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Eat Sweat Play: How Sport Can Change Our Lives

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  1,108 ratings  ·  144 reviews
"I’d go as far to say that this book was a life changer for my health and fitness.' Estée Lalonde

Long-listed for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award.

Sport's for everyone . . . isn't it?

Society has led us to believe that women and sport don’t mix. But why? What happens to the young girls who dare to climb trees and cartwheel across playgrounds?

In her explor
Paperback, 264 pages
Published June 16th 2016 by Macmillan
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 ·  1,108 ratings  ·  144 reviews

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Amy | littledevonnook
May 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A brilliant non-fiction read that pulls apart every aspect of women and sport. A real eye-opener!

This one took me by surprise - I don't do any sport in my free time and you would never find me sat in front of the television with the football on but this book has totally made me rethink the way I look at sport. Not only does Anna Kessel discuss the involvement of women in sport throughout history she also delves into other hot topics such as periods and pregnancy. It sounds silly but I honestly h
Alice (Married To Books)
Disclaimer: I was sent an ARC copy of Eat Sweat Play for read and review by Macmillan publishers!

I don't really read a lot of non-fiction and certainly not ones that involve sport but I found Eat Sweat Play to be a fascinating insight into the world of women and sport. Anna has definitely done her research speaking to a variety of sports celebrities and magazines who have run campaigns to promote women in sport. A variety of topics are explored within the book: The gender pay gap, sexism and att
Jun 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Read June 2016
It’s been almost two weeks since I finished reading and I think I finally have my thoughts together on this one.

Eat Sweat Play wasn’t quite what I had expected it to be, which turned out to be both a positive and a negative. I was expecting a quick, fun and inspiring read. What I got was something that took me a little longer to read, but that made me think (and in some cases re-think). A lot.

First, let me talk about the positive.
I like reading books about feminism and I loved that
Viv JM
In "Eat Sweat Play" Anna Kessel argues that sport for women is "revolutionary, empowering, radical and political". Having read the book, I certainly feel that it is my feminist duty to take up a sport and I have come away feeling quite inspired!

Kessel starts off with some nostalgia about crappy PE lessons, Gladiators on ITV, Sporty Spice and Flo Jo's nails (amongst other things!) which I quite enjoyed but then moves on to more serious themes in sport including the barriers to women's participat
Apr 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Review coming tomorrow!
May 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
3.5 stars.

I requested this book from Pan Macmillan for review. Thanks to the publisher for sending this my way!

This was a really interesting non-fiction choice for me. Typically I do not read books about sport, as the subject does not interest me. Not to say I'm against sport or I don't like it, but it's not something I've ever felt compelled to read. However, this book focuses on the effect of sport and opinions on sport for women, particularly young women, and how women should be embracing it.
Hmmm. I don't know how to review this book.. Somehow I expected something different. More fun, more how to do. I'm not really into sport and that hasn't really changed after reading this book. Some parts I found very interesting (Sport and periods/body image) others not really (too heavy on football and pregnancy/being a mum) and in general I found it rather repetitive at times. However I don't regret reading Eat. Sweat. Play. because I had no idea what ridiculous prejudices there is against fem ...more
Jessica Gillies
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sport
possibly 4.5 stars? I really enjoyed reading this. As I am from New Zealand, which is hugely geared towards sport, I couldn't relate to lots of aspects of this book (fortunately)- for example personally I have never felt unfeminine because of wanting to work out. Maybe this has something to do with the fact I run distance rather than play team sport , but I digress.

What I could relate to was the call for changes in the PE curriculum The concept of breaking a sport down into bite size pieces th
Jun 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was interesting from beginning to end. Well-researched and written, it covered the whole spectrum of women's participation in sport, from school PE to professional athletes, equal pay, sports journalism, periods and pregnancy. As someone interested and participating in sport who's experienced some of the sexism that's out there myself, this book really struck a chord with me and I'll definitely be re-reading it soon, a little slower this time! Five stars :) ...more
Catherine (literaryprints)
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
This already has a great rating on goodreads - and I'm truly happy it does. This is the kind of book you wish you could entrust to everyone you know. It's helped me learn much about my own relationship with my body - and specifically, with exercise. To not see physical activity as merely a tool to condition my body into society's patriarchal ideals - but as a means to have fun and be active instead! Regardless of aesthetics.

I loved a lot about this book - and found it truly insightful on the fol
Mar 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gender, non-fiction
'The whole premise of the idea seemed impossibly contradictory: I wanted to appeal to women who didn't connect to sport, who didn't buy sports books, and I wanted to do it with a book about sport.' (p. xii). And yet that's exactly what she did.
I pretty much only read this because Leena made such an amazing video about it ( and I definitely don't regret it. From PE in high school to 'fit-girl' trends and the weird beautification of sports to periods, preg
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What an absolutely fantastic book! This is not just a book for people who love sports, or care about women's sport. In fact, I would say, the primary audience for this book is for people who do not like sport. This is because this book encourages all of us to go out and do something active. It challenges our stereotypes of sport, and our expectations. We shouldn't allow ourselves to be pigeonholed into a specific way of thinking. Especially as women, we should be celebrating our achievements, an ...more
In Eat Sweat Play, Kessel explores the barriers to women's participation in sport and lays out a variety of reasons why it's critical that we break down those barriers and increase that participation.

I found it interesting to contrast the ways in which women's bodies are sexualised and commoditised - a woman is first evaluated on her body before all else - and the ways in which women are prevented from understanding their own bodies. Our bodies are the property of others, and our lack of owners
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2019
I really loved this book, and it definitely helped me rethink my attitude on sports. Last year, I stopped working out because it had become all about weight loss and looks for me. I no longer enjoyed anything I did, only thought of the calories I was burning. These past few months, I have started working out again and discovered the joy once more. It's simply about moving now, being strong and challenging myself. It's a place to go with friends, or to meet new people. This book solidified that m ...more
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved it. It was the book i needed at this timing of my life.
This book is written so beautifully. Supporting women in sports. And discussing very important issues that only few mention it; sport and pregnancy, sport during periods, emotional swings, balancing between parenting and competing! And having it all. Cultural resistance to women playing "men" type of sports!.
I related to this book.
I used to struggle in the past to keep up with my fitness. Nowadays, I'm living the beauty of feeling
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Thoroughly enjoyed this and would easily recommend to any woman, sports fan or not. Because it would written with a British slant I wasn't as familiar with all of the athletes or news stories that were mentioned but that was okay! ...more
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
I absolutely loved this. Learning more about the relation between women and sports and everything that that entails was so enlightening and intriguing. I would recommend this to everyone!
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, feminism
I saw this in a bookshop and thought it looked interesting so asked for it for my birthday.

I read it in a day! This book lived up to my already high expectations and was just what I needed. I have been ill for the last 18 months so have put weight on and this book lifted me out of my irritation and depression of not being able to fit in to my nice dresses but made me think how my body is finally getting strong again and to focus on enjoying the exercise rather than focussing on fitting in to my
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, non-fiction
Incredible. Meticulously researched, Anna Kessel's no nonsense attitude produces a feminist book about sport that has the potential to change minds. I've always been told to work out to "lose weight" and "look sexy", as I know most women have, but I can't recall ever being told to work out to "have fun." How tragic is that?
As a football fan, I truly appreciated every mention of it in this book. As a woman, you're never taken seriously as a fan. I've always been told I only liked it because of t
Jan 25, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 / 5 ⭐️

Very enjoyable, informative and eye-opening. However, I felt some chapters were too fact-based and heavy on real athletes - while I find that motivating and inspiring it's not what I personally can identify with. That's why I cannot give more stars! If you're into (professional) sports, though, I'd definitely recommend this book to you!
Feb 09, 2021 rated it it was ok
Some good content, but for me any book on sports, bodies and gender should consistently use the words cisgender, transgender, and consider intersections which make accessing sports harder (such as being a person of colour, trans, disabled). This was mainly a book for cis white women and as such was a little embarrassing to read.
Jun 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An awesome read. This book is filled with inspiring women. It empowered me and didn't alienate me. I'm doing tai chi and swimming. Eat, Sweat, Play gave me the chutzpah I needed to be active. ...more
I wouldn't class myself as a reader of non-fiction books, though I am certainly getting there with certain genres of non-fiction. But it is this 'type' of non-fiction book that makes me... ambivalent about them.

This book is certainly fascinating and I did enjoy reading it, but there were times when I felt like the author was beating me over the head with the fact that women aren't treated as equals to men (especially in sports), and it just got a little monotonous. The first 25% is fine, but fro
Jun 18, 2017 rated it liked it
[3.5/5] The real problem here is a massive elephant in the room: our own culture. Our social values, our media - so influential on impressionable young girls - that have been allowed, for millenia, to send out this powerful, alienating message about girls and sport: that sport is unfeminine, that sport makes you sweaty and muscular, that sport is swearing and violence, that sport is ugliness in a world where women’s sole priority, value and focus should be beauty and becoming an object of desire ...more
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Overall, I really enjoyed this, though I wish there had been more focus on the intersectionality of being a woman of color or a queer woman or a disabled woman in sport (there was some, I just wanted more). And I know this is a few years old, but I also wish there was a discussion on trans women in sport, beyond mentioning a transphobic comment that Rhonda Rousey had said and making sure to say it was not scientifically founded. Otherwise, a very solid read. I especially enjoyed the interviews a ...more
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own
there's not much to say about this book other than it's an amazing essay-type book about the importance of sport in women's life and why it seems to be almost nonexistent. it made me think A LOT and got me motivated to move my body, so that's great! i think this book did its job wonderfully for me - 4.5 stars! 🌟 ...more
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’ve never wanted to run more in my life. (Go figure, the year I finally register for a marathon is the year it gets cancelled. Palestine Marathon 2021 hopefully 🤞🏻🤞🏻)
Enjoyed reading this immensely; it lags a bit here and there, but it’s still a valuable read.
I keep thinking about the feats women have to go through here to exercise, how they are twofold in severity probably.
Lotti Hen
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
brilliant and inspiring
May 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-review
This review was originally posted on Strupag

Many of you know how much I love watching sport - football, F1, athletics - basically I'll watch any sport with the exception of cricket.

These days I'm stuck in a situation where I can't exercise; my illness confines me massively. I do those wee exercises that I can, the ones that the physio has given me. Putting my health to one side though, I've never been a very sporty person. I once convinced my maths teacher to give me a test I missed rath

Julia the Bookworm
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
WOW! The things I never knew, I mean you as a women experience how it is to be female in the sports world. But to learn about the extent of sexism and trauma young girls get from the start was just unbeliviable. I have become extremely inspired to act and hope to do something in the future. A recommended read for any sport fan or individual interested in the politics of everyday life.
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