Wednesday, 29 April 2015

BODYSHAMING OR BEACH READY?

I am a 'skinny bitch'.
I always have been and it's likely I will be for the foreseeable future.

My size has been referred to with this charming phrase, along with 'scrawny', 'chicken legs' (I kid you not) and childhood friends consistently commenting on how 'unfair' it was that I should have such a body when I ate so much. Not necessarily positive comments and also, rather judgemental of my eating habits. You can guarantee if I had responded with 'Oh, you look fat today' I would've been shunned from the playground or at the very least, punched in the face.

I'm now very comfortable and accepting of how I am built and how I look in - and out - of clothes. This only came through growing up and realising that society should not define what I look like. Oh, and the fact I can eat entire packets of biscuits and not worry because my metabolism is shit hot.

This is not a rant about how I agree/disagree with the Protein World campaign, although my views will become abundantly clear. I just wanted to mention how this recent 'body image' debacle has been enlightening for me.

I'm all for promoting a healthy body image and defending feminism as something that surprisingly, isn't an act of women wanting to take over the world. I don't chain myself to fences or burn my bras or complain if certain clothes are only made for those size 18+. Hopefully, my views are expressed in casual day-to-day acts of independence and I exude the confidence of somebody who is all for equality, not a dominant gender. 

Having said this, it is only after the Protein World advertising campaign (or more so, the backlash against it) that I truly realised the amount of people who still feel it is okay to insist on the mainstream, media portrayal of women. I was prancing about happily in my sort-of-average, slim-framed, small-boobed life and WHAM I am met with a wave of people whose views of women are as tarnished as they were an entire century ago.

Yes, everyone has an opinion but if I hear the phrase 'freedom of speech' one more bloody time in regards to this, my size 8 knickers will be extremely twisted. We're not telling you to be quiet or change your attitude, we're really just wondering: WHY don't you want women to be equal?

Coming across people who don't share any of the same values is refreshing to an over-opinionated person like myself and often, makes for a great friend. Coming across people who feel it is necessary to promote a healthy lifestyle with an image of a scantily clad woman and a weight loss programme? Well, that has thrown a spanner in the works for feminism.

Motivation in the gym should not revolve around losing weight. Granted, it is often a side effect to many people's gym regimes and by all means people should aim for that weight goal if they want to. The thing is in this case though, why do we have to lose weight to feel comfortable in a bikini? I spend every working day coming up with things that would motivate people to work out and inspire other people to get fit and it is absolutely possible to do it, without a half-naked woman and with a judgemental question beside her.

The reaction of a lot of people has been positive. Others have been downright disgusting, inclusive of those people behind the company mask. For me, I was genuinely shocked by the amount of points that were made not necessarily against the campaign, but against women's rights in general. How some of society can still see objectification and let it pass them by under the excuse 'this has been happening for years' has utterly astounded me.

Body image will still be debated for a long time to come, I predict. This is a shame because no child or adult should have to worry about being too skinny or too fat if society just wants them to be healthy. Life isn't about who looks good in a bikini, it's about enjoying the bloody beach.

#EachBodysReady

What are your thoughts on the campaign/the retaliation/Feminism/your favourite bikini?

leanne

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