What does it really look like when women do sports? Or more importanly: how does it feel?
We asked this from a bunch of Finnish women. And they told us: you feel tough and rough, cool and hot, free and passionate. But that’s just words. They show it too, on our video. And it’s pure sweat and joy!
We were inspired by the British campaign This Girl Can that exploded social media last year with their campaign video. As a tribute we named our film In Finland Girls Can Too - and decided to use the same song as the Brits did.
We wanted to film the whole year round to show the variety of different sports. In Finland sports can be seasonal. But Finnish women know no limits. We have a pregnant woman playing the national sport pesäpallo, Finnish version of baseball. And we filmed grown women playing ice hockey.
Now we want to challenge the women of other countries! Show us what your sweating, sports loving women look like. Swedish women, can you beat us?
Not that we want to brag about it, the truth is that Finnish adults do more sports than any other Europeans. We are number one!
And here’s how Finnish women describe how they feel like when they excercise:
”It makes me feel strong. And not just mentally: my body feels strong when blood flows and muscles ache. It’s this tough girl -feeling”, says 42-year-old weight lifter Karoliina Paukkala.
“Even though it’s physically stressing, it’s still rest for me. It’s so different from work and daily routines. You concentrate only on what you’re doing at that very moment.”
What about belly dancing? How does that feel?
”It feels liberating and joyous. It’s a way to express your femininity”, says 68-year-old Pirjo Adli who dances on the video.
“On top of that, you end up being in a better shape. But that’s not something I think about.”
Adli has belly danced for 25 years.
In Finland almost everyone does sports. In the year 2014 76 percent of Finnish women told they do sports at least half an hour at a time, twice a week or more often. More women do sports than men in Finland. The same number for men was 70 percent.
This means that the people who actually do sports are mostly regular folks, no fitness stars. Think about it: almost everyone you meet at the street trains somehow.
It used to be typical to see two Finnish women walking together in the evening. It was no promenade, they were wearing sweat suits. Nowadays you see more women with headphones on, listening to music while they run. And couples who do Nordic walking together. Team sports have also become popular among grown women.
No one has to do sports of course. But everybody should have the right to enjoy it. Everyone has a beach body.
”Every woman is beautiful. Finnish women are too critical of their body. You just have to find your own beauty”, says Pirjo Adli, the belly dancer.
”Dancing makes you feel more feminine and bold and by that I don’t mean sex appeal, but dignity. You learn to respect yourself”, says Adli.
Weight lifter Karoliina Paukkala believes everyone can find a right kind of sport that feel good from the very first moment. Being overweight doesn’t have to stop you from training.
”Why should you do something that doesn’t feel natural to you? You can find a sport that gives you more than it takes. The kind that you can do with joy and that doesn’t make you feel bad and unfit.”
”You should get experiences of empowerment, not experiences of stress. There are so many alternatives you can choose from in the world.”
Which one do you choose?