Former Olympians Slam 'Shameful and Regressive' Lingerie Campaign Featuring Team GB Rugby Players - Ruck

Former Olympians Slam ‘Shameful and Regressive’ Lingerie Campaign Featuring Team GB Rugby Players

A campaign by lingerie brand Bluebella featuring Team GB athletes has sparked controversy, being labelled ‘shameful and regressive’. Despite its stated aim of encouraging more girls to remain in sport, the campaign has faced backlash.

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Bluebella’s latest #StrongIsBeautiful campaign showcases rugby sevens stars Jasmine Joyce, Celia Quansah, and Ellie Boatman. The brand, which has no official association with Team GB, claims the campaign aims to demonstrate that strength and femininity can coexist.

“We want to celebrate and normalise the beauty of strong and powerful female bodies, bodies that have historically been ignored by the fashion industry and stigmatised by society,” Bluebella stated.

The company elaborated, “Our #StrongIsBeautiful campaign was born out of the fact that girls give up sports more readily than boys, partly because society does not equate the look of a strong female body with being beautiful or feminine. If young women do not equate strength with feminine beauty, it is a problem far beyond sport. We have been running this campaign for nine years and have been honoured to feature numerous world-class athletes.”

However, the campaign has drawn criticism from British Olympians Sharron Davies and Mara Yamauchi.

“What the actual **** this is an utterly shameful campaign, whose brain dead idea was this? Oh yeah let’s get professional female sportswomen in porn underwear! Extremely regressive… stereotypes yet again,” wrote Davies, a silver medallist at the Moscow 1980 Olympics.

Yamauchi added, “This is exploitative, demeaning, sexist, regressive rubbish. Of course the intended audience is men. Portraying women as sex objects will not encourage teenage girls into sport.”

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Given Holly’s familial background with her father Ian being a former England U20 and Saxons player as well as Waterloo’s director of rugby, it made perfect sense for her to pursue rugby.

Aitchison herself boasts an impressive resume, having represented England in various capacities, including age-grade levels, the HSBC World Sevens Series, and even at the Olympic Games for Team GB.

Joining Saracens in 2020 marked the beginning of her remarkable journey, highlighted by scoring a try during her England 15s debut in 2021. This momentum carried her to the starting lineup for the 2021 Rugby World Cup final and secured her a spot in Simon Middleton’s Six Nations squad in 2023.

Demonstrating her prowess, she played a pivotal role in the Red Roses’ victorious campaign at the inaugural WXV1 tournament in New Zealand. Now, Holly’s achievements continue to flourish as she recently earned a place in John Mitchell’s squad for the 2024 Guinness Women’s Six Nations.

Follow her on Instagram here.