We all have imperfections and worries. Mine is that I care far too much about what people think of me. This doesn’t bode well with my other quality, the blessing (or curse – whatever way you look at it..) of having a massive, opinionated gob. I spurt opinions across social media and my blog in full force, rarely thinking of the repercussions, and always feeling proud that we live in a society where women are actually allowed to speak about their beliefs. Whether it’s my view on reproductive rights or Benefits Britain, I’ve always written it with the knowledge that controversial subjects are bound to instigate some opposing opinions.
However, I recently came under fire over some things I said about weight. It started when I wrote an article for The Debrief about plus-size fashion – an article that I am extremely proud of. The piece gives my top ten fashion staples that accentuate and flatter plus-size bodies, it was intended to support and guide women that may not feel confident in the way they look and need a little extra guidance from someone that has experience within that sector. However I was not expecting to receive the retaliation that I did. I got absolutely slated for it. I had written an article that week on my blog too, about my views on obesity. That, paired with the plus-size fashion piece, turned me into a victim of a witch-hunt, and in the end I chose to delete the blog post because I was having such nasty things written about me.
And as soon as I deleted the blog post I regretted it. I had allowed a small group of women make me feel like I could not have an opinion. I actually let people, who didn’t even know me, make me think that I was being a bully and that my opinion was invalid. Looking back, my blog post wasn’t tormenting plus-size women but in fact highlighting the growing concern I have towards obesity in the UK and how a lot of women who identify as ‘curvy’ are in fact extremely unhealthy.
However I can’t explain the hurt I felt when the abuse began. If it was someone who believed in pro-life, I would have given them as good I could get, or someone opposing my views on education reform I would have happily had a cheeky Twitter debate with them, not caring if it was opposed to what I said. The reason this hurt me so much was because it was such a personal topic, and one that was so close to my heart. The names that I was being called were the names I gave in my head to those who bullied me about my weight once upon a time. I had suddenly turned into that bully. I was the Fatist. I started to look at myself in a completely different way. Had I become a weight snob because I was now a size 10? Was I that former fat girl that took the piss out of bigger people when I know exactly how they feel?
It made me feel like I could never have an opinion again. Despite having a ton of supporters, their kind words were being overshadowed by the vitriolic comments I was receiving from those that I had offended. I was reminded by family that I needed to grow thick skin if I wanted to be in the journalism industry, but it was hard when I had suddenly become the hate victim of women that I could once relate to – and still thought I could.
It wasn’t until my boyfriend showed me a blog post I wrote back in February entitled ‘Why I Love Seeing Lena Dunham Naked’ that made me realise that these haters didn’t know me at all.
“You’re not a Fatist,” he said. “In this post you talk about how refreshing it is to see women of different shapes, heights and looks, and you still believe that don’t you?”
And of course I do! I am someone that is so passionate about embracing your body’s imperfections. I am someone that firmly believes that cellulite, stretch marks and pores should NOT be Photoshopped out of images that are persuading the consumer culture to believe in an idealised standard of beauty. I believe in REALISTIC beauty and weight, whether it be someone that is a size 4, or someone that is a size 18 – and this should be represented within the media. What my controversial blog post was trying to get across, is that there is a difference between someone being plus-size and someone being abnormally unhealthy – and I don’t apologise for having that view.
I think body confidence is such an important thing and I think far too many women think they are fat, or get called fat when they are NOT by any means. However I think being body healthy outweighs all of this. If it wasn’t for the fact that during a health check up I was told I was way above the average healthy BMI, I could have carried on eating myself to an early grave – just like what a lot of people in the UK are doing. We are all so aware of the health risks of smoking and damn people who have the habit, but why don’t we do the same about weight problems? We mollycoddle people in fear of hurting their feelings, and if someone does take action (Katie Hopkins being a prime example), then we’re suddenly hated for it.
I am not sorry for having an opinion that agrees with facts. In the UK alone, 64% of adults are considered overweight and obese and in the whole of the world 1 in 3 people are overweight. Do these statistics not terrify you? Our tiny island is one of the unhealthiest in the world, filled with heart disease and Type 2 diabetes that are caused by being fat.
So now, I am writing this blog post to say, I am not apologising for having an opinion. What I said was completely misconstrued to make people think I was hating on plus-size bodies, when in fact I celebrate healthy body images. There are so, SO many women in the UK who are size 16+ and are the picture of health, who regularly exercise and eat a healthy diet and there are so many plus-size bloggers out there who I ADORE, who prove that you can be healthy and plus-size and bloody hot. THESE ARE NOT THE PEOPLE I AM TALKING ABOUT. I was simply commenting on the growing obesity epidemic we are faced with in the UK and although I regret hurting some people’s feelings I cannot believe I was made to delete an opinion that I had because people were telling me to “die.” This will not happen again.
Disclaimer: I would just like to point out also, that the obesity epidemic I am discussing is in no way talking about those that are faced with weight problems due to health or disability issues.