It’s been a bit of a bodyfull week hasn’t it?
Poor old, dippy Jamelia, managing to elevate herself from her Tim Nice But Dim status to the Arch Enemy of All Peoples Not Average, then the amazing outpouring of body positivity – and stunning, empowering photos – under the WeAreTheThey hashtag. We also had Protein World’s utterly rubbish “Are you beach body ready?” posters.
You’ve got a body? Put it on a beach. There. It’s ready.
Edit: Protein World have been ‘fighting’ back, by which I mean insulting women on Twitter. Their monetary status has been leaked online. It’s not going well, despite their saying sales had tripled. The Lads are out in force on Twitter too. The CEO has been blocked and reported many times, and told that his Tweets contravene the 2010 discrimination act. It all went a bit quiet after that. It seems that the misogyny loving part of the Top Gear audience got bored, and went and found Protein instead.
38,416 signatories on a petition to remove the ad. Not just a minority, as Protein World claims.
Edit 2: 24 Apr 2015 from the petition originator:
The ASA has acknowledged the scale of the complaints and has requested that I remove the link from the petition page as further complaints delay their assessment process.
They are currently looking into the complaints and will be assessing them shortly.
Then we had the blogs following on from ProTwat World, and the discovery of Curvy Con, and more blogs, and more articles. So many of them that I can’t keep up, mostly espousing the same idea.
PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE, M’KAY, QUIT PICKING ON US.
I will state, right here, and for the record, that I am fat. I am a size 24/26, nominally, and I am ABSOLUTELY HAPPY WITH THAT. I am not ashamed, though I used to be when I was younger. I learned not to be. Why be ashamed of something so natural?
I am not constantly criticising my body. It lives, it breathes, it keeps me alive. I have a chronic illness which could kill me, so I am grateful for every damned moment that my body keeps doing what it does. Weight, size and shape are not my main concern. Some days, whether I can feel the floor, or feel my fingers, or still see, those are my concerns.
I will always tend to the fat viewpoint, because that is my experience, BUT skinny people have it hard too. They aren’t being blamed for the downfall of the NHS, admittedly, but they still get catcalls, and still can’t find clothes to fit.
We had blogs right after Jamelia made her ill-advised blaarting. This blogger here started off the WeAreTheThey hashtag. http://www.wannabeprincess.co.uk/2015/04/dear-jamelia.html
That hashtag showed us Instagram covered with outpourings of gorgeous, happy, confident people shouting out HEY IT’S ME! I DON’T FIT IN YOUR NORM AND I DON’T CARE! Twitter filled up with photos, with comments, shouting and laughing and yelling about how good people felt about themselves, and why should they hide away? There was a lot of anger, too. And more that an soupçon of Jamelia’s gone all Daily Mail on us, what a shame. She admitted she felt huge pressure to be thin again after she had her babies, and yet here she is, pressuring others. I assume that we are game because we don’t have an ‘excuse’?
Then we had more crossness after she tried to backtrack. It failed. Posting a photo of yourself on Instagram, showing how slim you are, and just saying “Anyhow…” really doesn’t help your cause. Whatever that cause was. Which I am still not sure about.
She claimed health, and the “I’m a mother” one, but nobody else’s health is really her business. The nation’s health is none of her business. Blaming the NHS problems on fat people is just old, tired and sad. Why don’t we blame it on all the drunk people who need looking after every single weekend too? Oh yes, and the ones who do dangerous sports as well, what about them? She cited appearance based judgement. For a woman of colour, that is outrageous.
I do find it peculiar that a woman of colour should advocate the idea that people outside a certain norm should go elsewhere. But it’s okay, really, because extra fat and extra thin are all lifestyle choices, of course! We can just change if we want to. Eat more pies! (Many thin people do eat more pies, you know.) Eat fewer pies! (Many fat people don’t eat pies, you know.)
I have a friend who eats chocolate, and biscuits, and all the things, but her weight and very slender shape stay the same. Why? BECAUSE THAT’S HER SHAPE, and you know what? There are hardly any high street stores that cater to her figure, and NONE that make bras for her. She’s got a better chance in clothing than I do, but it’s still not that much better.
Many fat people eat exactly the same foods as the ‘normal’ sized people, but their shape stays the same. BECAUSE IT’S THEIR SHAPE. I may eat exactly the same as the thin person next to me on the train, yet I stay this shape. I’m also the one who’ll get asked if I should be eating that. Or told I don’t need it. Or have “Maybe buy a salad?” suggested to me. You can probably guess how that goes.
Oh, and while we’re at it, I am NOT going to get into the “Well, it’s fine. They can’t help it, they’re fat/thin because of [illness/medication/disability].” I am not going to excuse my body to salve other peoples social consciences. I’m fat, get over it.
There are elements of The Good Fatty/skinny to that. You’re fat but trying to lose weight. That’s a good fatty. Oh you’re eating very well! There’s a good little skinny person.
Then we had more, like this bit of sense from Jameela. http://jameelajamil.co.uk/post/117072957765/thank-god-im-not-jamelia
I would only make one edit to that piece.
“Firstly, I am willing to agree with her that extreme body sizes aren’t often a sign of the best health. But they exist for a reason. Those reasons far transcend what they can and can’t find on the bloody high street. Many weight issues stem from illness, be it physical or indeed emotional – and some people are just the shape they are, and it’s none of our business. End of story.”
The whole thing made the Metro on Thursday.
This morning I read a most marvellous open letter. It said many of the things that have smacked me repeatedly in the thorax for a few years now.
This part hit me right in the feels, as the young folk say.
#ImNoAngel only shows ONE shape while redefining the sexy plus women; that shape being the traditional hourglass: a body with a waistline considerably smaller than a larger bust and hips. This is almost always (and is, in this case) accompanied by a flat belly. This shape is ubiquitous in plus-size modeling and some say that only showing one type of body isn’t an issue (after all, at least they’re plus-sized and on the F train, right?!?), but I disagree and would like to share with you a little bit about diversity and why it’s more important than you think.
I have lost count of the times that I have eagerly looked at a curvy girl website, only to find that these gorgeous ladies are…well, beautiful, but also societally acceptable. Nipped in waist, flat stomach, wide hips, rounded bosoms.
Me? I’m a kind of lumpy hourglass, with added bits. I have what my osteopath calls a wasp waist, which sounds fabulous, but what it means in reality is that I can never get jeans that fit, and I have lower back problems.
It is what it is.
I am glad to see such an outpouring. I have a niggling suspicion that the lady who started all this off is hiding an unhappiness with her own self, under all this bollocks, but it may be that she is just a fool. She has certainly shown herself to be one. Either that or she was hoping to play the Katie Hopkins card just to get attention. Well, she most definitely got that. I expect Loose Women’s ratings will have shot up, so in the end, they got what they wanted.
Now we come to the other thing that really bothers me. Offtrack, maybe, but that’s how my brain works.
The amazingly wonderful Lynda Bellingham was on Loose Women. She has always been the epitome of curvy style and grace for me, and I admit to having a girlcrush on her for years. Due to the aggressive cancer treatment she had, she became very thin, very fast. Each time I read about Jamelia’s words, it screams in my head that Lynda would probably far rather be curvy, or skinny, and HERE, then have the thinness that cancer imposed on her, and eventually took away. And yes, I cried, and I still cry for her now. Every time I see a Tweet from Mr Spain, I well up. He misses her so.
This is how I will remember her – and she didn’t fit into Jamelia’s norm either.