First let me wish you all a rocking 2017 and start my year with a pretty personal blog. I never discuss my body image as I do not see it’s relevance however….
For the past week I have been in the midst of a media storm after I dared to express my opinion on the comments Tom Jones made about the first winner of The Voice Leanne Miller. He blatantly fat shamed her by saying the reason she did not make it as a star was because she refused to trim down and had let herself go. She is a UK size 14 by the way?? Hardly obese.
Despite being trolled on Twitter and via my blog and called fatty, a shocking role model, a fat cow and an ugly moaning feminist I stand by my view that his comments were inappropriate and irresponsible. However, I also know his view is shared by many men of his generation and more, indeed I was raised by a father who had the same views as Tom on women ie their key purpose is linked to their appearance. My father believed and constantly told me I would never be respected, loved or successful due to my weight gain in my late twenties. More so he blatantly expressed his shame at my appearance on many occasions. However, let’s be clear, the difference between my father and Sir Tom is that my father has never been in a position to influence thousands if not millions of young women (and men) with his Neanderthal views.
If we constantly tell girls the most important thing about them is their appearance and no matter how talented they are unless they confirm to a certain ‘male view’ on beauty their career will stall we can expect more mental health issues, more low self-esteem and more eating disorders any time soon.
I will say again and again, as many times as I have to – your dress size has nothing to do with your ability to sing nor does it hamper you in the majority of professions unless you are pursuing an Olympic Gold Medal or a modelling career.
Yes I am fat but this is not the only facet of my identity. It does not define my entire existence, it is simply a characteristic like blue eyes or knobbly knees.
Fat shaming is not big, not clever, not funny and not acceptable. Why do we consider fat people fair game for ridicule and insulting behaviour. No one knows the complex issues surrounding someone’s body image so let’s not assume they are fat because they are lazy or not committed or complacent in their appearance or motivation.
Fat shaming is ignorant and whilst I accept everyone is entitled to their opinion, if you are in a privileged position of influence am I asking too much to suggest you consider the damage your barbed words can effect before you open your mouth?