When An Ad Focused On Female Athletes’ Looks Instead Of Skill, A Cricket Player Spoke Up

"Are the talent, passion, and skill of a girl not enough for her to play sports?"

Sana Mir, the former captain of the Pakistan national women's cricket team, has a message to all young girls who dream of playing sports — and it's an important one. 

Mir was inspired to write a message on Facebook after noticing a campaign from a company promoting a hair removal cream. 

"I have come to know that it's a campaign for both Pakistan and India," Mir writes. "It's magnifying a girl's concern about how she looks on a basketball court. The worst thing is that instead of sending a message to young girls that the color or texture of their skin does not matter, we are promoting body shaming and objectification."

Mir questions this: 

"Are the talent, passion, and skill of a girl not enough for her to play sports?"

Mir goes on to point out that there are female sports icons who've proved that their athletic status results from skill and hard work, not from their smooth skin. 

"Make no mistake: you need strong arms, not smooth arms, on a sports field."

Finally, Mir says that she herself turned down opportunities to endorse beauty products for these aforementioned reasons and explains that she wants "young girls with a passion for sports to know that all they need for a practice session are the will to succeed, comfortable shoes and clothes, a water bottle, and a cap if it's hot." 

"I request all sponsors and celebrities to ensure that when we engage young girls to fulfill their dreams, we show them a path that gives them actual confidence rather than disabling them by making them self-conscious," she concludes. 

Among other accolades, Mir has led her team to win gold at the 2010 Asia Games and its highest world ranking. She was also awarded "a Category A contract and in the process became one of the first semi-professional female cricketers in Pakistan," her Facebook page explains. She also became the first female cricketer to win the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, Pakistan's Medal of Excellence. 

Mir also isn't the first to speak out about women in sports as well as the relationship between ones' physical appearance and being an athlete: in 2016, for example, female athletes such as Shawn Johnson starred in a Dove campaign that encouraged "the media and the general public to focus on the athletic ability of women in sports, not their looks."

"I feel like our world today is pushing beauty over athleticism for young girls," Johnson told Mashable at the time. "I want to be an advocate to change that."

Last year, espnW released a short film, When I Play"that directly and unapologetically celebrates who we are, what we want to be, why our visibility matters, and gives voice to women and girls who see their athleticism as a way to reclaim themselves, to find themselves, and to embrace their power," the film's creative director, Allison Glock, said. 

Hopefully, Mir's message and messages from other women in the industry will further encourage young female athletes to pursue sports without needed to change who they are or what they look like. 

(H/T: The Indian Express)

Cover image: Mitch Gunn / Shutterstock.com

GET SOME POSITIVITY IN YOUR INBOX

Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.