I am aware that my view may be controversial but it’s one I think a lot of people secretly would agree with. My view is simple:
There is a difference between promoting body confidence and promoting an unhealthy lifestyle.
And we’ve gone too far. In trying to promote self-confidence and a love of oneself, we’ve allowed people who are clinically obese to become ‘supermodels’ and role models, these people are celebrated for ‘breaking the boundaries’ and ‘crushing stereotypes’. These people are also wildly unhealthy – one comment I heard from a self-confessed overweight model is that celebrities don’t get criticised for smoking – so why should she be criticised for being overweight? The response was an outcry of people agreeing that she should be celebrated too. My response? You’re right, the person who is promoting smoking should probably be in some hot water too. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
Celebrating obesity isn’t celebrating body confidence – it’s not letting people (especially impressionable young women) know that people come in all shapes and sizes and to be comfortable in themselves – it’s telling these people that it’s okay to be unhealthy. How can we, as a society and as a body image positive movement, justify allowing severely overweight and unhealthy people becoming models when we’ve worked so hard to stop (and in some countries, make illegal) underweight and unhealthy models being hired and shown in the media?
Just because it’s (generally) easier to be overweight than underweight it doesn’t mean it’s any less dangerous. This has to stop.
I absolutely believe that everyone should be comfortable in their own body, and will admit that I was not comfortable in mine – I am still self-conscious but I didn’t realise it for years. The time I started to embrace my differences is when I focused on health and fitness rather than looks. The one thing I say to people and fully believe is that it’s okay to be any shape, size, colour, or whatever as long as you are healthy! I don’t mean you need to be as fitness obsessed as myself – rather you shouldn’t feel bloated all the time or fear the slightest bit of exercise. To me it’s that simple.
So PLEASE, let’s stop celebrating unhealthy people because it’s in fashion, let’s stop idolising overweight people because they ‘promote body confidence’. Let’s not undo all of the hard work that was put in to having healthy models in magazines rather than underweight ones. Let’s get real – let’s celebrate healthy, strong people.