Sports & equalities minister Helen Grant came under fire on Friday after encouraging women to take up sports such as cheerleading in order to retain their femininity while keeping fit.
The Tory MP told the Daily Telegraph there were many sports in which females could partake while still looking "radiant".
"There are some wonderful sports which you can do & perform to a very high level & I think those participating look absolutely radiant & very feminine such as ballet, gymnastics, cheerleading & even roller-skating," she said.
"We really need to take a step back & actually ask women what they want & donate it to them.
"Some girls may well not like doing very traditional hockey, tennis or athletics, others might," she added.
Equality campaigners from the Everyday Sexism project called Grant's comments "discouraging".
"It's really the wrong approach to suggest that the only way for women to obtain involved in sports is to be girlie & feminine," the project's founder Laura Bates told the paper.
"It's actually discouraging for a minister to say this."