On Thursday evening I wrote a blog about being rejected from a BBC TV show, 'World's Toughest Army', for being a woman. My blog is my own corner of the internet where I write about what’s important to me. I published this blog because I believe in standing up for what I think is right. I don’t think I was quite prepared for what happened next.
What followed felt like a Twitter storm and and the story was picked up by The Telegraph and The Independent with The Guardian and Sky News also being in touch. I declined interviews with the latter because I want to move forward and focus on what we CAN do rather than what we can’t.
The response on social media has been phenomenal, I was following and engaging with it for a straight 12 hours yesterday. It was amazing to see everyone who also felt the BBC could have played their cards differently. I can’t tell you how much all your comments, shares and support means to me. This is a far bigger issue than me being rejected from a TV show. That show doesn’t matter and it’s not what is important, but the issues it raises are very important.
It’s not about whether men are tougher than women or whether the BBC has been sexist or about what would make a more popular TV show. Through your comments I can tell that you also believe this is about equal opportunities.
Raising this as an issue on my blog took courage. Being interviewed by national newspapers wasn't a quick decision. I have opened myself up to criticism and that’s not been easy. But I believe it is worth it.
I recently shared this quote:
“Courage is telling the story of who you are with your whole heart”
- Brene Brown.
— Sophie Radcliffe (@challengesophie) January 21, 2015
Well this is me. I love physical adventure challenges and I applied for a TV show that I thought looked fun. They declined my application on the grounds that I’m a woman and I shared my story. I will not stay quiet in fear of the people who will tell me I’m wrong. I will not change because of stereotypes, I am me and you are you.
My whole life I’ve tried to fit in. I was bullied at school. I was told I was an idiot and I’d never be able to play music by my teacher. I always had to watch my weight and I’ve worked damn hard at my fitness because it sure hasn’t come naturally to me.
I’ve proved the naysayers wrong and achieved things I’m incredibly proud of.
In the past 5 years, I’ve found something that enables me to be unapologetically me. I started to challenge myself. I found that if I could complete Ironman races and climb mountains, I didn’t feel the need to conform elsewhere; to be a certain person or look a certain way. Through these challenges I developed the confidence to be myself and to be proud of who I am.
A few weeks ago I wrote a blog ’10 Things Women Do Everyday That Are Fearless’ in response to Bodyform’s Live Fearless campaign. Probably one of my favourite blogs as you know I’m a huge advocate of living without limits and the #OneLifeLiveIt philosophy!
Bodyform have asked me to share my view on the situation with Heather Watson who crashed out of the Australian Open last week because she wasn’t feeling on top form. When asked to comment, she replied that she was suffering from “women’s problems.” It sparked a media storm and raised the question, why should women feel uncomfortable when speaking out about something that affects them so much? Why should it be an embarrassing topic to talk about?
I love that Heather raised these issues, it is something I sometimes don’t feel comfortable talking about, but there’s no denying it can really change the way we feel and our performance in our work. Especially as a professional tennis player who needs razor sharp focus!
Bodyform have launched a campaign #LastTaboo to see what we all think about it.
What do you think?
Should we feel we have to hide things that are natural as a woman to avoid making other people feel awkward?
We are all affected by small and large things everyday and much of this can be other people’s opinions. It’s hard to be authentically us, especially when we feel it might mean we will attract criticism or not fit in. But does it matter? I don’t think so. It may be hard but nothing worth having comes easy, right?
Go out and tell your story. Be unapologetically you, be courageous and don’t let other people’s opinions, voices or stereotypes stand in your way. If something is affecting us and it doesn’t feel right, speak out about it.