Focusing on weight: a dangerous trend.

I have no statistical proof, but I get the sense that women and girls (sometimes men and boys too) are increasingly valuing themselves according to their weight. It could be a result of social media aimed at teenagers and young adults, like TikTok and Instagram, promising fame if you use a certain brand of makeup/fragrance/moisturiser. There has been pressure to be thin since the 50’s when after the war models like Twiggy became aspirational figures. However in Africa they actually value largeness as it represents wealth and success. In the West, we value thinness as an indicator of beauty and success. Its great to be beautiful but so destructive to only measure beauty according to how thin someone is.

Interesting people come in all shapes and sizes. Successful people come in all shapes and sizes. Wealthy people come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re constantly obsessed by resisting temptation, then how much time are we losing that could be spent dojng something worthwhile? By obsessing solely about their weight, women in particular, are losing their value in a sea of judgement. If humans were animals, what we do to ourselves to appear emaciated would be seen as animal cruelty…

Photo by Alfred Quartey on Unsplash

We should be over this by now… who cares if you’re thin? If you’re thin and yet never do anything, never eat anything, never enjoy anything, what’s the point? Why do we worship waiflike models, when those models sustain their weight by eating tissues, taking appetite suppressants and effectively starving themselves. Or worse, eating and then throwing up through a distorted sense of guilt in fuelling their body (resulting in rotten teeth through regurgitating so much stomach acid).

Freddie Flintoff recently, and courageously, did a documentary about living with bulimia. The tragic thing for me is this gorgeous, ambitious man actually perceived himself as inadequate and fat. I think everyone watching was stunned that this beautiful individual, someone I suspect most men aspire to be, has such a distorted view of himself. Being thrown into the limelight so young and subsequently being slated by the media for being a bit chubby, was devastating for him. Why on earth did the journalists focus on something so trivial as body weight. He was an England Cricket captain for goodness sake!! Talent like that surely trumps a little extra weight… I hope our skewed picture personal value is changing… Well done to Freddie for speaking out.

I want the next generation to value themselves for themselves, whatever their ability, passions and achievements in life. Being thin is not an achievement. Being fat does not matter. What you do matters.

I have seen a few comments recently, notably in Jo Swinson’s book, suggesting that we should never compliment our daughters on their looks. I disagree. Beauty is important but there is not one type of beauty. It’s great to feel good about your body. It’s also great to feel good about your unique skills personality and ability. Let’s just have some balance please. Boys need to hear they look good too. Girls need to hear that they can achieve whatever they focus on, whatever their weight (even if like me they carry a little extra weight!).

Here’s to a freer physical future!

Love Ruth x

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