So I plucked up the courage to showcase some of my blogs to a writers help group on Facebook. As most of you know it can be extremely emotional and even painful to write about subjects we find difficult and of experiences that have caused us years of misery. This has definitely been the case with my blogs surrounding the issues of eating disorders, weight and body positivity.
It was therefore a proud moment for me, when I faced those inner demons who ridicule and tell me I am not good enough. I posted the link to my blogs and nervously awaited feedback.
I awoke the next morning with a smile on my face, the sun streaming gayly through the window, a bird on a branch started singing to me about how it would help me with my household chores…(hold on this isn’t a Disney movie) Well anyway the gist of that morning was that I woke up with a new sense of hope, a new sense of achievement, of winning. I bounced happily up the stairs to the living room (I live in an upside down house, the bedrooms are on the ground floor.) and checked on Facebook for the constructive criticism or praise that surely awaited me?
Then I was confronted with this….
Well John Lord, I can honestly say that whilst I welcomed criticism that I could take on to improve my writing , I didn’t, in all honesty, expect this to be what greeted me from my computer screen.
The first thing you feel when you read cruelty like this is shame. I admit, I do at times still feel shame when confronted about being plus-size, especially when it isn’t anticipated. If I enter into a debate knowing that I may be needing to defend people who feel marginalised or even my appearance, I can argue and discuss with the best of them but this really threw me. This attack was in no way written to aid in my future writing. it wasn’t concerned with my writing flow, the wording, the eloquence. It was written purely to hurt and perhaps provoke an argumentative response back. When tackling trolls such as this, I know that being responsive in a negative way actually relinquishes more of your power than it seeks to repair.
I consider comments like the above to come from someone who has a deeply hurt soul, someone who perhaps doesn’t have any self- worth themselves so seeks to diminish it in others. Now I can perfectly understand the opinion that what I write about isn’t to everyone’s taste and interest but to detail that it “isn’t story material” is simply denying someone their voice, to try and attempt to shut a person and their experience down. It is basically saying that my story is not valid or worthy because I may be seen as “disgusting” to some. This ideology MUST change! We can not allow this marginalisation to continue. The mainstream media, film, television and advertising world promote the notion that you have to look a certain way to even be listened to or taken seriously. Now there has been some amazing progress in some instances, such as the amazing Tess Holiday adorning the front page of Cosmopolitan or the emergence of a greater diversity in the modelling world, but at the moment it almost seems like most people consider this as a novelty rather than as part of the norm.
It is evident also that acceptance of anything but the mainstream ‘ideal’ has a hell of a long way to go. I often see comments in online newspapers which fat shame the celebrities that are being written about. so much hatred poured onto the comments section of an activist on Instagram and the role of plus size actresses only ever being a comedy one. Take Amy Schumer for example or Melissa McCarthy. Now I know that they started off as comediennes but it would be wonderful if they were given the opportunity to branch out into different roles, but still, it seems, that society ,as a whole, has a problem taking larger people seriously.
Every day I feel more inspired and driven to activism by such people as the aforementioned Tess Holiday or the brilliant Megan Jayne Crabbe (BodyPosiPanda) who has written some utterly fantastic stuff on Body Positivity.
It is evident sadly, that what we campaign so tirelessly for has not reached a wide enough audience, that some members of society still feel it necessary to voice their opinions that fat equals gross, that just being you is not good enough, that unless you look like what they want you to, you shouldn’t be given the platform to be heard. I hope for the day when the whole of society embraces each other for our inner merits, not base their opinions on the outer. Which is why I will not let people who bully me win, I will not be silenced by those who seek to shut me up. I shall continue to feel inspired and spurred on by those lovely activists around me who campaign for a better world and more diverse representation. I will still write and if I want to stuff my face with doughnuts while I do so, I bloody well will!