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Let’s get physical: how women’s sport can conquer body image

Body image issues ought to have no place in sports, but it stops many women from getting involved. It’s time to celebrate female bodies for what they can do

I’ll never forget the first time I saw a naked woman who wasn’t my mum. I was 12; she was a grown-up and standing in the showers at our local swimming pool, soaping her pubic hair into a lather. I don’t remember anything about her face, just her body: sinewy with some wobbly bits, and a big bush down below. At the time the sight of women displaying their bodies prompted giggles, embarrassment and the odd sneer of derision from me and my school-age friends. For pubescent girls, showing any part of your naked body is anathema. It was an unspoken rule that you had to undress without anyone catching sight of your body.

Why do we teach young girls to care first about how they look and second about their talent?

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