Showing posts with label bodyimage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bodyimage. Show all posts

9 May 2017

Your Body Image

I have been thinking about body image a lot lately and what I have begun to realise is that how people deal with their body image is sectioned off into three groups: “The Happy”, “The Openly Insecure” and the “In The Closet Insecure”.

“The Happy” are those that have a good self image of themselves and do not let others thoughts or opinions affect that.  You are either born this like or you have worked hard in order to attain and maintain this self image.  Either way, it is the best frame of mind to be in.

“The Openly Insecure” are those that let others opinions affect how they feel about their own body image.  As a side effect to this, by accepting other’s insults and allowing that to factor into the way they think about themselves, they can also develop a “not good enough” complex. 

I spent about twenty five years in the not good enough complex so I know how this feels.  It is a feeling that creeps back into your life sometimes and so I always keep an eye out for it and mentally whack myself around the head when I feel like that.

The “In The Closet Insecure” are those that use their own insecurities about their own body image as a weapon against others whom they perceive look “worse” than they do.  This can come out in the pure insult form, which is essentially boils down to “I’ll hurt you before you hurt me” or alternatively comes out in the form of anger. 

It was this anger that confused me for a good while until I realised that that it wasn’t anger at all.  It was jealousy. 

The “In The Closet Insecure” person sees someone who may be larger than they are, or someone who they think is less attractive and if this person looks confident and happy in their own skin then their anger is immediately provoked. 

How do they have the audacity to feel better about themselves than I do?  I look better than them; why do they look happier than I do?  Their base line of thinking is that they cannot stand someone who is secure in their own self image when they perceive them to be “worth less” in their eyes than they are.  Confused by what they see, they hurl anger and abuse; trying to bring the other person down to the same state of misery as their own; not that will ever admit that.

When it comes down to it, bad body image is learned behaviour. 

No baby is born thinking that it is not good enough to be around others.  No child thinks that she/he is ugly until someone else tells them they are.  Until they socially interact with others, nobody ever links their weight to how they should be treated as a person.

I still remember when I was a little girl, watching my mum get ready to go with my dad on a Saturday.  As I watched her, I didn’t judge her against anyone else or think about how society thought that she ought to look.  She was just my mother and I thought (and still do) she looked beautiful.

I think that one of the most important things that you can teach a child when growing up is that they need to find their own sense of self.  To rely on what they think about themselves rather than letting others define who they are and what they should look like.

The question that we need to constantly ask ourselves is not “What do others think of me” but “What do I think of me”.  Because the answer to that question is all that really matters.

19 May 2016

Good Memories

Clothes, are not just clothes.  They hold memories.  Good ones, bad ones, great ones, momentous ones.  

A first kiss, a last kiss; a great night out with the girls, a New Years Eve to remember; the day that even a scathing laugh at your size could not kill the "I feel fabulous in this dress".  

Every night I go through my wardrobe (ok, two wardrobes) and choose what dress I want to wear to work the next day.  Tonight, I came across this dress.

This dress has wonderful memories for me.  It is the first dress I ever wore (in my adult years when I had a choice) that was patterned.  Had bright colours.  Was feminine and floaty and beautiful.  

Up until that point, my entire wardrobe was black.  I remember choosing to wear it for a party, terrified that everyone was going to be looking at me, the wrong way.  I took forever to get ready; changing accessories, changes cardigan; changing my hair,; changing my makeup.

I had decided to use the dress for a blog post, seen here, and you can see the joy on my face when I wore this dress.  The wonderment that I was even wearing it.  I went to the party and felt amazing.  After the initial shock of seeing me in something that was not all black, my friends loved it.

That was just over three years ago now.  Although years in time, it feels like decades.  I wish it wish.

I have changed into a different person in that time.  Someone who isn't afraid of wearing what I want.  Someone who wears a dress every day, so different from the black pants, black top girl that was invisible.  I am not invisible anymore, certainly not in the different pattern I wear every single day.

But is more than that, I no longer want to be invisible.  I want to be seen.  This is part of who I am.  I would not have it any other way.

Don't wait, like I did until you are 33 to wear the clothes you want.  To feel that you are allowed to.  To feel confident.  To say "to hell with what (some) others think".  

Clothes are not just clothes.  They are a physical manifestation of our personalities.  You have one.  Let it SHINE.

9 May 2015

We Are The They

I am very late in writing this post.  I have been off social media for a while for personal reasons but this half finished blog post has been languishing in my drafts for a while now.  I can stop tweeting, stop using Facebook and checking my emails; but the urge to write stays with me so here you have my thoughts today.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you will no doubt have seen on Twitter the explosion that has been the #WeAreTheThey hashtag.  It started from a wonderful idea of Debz at WannaBe Princess after the comments of the professional rent-a-gob, sorry, "singer" Jamelia and later, Fiona "my career is so shit I now have to advertise the postcode lottery" Phillips.

They are both in agreement that people under and over a certain weight (qualified as under a 6 and above a 20 by way of an "apology" from said rent-a-gob) should have to shop at specialty shops rather than the high street as:

They should be made to feel uncomfortable when they can't go in and find a size

I am tired.  Tired of fat people being the last socially allowed prejudice in society.  The problem is that it is not just the atypical prejudiced people; those who used to be openly racist and homophobic (and whom probably still are behind closed doors) who fat shame, insult, criticize and attempt to humiliate others, it is society as a whole.  

Hate against fat people is an epidemic which will not go away overnight and will not unless the subject is discussed more and hashtags like #WeAreTheThey are publicized.

As a fat women I am told that I can have a pretty face but my body "ruins it".  I am presumed to be stupid, have ill health, be lazy and be an out of work "benefit scrounger".  I am none of these things but it should not matter if I was.  I am a person, deserving of the same respect that everyone gets.  I am not a sub species.

I am tired of the number of your dress size being the way in which you are defined and treated.

I am tired of people telling a fat woman that she is "brave" for wearing a sleeveless dress, a shorter hemline or brighter colours.  She is not brave, she is merely confident in how she looks.  She has a good body image.  If you cannot do the same, find your confidence; do not disparage others for something that you wished you possessed, but do not.

That, in so many ways is what fat shaming really boils down to.  Why some many people are angry about something that effects them in no way, shape or form.  Why other people's bodies are allowed to be insulted open season.  It is jealousy.  Not because they wish they looked like you or had the same body shape, but because they wish they had your confidence.  Your positive body image.  Your happiness.

How many people do you know who own the body they have?  Who does not want to change their body/face/shape/weight.  Our bodies are constantly being compared, both by ourselves and by others to what is termed as the perfect body or as Protein World might put it "Beach Body Ready".

Time and again I see wonderful things happening in the plus size blogging world.  I see readers who (like me once) read plus size blogs and want that confidence for themselves.  The over time the comments of "I wish I had the confidence in myself to wear that" become "here is a picture of me wearing what I never thought I could".

I see women who have previously let society define who they are and how happy they are allowed to be, emerge like a butterfly coming out of a chrysalis into happy, confident women.  It is inspiring and beautiful to watch.

#WeAreTheThey is not just about women under a size 6 and over a size 20, it has been become about all women, taking a stand and refusing to let others tell them that the way that they look is wrong.  You are entitled to your own happiness.  Do not EVER let someone tell you that you aren't.

21 October 2014

Just The Way You Are

“I like you very much. Just as you are." - Mark Darcy, Bridget Jones Diary
I was talking today with my friend about body image.  How we see ourselves, the way in which others words affect us and the ways in which those words can make us change the way in which we strive to look.

If you do not like your body image or even if you are uncomfortable just with certain parts, the slightest comment can wreak havoc on the way you feel about yourself.  The day you go without makeup to work and someone says "You look tired today" or you are wearing a new dress and someone comments "Oh that dress makes you look so much slimmer".

Suddenly that no makeup day sends you running for the makeup and the comment about looking slimmer sends you into a frenzy of "So they think I usually look fat?"

These are things that happen in our day to day lives.  We look at other people, actresses, singers, celebrities in general and think about what amazing lives they must lead.  People fawning over them constantly, getting their hair done, the professional makeup artists, the perfect photographs and think "I wish I had their life".

Today I saw a photograph of Renee Zellweger.  Although she has been in many films: Jerry Maguire, Miss Potter; Chicago; the one film I really associate with her is Bridge Jones and the now iconic image of her in red pajamas.

It always made me a little sad when after finishing the movie she would then lose the weight and revert to the Hollywood image; but I also think that if that was the way she wanted to look, who was anyone to argue.


The image I saw of Renee today though made me stop and question just how far women are willing to go in the quest to comply with what society, and in her case, Hollywood, expects us to look like.


The image we see today looks like a totally different person.  It took me a few minutes to even realise who it was that I was looking at.  She is practically unrecognizable from the person that she was, on the outside at least.  But what about the inside?

I tried to put myself in her shoes.  You don't get a part you really wanted "Sorry Renee, the part went to a younger actress.  You know I have heard about this amazing surgeon....."  "You look tired Renee, you know Botox is amazing?"  

How far do you go before the comments, jibes and barely disguised hints get into your head?  Before you think "Oh a little Botox can't hurt".  A little Botox there, a little filler there and day by day you change; gradually so that you don't notice until one day, your photograph is splayed across the papers with the "Who is this woman".

Isn't it time that we stopped judging each other on how we look.  Isn't time that that we stopped saying "You would amazing if you just did this".

Isn't it time that we take a line from Mark Darcy and say "I like you very much,  Just the way you are".

12 August 2013

Guest Posting

Today I have guest posted on the brilliant FashionWorked in conjunction with their body image season, found here:

They have some brilliant fashion posts for both men and women as well as opinion pieces and Style or Vile posts.  I urge you to check them out, not just because I have written for them today!