When will we stop policing each others bodies and looks and realise that quite frankly, it is none of your business. I’m talking about that horrific piece of drivel published in the Daily Mail by bully, sorry I mean journalist, Linda Kelsey – Linda – who, the Daily Mail seem to be attempting to morph into some kind of Liz Jones replacement (no one can replace Liz Jones) – is more accustomed to writing, or shall I say spilling the tragedies of her life, making a quick buck on her string of divorces, near breakdown and whether or not she can manage to carry off grey hair (yeah it is all pretty deep). This week however Linda is body bashing and finding the very notion that someone who is, gasp, a size 18 and above can not only manage, in fact bear, to leave the house, but, can do so without spending the entire day, wailing ‘woe is me, I am not a size 10’.
The article (I use this term lightly) essentially details Linda’s disgust at a group of fat friends, who dared to go on holiday, bare some skin, to be on the same plane, heck the same airspace as Linda and the worst part is, they were happy with their lives – something – given the back catalogue of Linda’s journalistic career, she isn’t.
If you’re wondering what Linda wants? Well basically she wants you to carry around an appropriate level of shame according to your waist measurement. Linda thinks all fat people are unattractive – so if you’re fat and were holding out in the hope of getting with Linda, please move along – quietly – with your eyes (filled with shame) fixed to the ground.
While we all know obesity / plus size are hot topics – this open season for bullying each others bodies is simply unacceptable – whatever size you are it is nobodies business but your own.
Linda openly admits she is ‘fattist’ (how is this even a term?), objecting to the fact that being a size 18+ is unhealthy. “I am unapologetically fattist. It’s unattractive, it’s unhealthy and, given the problems that being fat can cause, it should be as unacceptable as smoking.” – Linda.
But that’s just it, smoking is far more acceptable, sure we have stopped people smoking indoors/work areas but just today I was subjected to someones second hand smoke at a bus stop and you know what, I object to it – but I have to put up with it. I don’t want your dirty, second hand smoke, it gets into my lungs, my hair; Although last time I checked, the food i’m eating goes to my hips not yours, it isn’t really a level playing field is it?
And while we are on the topic, when was the last time a smoker was heckled in the street – if this happens in your area i’d love to know because it seems to me that if someone wants to smoke and subject everyone to their lung clogging junk, it’s a-ok – but a woman’s size that doesn’t affect your health at all, it is open season. Double standards.
Linda continues by downplaying the troublingly influential size zero celebrity and model trend and the pressure it puts on young girls – suggesting that if they really were all that influential then every girl would be striving for Keira Knightley’s razor-sharp scapula and fried egg breasts or Victoria Beckham’s hand-span thighs and knife-edge hips. Again just simply showing her very poor and basic grasp of the whole subject and the psychology behind eating disorders. Although I am hardly surprised. While I have to agree with Linda – magazines and media aren’t to blame for eating disorders alone, they play their fair part in trying to teach young women what a woman should be, should look and skew our measurement of success and achievement considerably.
We have to remember that while we recognise anorexia and bulimia as eating disorders there is a dark corner of eating disorders that no one wants to talk about – comfort eating – simply seen as laziness or greed, while the other side of the scale is greeted with virtuous control and in many ways strength of character, sufferers are seen as highly driven while those that comfort eat have their health and mental health issues ignored. Which from my point of view is one of the clearest elements that is yet to be addressed properly.
Although obviously not all obesity is a result of an eating order or mental health issue just like not every skinny person is in the throws of anorexia.
While Linda recognises that often socio economic group clearly plays a role in our size and that our cheap, fast food culture carries a weight of responsibility for our growing bodies, what Linda and so many others fail to address is the availability of better, healthier and cheaper options. It is all very well telling everyone to eat better but there are so many who simply cant – it’s ok for Linda on her handsome, Daily Mail, freelancer rate, she can spew bile for England and by her veg at Waitrose but so many of the women and children she seems intent on attacking don’t have that luxury.
Linda rounds off with suggesting that it would be only fair to fatty bash, because skinny shaming has become ok. Maybe in Daily Mail circles it has, but from where I’m sitting right now, no one gets to police your body but you, especially when it doesn’t really encroach onto anyone else.
Although it is the last line that makes me weep the most…
‘One way to start might be by calling a fat girl a fat girl. No apology required.’
Ironically if Linda has ever bothered to read the paper she happily pockets cash from she would know that research has shown that highlighting a weight problem to a child in early years actually increases the likelihood that they will remain or gain significant further weight by their teenage years. It is never acceptable to attack a fellow human for their body shape or size, just as it is unacceptable to attack someone based on sexual orientation, skin colour or religion.
If your life hasn’t worked out the way you wanted it to Linda, I’m sorry about that, but don’t project your own negativity and shame feelings onto others.
Shaming fat women is nothing new, embarrassing and bullying women about their body shape is old hat, the taunts haven’t resulted in a nation of ‘perfect 10’s’. Bullying Linda is never ok – it is always better to make ourselves better by bringing ourselves up than being higher by pushing others into the gutter.