I guess I’m not what the media defines as ‘plus-sized’, but does that mean that I can’t comment on body shaming. As I scroll through my Twitter feed I read post after post with the tag #WeAreTheThey attached. They are not judgmental, critical or patronising posts written by so-called celebrities looking for a bit of attention, but they are beautiful, positive and inspiring comments, quotes and photos of gorgeous plus sized ladies giving the finger to the obnoxious and uneducated few that seem to think body shaming is acceptable.
This growing culture of spewing hatred and controversy across the media by demeaning and bullying others in the hopes of achieving their tedious 5 minutes of fame, a few pageviews or to create headline news, is not only pathetic but extremely dangerous to vulnerable teenage girls. As long as I can remember I have been on some kind of diet. Some healthy and some not so healthy. I was criticised a lot during my teenage years by those who should have been protecting me; both older and wiser than I was, by people who should have known better. Little did they know the ‘jokes’ and ‘banter’ I endured and even laughed along with sometimes, cut me like a knife. I remember having to excuse myself, to go the bathroom mid conversation where I would sob my heart out only to return for more. I was goaded to step onto scales while others watched smugly and be playfully called ‘fatty’ as I would sit to eat dinner. My image of myself and others became slowly more and more distorted. I refused to wear shorts on holiday even in the blistering Florida heat because I thought people would stare. Swimming pools, beaches and water parks became the stuff of nightmares. Every piece of junk food, chocolate or crisp I ate was followed by a wave of guilt and disgust.
And now I read, almost 14 years later, that women, sorry “they”, should be made to feel uncomfortable, different and self-conscious in accordance with their dress size. They should be made to shop at specialist shops, they should be told they look unhealthy, to hide their bodies and to be ashamed. Apparently, we now live in a world were #SkinnyBirdWatching is acceptable?!? Teenage me was distraught by a few nasty words and looks, how would I have coped living in 2015 where influential figures, celebrities, newspapers and companies condone and even openly endorse body shaming?
So as I return to Twitter and see women of all sizes, shapes and weight celebrate their beautiful bodies with snap after snap of drop-dead gorgeous selfies, my faith in humanity is slowly being restored! These are the women that should be on the front page, these are the women we should be celebrating! We must remember to love and respect our bodies, we are all unique and beautiful no matter what size we are and we need to start shouting this from the rooftops! Curvy, plus sized, skinny, fat – we are obsessed with giving each other labels! Labels only keep us divided, screw labels, we must unite and show vulnerable teenage girls that it’s not okay to allow others to put you down, make you feel ‘different’ and worthless. We are beautiful, we are confident, we will be heard – #WeAreTheThey.