's mothers to breastfeed their babies at a baptism ceremony in the Sistine Chapel.

"You mothers give your children milk and even now... breastfeed them, don't worry," Pope Francis declared.

puritanical

God knows, the Catholic Church can be accused of having a puritanical relationship or obsession with women's bodies.

But when the Pope proclaimed breastfeeding as completely natural rather than something sinful, it was a boon to women everywhere.

This changes the narrative on breastfeeding. Yes there's the 'breast is best' message everywhere but it sometimes feels that there's an 'only if it's done in the privacy of your home where nobody has to be forced to watch you' subtext with it.

It also feels like a continuing type of control over women's bodies to tell them what to do with them.

Who'd have thought a celibate, 77-year-old man, would become a breastfeeding champion? A rational, important endorsement of breastfeeding from a conservative organisation, who've often stood accused of misogyny, is really rather welcome.

Hopefully this holy approval will spur on the Catholic hierarchy to examine how else they can help and care for women.

 

Helen showed Globes' girls how to wear it

THIS year was surely the most disappointing Golden Globes for red carpet watchers? Kate Hudson's dress wasn't really about the dress, was it? It was more 'look at my incredible body', less 'look at the couture'.       Well, you can't do much with just a few inches of material. Rosamund Pike's dress was less about how little there was of it and more about how badly it fitted her (It just didn't). For a fashion slam dunk though, give legends Jane Fonda or Helen Mirren a bell. As the Americans say, they knocked it out of the ballpark.    

* British child star Sophia Grace has just released a single and is being hailed as a role model for little girls everywhere. Ugghh. The video only demonstrates how important it is for 11-year olds to wear mascara and lipstick, and to emulate the moves of female strippers. Aren't the lyrics "stupid boys come around, me and my girls shut 'em down, nobody can stop us now, women take over, we run this town", actually quite sexist and offensive?

 


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