By Olalekan Okusan for ITTF
As the world awaits the gathering of athletes in Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic Games, a campaign aimed at encouraging healthy rivalry among the competitors with no bias for beauty has been launched and two-time Olympic Games medalist Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa has been selected as the only table tennis star and one of the Olympians that will endorse the initiative across the globe.
Regarded as one of the most decorated Japanese female table tennis players in recent times, 26-year-old Kasumi Ishikawa has joined forces with top Olympians to lead a campaign against beauty standards with #NOCOMPETITION.
According to straitstimes.com, the campaign led by cult-favourite beauty brand SK-II is aimed at challenging women worldwide to shatter toxic and unsolicited beauty ideals and define for themselves what beauty means to them.
Ishikawa being the only table tennis star among the array of Olympians selected for the campaign, teamed up with Olympians such as American Simone Biles, the world’s most decorated gymnast; China’s Liu Xiang, world-record holder swimmer; Ishikawa’s compatriots – Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsutomo, badminton duo and Olympic gold medalists; Mahina Maeda, surfer; and Hinotori Nippon from Japan’s national volleyball team are lending their voice to the campaign.
The selected athletes opened up for the first time on their personal experiences with unsolicited beauty pressures on social media.
For Ishikawa, there is no competition in beauty.
“Believe in yourself. Don’t let self doubt hold you back. Beauty is #NOCOMPETITION.” – Kasumi Ishikawa
Biles shared about her struggles with beauty trolls, denouncing hate comments on her body and pledging to step away from the competition of beauty standards.
Takahashi and Matsutomo expressed their appreciation for each other, asserting that their unity and mutual support are what allows them to overcome any doubts and competition.
Maeda highlighted the toxic nature of a beauty competition that she never signed up for, but found herself stuck in. In an inspiring declaration, the surfer announced her departure from these beauty rules, choosing to make her own.
Each competition season, Hinotori Nippon faces doubting comments on whether their smaller statures will allow them to beat often bigger-sized opponents, especially in a sport like volleyball. This year, the team has had enough of living up to other people’s ideals, declaring that nothing will limit them at Tokyo 2020 – not even themselves.
The athletes’ proclamations come together to convey a stark message about the twisted ways that beauty has been defined in society, and more importantly, are calling for a much-needed change in mindset:
“We won’t compete anymore. Beauty is #NOCOMPETITION.”
SK-II hopes this campaign will spark a much-desired dialogue on challenging conventional beauty ideals, and inspire millions across the world to redefine their own perceptions of beauty.
Speaking at the Makers Conference, Ms Yoe Gin Chang, Brand Director of SK-II Japan, said:
“Beauty can be many things – but one thing it should never be is, a competition. As the world directs its attention towards and celebrates the greatest competition for humanity, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, we want to take this opportunity to call out the toxic competitions in beauty that women face every day, that dictate how they look, feel and act. SK-II is, at our core, a human brand. We want to use our voice as a force for good to create positive change in the world today. We would like everyone to join us by lending your voice to #NOCOMPETITION.”