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Leave Our Bodies Alone

If there’s one thing the media have become obsessed with over the last decade or so then it is weight. More specifically; women’s weight.

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve read an article where the sole purpose behind it is to either berate a female celebrity for being too fat or for being too slim.

And I am SICK of it.

I’m sick of the pressure being applied to women; any age, regarding their body image.

I’m sick of seeing the following words in the majority of articles; fuller figure, flaunting, showcasing her curves, yo-yo dieter.

I’m sick of women feeling like they have to conform to whatever body image is deemed ‘the norm’ by the media.

The subject of the body obsessed tabloid press this week was Big Brother alumni Chantelle Houghton.

Now, it’s not often I sympathise with Chantelle, the way she has courted the press over the years leaves me feeling anything but sympathetic for her. However, this week I read an article featuring Chantelle that, to be quite frank, boiled my piss.

The headline read “Yo-yo dieter Chantelle Houghton shows off slightly fuller figure just months after flaunting weight loss”. We almost made a full house of the aforementioned hated words with just the headline alone!

I don’t help myself you see, I am that idiot who always falls for the clickbait headline.  Before I can even say to myself “don’t do it, you’ll wind yourself up” I’ve clicked on it.  And of course, I’m wound up.

The photos included in the article of Chantelle were of her being papped whilst taking a walk.  She was wearing a jumper, leggings and trainers.  Walking alongside an older gentleman, seemingly unaware of the camera that was snapping away at her.  I say seemingly unaware because I’m always slightly cynical they’re set up pap shots and the celebrity in question is in on it.

Underneath the photo below were the words “Chantelle flashed her curves”

FLASHING HER CURVES.

They make it sound like she stripped down to her knickers and ran across a football pitch hollering “look at me everyone”.

And, dare I ask, where are these curves you speak of?

OK, if I squint hard enough I can see a hint of a slightly rounded tummy, but Jesus wept, aren’t us women allowed to bloat every now and again without being accused of having a slightly fuller figure? You should see the size of my belly after I’ve eaten a pizza when I’m due on my period; I look about 6 months pregnant.

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH CHANTELLE’S FIGURE.

These photos did not warrant a full article depicting her battle with her weight.

It looks like Chantelle has given up on her new year’s resolution” writes the journalist, who I’m hoping hated writing every word.  No one can be happy in their job writing that sort of bile can they?

The journalist continues…..

“Despite flaunting (there we go again) a slimmed down figure in November, Chantelle stepped out with a pal yesterday in a pair of black leggings and an unflattering green T-shirt that clung to her curves.”

Oh just fuck off.

For a start it’s not a green t-shirt, it’s a jumper you morons. And if my legs looked that good in a pair of leggings I’d be doing cartwheels down the street.

Also, I’d like to raise issue with the ‘clung to her curves’ bit, if anything it looks like that top is a little too big for her, so you can stick that in your pipe and smoke it an’ all.

What size do we have to be to please the media I wonder?  A size 8? A size 6? Or the much talked about size 0?

Is this what we want young girls to be reading?  A catty article calling out a woman for having a healthy body type? I worry that impressionable young girls could read the piece on Chantelle, look at their similar figure and feel like they have to do something about it.  All because some idiot journalist had nothing to write about that day so decided it was time to pick on a woman’s body just for clicks.

Last weekend there was much in the press surrounding the subject of anorexia.  Mark Austin; TV journalist, took part in an interview with a Sunday Times supplement to discuss his daughters experience with the illness.

I read it.  And it was hard going. However, I am very much of the opinion that anorexia is an illness that needs more awareness.

At the age of 17 I was a day patient in a psychiatric hospital.  Although I didn’t have anorexia, I did have a mental illness that meant I wasn’t eating properly.  There were patients in the hospital who did have anorexia.  Their plight was desperate.  They were very ill and would expect to be in that hospital for several months whilst they received the treatment they desperately needed.

The thought of any young girl feeling like they don’t conform to what is purported to be the ‘norm’ breaks my heart.  Anorexia doesn’t discriminate. And articles like the one I’ve written about today will not help with ensuring women and girls feel body confident.  It will only make them feel worse and that, I feel, is very dangerous territory.  Taking this into account, I can’t help but think the media have a responsibility here, a responsibility they’re not only shirking but they’re basically sticking a metaphorical middle finger to.

This Post Has 28 Comments

  1. Themotherhub.ie

    Can’t stand this bullshit either and try my hardest to avoid it now. Hate the way they always use that word ‘flaunt’ too . It’s never used in any other context

  2. Hamster McKenzie

    Great piece. I tend to not read the papers because of rubbish like this. It’s completely un-newsworthy. Had she stabbed a cat whilst out walking then yes, report about it, even take a picture, but at no point do her curves need to be mentioned!
    It’s the same for men too. Does ANYONE care about celebrities weight?
    Ooh you’ve made me angry now!
    Anyway like I said, good piece ☺

  3. This kind of thing enrages me. As someone who battled anorexia throughout my teens and right through into my thirties, I worry so much about my children reading this sh*t and heading down the same slippery slope that I did. I am all for promoting healthy eating, exercising and being aware of the health issues associated with obesity, but slating celebrities who look healthy (and happy for that matter!) is madness!! Thank god I was able to recover and yet there are days when I read crap like these articles and for a moment I get that familiar feeling of panic, that maybe I’m not good enough because I weigh more than 100lb. I could rant all day about it, but I won’t waste my breath, I just hope that my children feel the same! #bigpinklink

  4. Nige

    An excellent post Rach written in your usual direct way its a very irrating how the media portray how women should look when it’s not real life thank you for sharing #globalblogging

  5. This is so true! Who cares. I’m sorry you went through that at 17 but hope it is all ok now. I get annoyed at the shops sizes. For some I can be a size 8 and others a size 12-14. How is that possible? I stopped worrying about it a long time ago but it used to really bother me.
    #BigPinkLink

  6. Emmi

    I’m sick of it too! Struggling with my weight since the age of 10, now I’m almost 48..so wtf!! 😉 My body is my body and if someone out there doesn’t like it, then you are free to look away! 😉
    Thank you for sharing! #Globalblogging

  7. I’m a teacher and a mom, and have always tried to teach my children that their bodies are strong and wonderful. We need to break down these ridiculous stereotypes and let our bodies be healthy and strong, as they are meant to be.

  8. Kelly

    This is my pet hate. It’s so disgusting. They always say ‘flaunting’, when invariably the woman in question is minding her own business walking down the street. ARGH! #bigpinklink

  9. It’s heartbreaking that us girls, whatever our age have to keep up with fake photoshopped photos of people who are supposedly perfect. It is no wonder young girls are so stressed out about it! None of what the media portrays is perfect. And the things they say, are deplorable. Great read Rach! #globalblogging

  10. Well said! Who are these journalists to judge? You are absolutely right. it is a disgrace to see the amount of pressure our girls and us face on a daily basis. The “norm” has been forced upon us without any regard for our mental health. I hardly ever bother with reading these articles anymore. Leave our bodies alone! Thanks for linking with #bigpinklink

  11. It is extremely tiring seeing everything about women in the media somehow rolls around and mentions her looks. I wish the media would knock it off already! #bigpinklink

  12. Seriously these things really F me off! I really hate body bashing and I really hate the fact that people make out anorexia is some kind of choice or fashion trend, it is an illness and like you say a serious one. With a very very slim daughter I hate when people body bash slim girls labelling them as anorexic, or unwell, and with my other daughter having curves I hate people saying that girls like her are full figured. Just don’t comment on people’d bodies full stop. No one has the right to write about someone else body like that. I think if you are concerned about a friend or loved ones weight for good reason then yes speak to them, or if you are a doctor being asked a professional health issue regarding weight then yes comment. Otherwise people should keep their mouths shut. #mg

  13. I had to read this as I wrote on a similar issue this week with regard to teenagers’ perception of what is a good body image.. This was instigated by a debate at my daughter’s school and the unfortunate impact of the perfect bikini body image portrayed by the media on a young 13 year old known to us.. Our young girls are very impressionable and these kind of headlines are as you say very damaging. Great post. #bigpinklink

  14. No wonder we are all so hard on ourselves when this sort of crap is talked about in the press! Poor girl! Thanks for linking up #globalblogging

  15. “Jesus wept, aren’t us women allowed to bloat every now and again without being accused of having a slightly fuller figure?”

    You win the internet and life! Amen to this. The media is responsible. 100%. Back before the internet, waist trainers, and fad diets, women were just allowed to live without anyone giving a half a fuck about her curves or lack thereof. I was so born in the wrong era.

    #happynowlinkup

  16. I’m totally with you and am also so sick of every article about women including something about her figure, and usually negative in some way. #bestandworst xx

  17. Wendy

    Yes! The media definitely have a lot to answer for when it comes to this, I personally don’t read magazines etc as I can’t stand these kind of stories.xx #bestandworst

  18. If you’re a woman, you really can’t win. The deck is stacked against us. You’re supposed to be perfect, but not better than the man looking at you because God forbid he feels intimated. You have to show enough skin to not be a prude but not so much that you’re branded a slut. You have to be interested but playing hard to get. Just don’t play too hard to get or you’re a tease. Have a good head on your shoulders, but don’t use it for any meaningful purpose. Be confindent but know “your place”. It’s a miracle any of us get out of bed in the morning. #bestandworst

  19. I am SO with you on this, I think she looks great and I hate the media focusing so much on women’s weight, it really get s on my tits! Great post and well written as always, thanks for linking up to this weeks #bestandworst

  20. The pressure put on ladies to look like society’s idea of beautiful is too, too much. What if I don’t want to look like a covergirl model? Or an Instagram famous woman? Ugh. What ever happened to the good in variety? WHAT HAPPENED TO ORIGINALITY IN YOUR STYLE AND LOVING YOURSELF NO MATTER HOW BIG OR SMALL. I definitely hate the times and how they have changed.
    Thanks for linking up to #ShowMeYours

  21. Great article. I often wander who in their right minds can actually put ‘pen to paper’ to write that kinds of crap. Honestly. Are they all stick thin size 0s? I highly doubt it. Where are their ethics? Where is their moral compass? Are they parents? I highly doubt it. #showmeyours

  22. So tired like you of endless pressure for women. Chantelle looks lovely. I am so, so sorry you suffered with a mental illness which affected your eating. I had a very difficult relationship with food in my late teens and twenties not helped by struggling with PCOS. Sending love and thanks for writing this x

  23. Oh I can’t stand this! And people wonder why women have such anxiety about their weight with comments like this in the media. Good on you for writing this lovely – I absolutely agree. Thanks for sharing with #dreamteam x

  24. Dad

    Well said. I fear for my daughter and the messages she receives as she gets older. I just hope she realises how profoundly stupid such media coverage is. Posts like this help. Thanks.

  25. Part of the reason I refuse to read the papers is stories like this (the other being the other shit they spout). I am massivly overweight and have suffered an eating dissorder in the past (bulimia) and hate the obsessive judgeiness of the media over peoples weight. #bigpinklink

  26. I love this post. There aren’t enough words to deacribe how much I love you for writing it!!! #bigpinklink

  27. Drives me absolutly mad? I gave up reading the papers in the Uk because of it. Thankfully, here in NZ they seem more concerned with sport than women’s weight! Well written, a fabulous post!
    #bigpinklink

  28. Tubbs

    Oh good grief!! She looks perfectly normal, just leave us all alone!!!!!!! Another fab post 🙂

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