I haven’t blogged in a while. I was hoping to kick back off with something wonderfully witty or deeply interesting, but Now Magazine changed all that when I saw a Tweet containing an image of the vile bodyshaming cover from their 10th December issue. And so this was born…
Dear Now Magazine,
I’m writing to you for some advice. I’ve seen your 10th December cover, so I’m pretty sure you’ll feel qualified to offer some guidance here.
I have this daughter, you see. She’s 21 months old, and she’s quite possibly the most wonderful little girl I’ve ever met. She has enormous brown eyes and a wild mane of curly hair. She has a wicked sense of humour and a huge, loving heart. She has a squidgy little bum and an adorable little dimple in each thigh. And therein lies my problem.
I wondered if you could please advise me when would be a good time to stop telling her she is a beautiful human being, and start encouraging her to feel shame and worthlessness over the squidginess of her bottom and those adorable dimples in her thighs? Perhaps I should start now? Or maybe I should hang on until she starts school so she can benefit from your tried and tested method of measuring her self worth against the shape of her peers’ bodies? Or maybe I’m being silly. Maybe none of this is necessary until it’s time for her to bag herself a boy who’ll love her despite these hideous body flaws… I do hope she’ll be suitably grateful.
I’ve taken on board the message of the cover in question, but I’m still a little bit confused. Am I supposed to look at these women and feel smug that my body is nowhere NEAR as hideous as theirs? I hope not, because mine is worse. Perhaps I’m just supposed to look at it and be reassured that other women have such hideously normal bodies too? Phew. It’s so helpful of you to show me some other women whose achievements in life are also null and void because they have a wobble, dimple or love handle.
Here’s the thing. I’m carrying a few extra pounds. Curvy, cuddly, voluptuous… Whatever your choice of slightly condescending adjective is, I’m it. You’d probably describe me in one of your horribly patronising articles as a “real woman”. Well, I identify as a woman so I guess that does make me a real woman. Yep, I’m all of those things and yet somehow, astonishingly, I’m actually not worthless. I made three actual human beings. Grew them, I did, inside my wobbly tummy. I’m surrounded by people who love me and whom I love. Can you believe that? I have cellulite and people actually love me?! Wow. Who’d have thought? I have a great job, nice hair and I’m happy. Is that even allowed?
Sure, I wouldn’t mind losing a few pounds. In the meantime though, I’m going to take myself off to the kitchen for another slice of the better-than-sex cake I baked, and leave you to obsess over other people’s bodies whilst they just enjoy being in them.
P.S. Don’t bother answering the question about my daughter. I figure it’s just easier to love her and teach her to love herself. It’s not a wobbly bottom or dimply thighs that stop you being beautiful, it’s making yourself feel good by publicly shaming other people’s bodies that’s truly ugly