This has bothered me for some time now, and especially when I witness outright hurtful comments on social media towards others. Ok, firstly we are all different!! We are meant to be, you can eat exactly the same as another person and we’ll each put weight on or lose it differently – let’s firstly deal with that little nugget (though I am missing my chicken nuggets in lockdown, eek diversion – see I think about food too!!). Secondly, when people like or don’t like you it’s because of your attitude, your kindness, your sense of fun – NOT because of what size jeans you are currently occupying.
Those that know me in real life know I’ve had a major battle with food, body image, distorted connection with self worth and body shape – and it’s an utter nightmare. For many of you, you’re still in the battle stage; sadly you know who you are and it’s ok, many of us have been there and can listen if you want us to. The demons start early, and think even more so now with social media and the rise of the keyboard warrior. Sure it’s dead easy to be on your sofa with a glass of wine hitting like or making a snide comment. After all, they’re not real people, they’re just some stranger you don’t actually know so it doesn’t matter, right?? WRONG!!! Comments stick, they rattle round your brain and for those still in the battle stage of self worth tied up with body image can do an awful lot of damage. Personally, I don’t like that we tie image and worth together so much but the reality is that many do, not saying it’s ok but it is real. For me, the issue is that strangers feel it’s ok to pass public judgement, don’t lie we all do it a little secretly but the question is, do we do it because of the stereotypes we see in the media? I don’t know the answer, I’m just putting it out there for you to think about.
There is so much subtle media pressure on all of us these days to look a certain way. Your hair needs to be shiny, your nails perfect, wear the right clothes – you get the gist and the list is endless if you actually look at the pop up adverts you see everywhere. Thankfully I’ve gotten past it for the most part but it’s taken a very long time and a very strong female network of support. Not that long ago I wouldn’t have mirrors in the house as I really didn’t like what I saw, in my head I was a good 6 sizes bigger than the reality.
I follow some wonderful accounts on twitter and yes some of them are happy to share images of themselves, it’s their call and up to them how and what they share. It’s up to me to decide to follow/unfollow or just ignore, not that difficult really when you put it as simply as that!
So, body shaming – firstly think about someone you love and how you would feel if a complete stranger walked up to you in a store and loudly pointed at them going ‘omg why do you allow them to be out in public, they’re fat/skinny/spotty/ xxxxxx’ add your own words, but you get the principle. You want to defend right? You’re upset right? How dare this stranger who doesn’t know you, doesn’t know what it might have taken to step outside that day. For all they know they may not have felt like going out of the house for years and it took enormous courage and this stranger, this idiot has undone years of gentle coaxing and support in one mindless comment. That’s what body shaming is, that’s what it does to people. So, the next time you’re tempted to comment negatively – just don’t! As the old adage goes, if you can’t say something nice then shut up or say nothing.
To all the beautiful people struggling, keep going – you’ll get there!