A woman was cycling when she claims a man yelled out to her “fat chicks should never wear Lycra”.
Tina McCarthy is one of an extraordinary number of Victorian women who say they’ve been heckled or shamed because of the way they look while exercising.
“I remember this guy behind me I heard him say, ‘Oh God look at that, fat chicks should never wear Lycra’,” she said.
“It’s nobody else’s business what I wear when I go for a ride.”
Ms McCarthy laughed off the abuse, saying: “I go much faster when I wear Lycra.”
Alarming new research found more than 50 per cent of women have been judged or shamed because of the way they looked while working up a sweat.
Ms McCarthy is determined not to let the haters get her down, so she joined the This Girl Can campaign as an ambassador to empower women to get active regardless of their appearance.
Fellow This Girl Can ambassador Angela Dalla Rosa says she was judged by coaches while playing football.
“I had a lot of times when I would come home in tears after training thinking I’m not good enough, I’m not going to make the team,” she said.
For many women, the humiliation and judgement from their family made them give up exercise, said This Girl Can’s Melanie Fineberg.
“We still live in a world where the dad bod is celebrated but the mum belly is a thing of shame,” she said.
A week of fun, free or low cost activities kicked off on Monday at more than 140 gyms and sports clubs across Victoria, to encourage women to take the first step and get active.
Visit This Girl Can website for a list of events around Victoria.