Mental Health & Wellbeing, Rantings

Body Shaming, Body Image, Body Confidence

so this is me – made up, posing for the camera, camera raised up to avoid multiple chins – i’d probably taken about 20 before this one that i shared publically

I am sick to death of being self conscious about my body.  Like every woman (and quite probably man) these days we are led to believe our body is not ‘good enough’.  So many businesses and industries rely on us not feeling ‘good enough’.

It’s always been the same, and what makes me really sick is many of the perpetrators of our bad body image, are women,  So many fashion designers, women’s magazine editors, cosmetic and makeup developers, are women. So many (most) people commenting on our fashion faux pars (are they even a real thing, if you want to wear it wear it , fucking hell!).  Comics and cartoons, movies, music videos, female music artist – all portray women as super sexy; unrealistically long legs; anatomically impossible small waists; disproportionately large eyes; gravity defying watermelon boobs;  hairless (except on the head which is abundant with flowing, thick, shiny, tousled hair).

juliet scarlet – lollipop chainsaw – top ten sexiest female computer game characters ‘thegamer’
the infamous jessica rabbit
check out Elsa’s eyes

And not even in comic, photoshop turns real women into achievable women

So many people who force models to be unhealthily, (if not dangerously thin and often anorexic) in order to model their clothes; are themselves ‘real women’, yet they feel the need to force this fake image on us.

even if you are already ‘gorgeous’, its just not perfect enough for our magazine industry
this plus sized model was photoshopped for a fake weight loss campaign
sadly this model, Ramos, died of anorexia related heart failure

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even the men don’t get away with it these days, with young men becoming more and more body shamed themselves.

 

 

 

We are led to believe we are too fat, too flabby, too blemished, too old, too wrinkled; too pale; too dark; too uneven.  We are sold false hope. And by bashing us with these constant unrealistic images and drip feeding us constantly with products and techniques to defy aging; to plump our lips/hair; to remove our hair ; etc etc, we are led to believe we are ‘not enough’ of a woman without taking on these products .  And when these products don’t work (because more often than not they can’t  I mean really read the marketing spiel… ” 79% of 84 women tested said they felt some improvement…”, for a start 79% of 84 is 66 and a third women, secondly who were their sample? Employees?  Felt?  That’s not a scientific word); we feel we have failed. skin care and make-up companies are always trying to persuade you to buy their expensive product by saying something that sounds vaguely ‘sciencey’,

check this post out about the bullshit sciencey crap these companies like to use to con you

I know people who pay a fortune to drink vials of collagen or  dab on ‘live’ stem cell creams. …Let me say this out loud… THERE CANNOT POSSIBLY BE LIVE STEM CELLS IN A CREAM YOU RUB ON YOUR FACE (or tit, bum, eye bags)  Stem cells cannot live outside of a very controlled environment.  THE ONLY WAY FOR YOUR SKIN TO LOOK YOUNGER IS TO STAY OUT OF THE SUN AND DRINK LOTS OF WATER. And even if you do all that , the years will eventually show, that’s part of life.  Check out this blog, its really a good-un, about stem cell bullshit.

Likewise diet pills or quick fixes.  Other than having a limb cut off or having fat surgically sucked from your body the only way to lose weight is to burn off more calories than you consume.

Anyway, I digress.  My issue is that the media, and industry have created an inadequacy within us all in order to sell shit so they can make money.  So the only place we’ll actually lose weight from is our wallet.  Keeping us miserable keeps them rich and makes us poor, not just financially but poor in self love.

And we should love ourselves.  Whatever our size, shape, colour, age; despite our scars, stretchmarks, blemishes; irrespective of our body shape, height, or thin/thick/straight/curly hair.

Our bodies are bloody miraculous.  They last us our lifetime.  They see us through growth from baby to adult. They stretch and contort and spring (ok slowly deflate) back after childbirth. They feed our babies or let us get to shops to buy things to feed our babies.  We abuse them with everyday life yet they support us.  If we burn they heal; the scar is evidence of their survival.  We laugh and frown  and our faces retain the memory of that raucous laughter in the form of laughter lines – why do we hate them, they exist because we are happy!  FFS.  As our bodies age, gravity kicks in but we never end up tripping over our tits (and for me, after 50 years and with a G cup at times, I personally think that’s a fucking miracle!).

 

i am ‘bigger in this picture but this one is an approved post one (because i thought , i can share this without a troll wanting to poke his own eyes out with a ball pen)
yet here I am in the same outfit on the same day , photo taken candidly, me looking like a beached whale (sorry trolls I shouldn’t even dare leave my house never mind hang out with my buddy HRH…)

It’s bad enough that the media and economy constantly pump us with self doubt and inadequacy but what about our peers, friends and family.  One elderly lady felt the need to point out to me how ‘fat I’d gotten’ since she’d last seen me.  A relative told my hubby to ‘keep me away from the biscuit tin’.  As it happens I’ve recently lost a bit of weight really.

It was for a few reasons,

  • I had a very negative body image per all the above
  • I’m getting on in years and am shocked every morning when I look in the mirror and its not the 18 year old me looking back
  • walking in stilettos made my feet hurt – you try adding an extra 3 stone onto a point less than 1cm square – and I bloody love my heels I have a lot of them – I want to wear them, not just to sit down in, I want to strut in them!
  • I was running out of clothes that fit and couldn’t afford new ones
  • I was running out of clothes that fit and didn’t like trying on or like the look of myself in any new ones (refer back to the beginning)
  • I wanted an excuse to cut down on drinking (yes, REALLY!!!)
  • Mainly it was because I felt it was affecting my health….
  • I was having to take antacid medication daily; suffering permanent heartburn
  • I was snoring so loudly I was waking myself up
  • My knees were starting to hurt
  • I was getting breathless and wheezy when I walked
  • I could barely breathe after bending to do up my laces

Now lets be clear, not one doctor told me or suggested I should lose some weight I just chose to as I felt it would help my wellbeing.  And it has.  And I’m still technically overweight; and according to those lovely little weight/height charts; still borderline ‘obese’ (now there’s a confidence booster if ever I needed one …)

Anyway I digress yet again;  starting writing this seems to have raised a few ‘issues’.

What really fucks me right off and has really really REALLY made me mad this week is, during tweeping with my buddies in Twitterdom, just how many are trolled and body shamed by strangers on line.  How the fuck dare a random fuckwit look at an innocent picture of a person and make a derogatory, pervy, negatively aggressive, downright rude comment. HOW FUCKING DARE they!

It’s bad enough that we don’t just celebrate our bodies for what they are and for the trials and tribulations they have seen us through; without some random troll being a …..well…random troll.

And it is this vain I am taking a stand for all of us women who only share pictures of ourselves (if ever) when we are dressed up; makeup upped; prepared and posing.

As terrifyingly scary as this is I am posting “warts and all” pictures of myself because I deserve to love myself.  My husband deserves for me to love myself.  My children and grandchildren deserve for me to love myself.  For christ sake, I’ve spent the last 20 years trying to raise my son to be happy in his own skin, to accept and love his imperfections, to cherish his uniqueness.  For the past 40 years I’ve tried to make my friends see beyond their insecurities, to worship themselves.  I owe it to everyone I’ve ever told to get a grip, that I get a grip myself.

So this is me…..

….And if you are a flakey sensitive troll sat there vomiting and feeling physically ill from looking at these images then you can piss right off.  Do you know how many fucks I’m going to give about you in the future.  As for my friends, they won’t care.  They love me.  They’re not offended by the packaging.  it’s the sweeties inside that matter

this is me – no makeup, saggy jowls, wonky eyes, bags – this would never get posted in public
and this is the “bad” me I was initially going to post because , whilst I hate it; wonky yellow teeth, saggy face etc, at least it’s not as ‘bad’ as the one next to this
and here is my (now smaller) but saggy gut and floppy arm pit.  this is how i often do my ironing, this or an old tshirt…
and just for this post here is me out in public wearing a swimsuit (shock horror call the police) to do some gardening at the front of my house
and, oh my god, I even had the nerve to bend down and photograph my giant thighs (someone have me arrested immediately- pass that troll a vomit bucket)… never mind my flappy old lady bat wings (maybe book the troll some therapy)

 

 

 

 

 

Cuddle Fairy

 

 

 

Lucy At Home UK parenting blogger

Mission Mindfulness
Mix It Up Linky

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

(27) Comments

  1. Dawn Taber says:

    Well said! I think you look fantastic but my opinion really doesn’t matter, we all should be happy in our skin without the vitriol of keyboard tossers! My son was scouted (twice) by two different modelling agencies. One, a famous international brand told him after taking his pics at their studios in London, that he needed to ‘ bulk up a bit’ his response (of which I was ridiculously proud) was ‘you scouted me, take it or leave it’ they also demanded that under no circumstances was he to have tattoo’s done!!! The point is though if he wasn’t such a strong character it could have easily sent him down the negative body image spiral. He is now in uni studying to be a Radiographer and I for one am delighted that he’s chosen a positive career, that puts others first and not that of a model (puppet) for a vacuuous harming industry.

    1. Berni Benton says:

      way to go your son x
      these scouts do it to girls (and boys) all the time. Theres an extremely naturally tall very thin young girl in town who often gets scouted – has done since 14. am sure you could almost join your hands around her waist, but they scout and then say lose weight ffs – what does that do to a 14 yr old girl
      Thanks so much for commenting Dawn. xxx

  2. I LOVE THIS POST!!!!

    1. Berni Benton says:

      thank you Bryony -xxxx

  3. Thank you Berni, for as always you’ve said what needs saying, and you’ve said it proud, loud and straight. I love your approach, your words and your photos. You are so right and we’re all so busy buying into the bullshit about the ‘should’ of life. We ‘should’ be thin, tall, successful, rich, kind, beautiful – oh yes and young forever too of course. Wonderful blog. Love you exactly as you are xxx

    1. Berni Benton says:

      thank you. and mostly I love me but there are always moments of self consciousness and insecurity. Sometimes because of my stubbornness it makes me want to act the opposite way just to spite… like being told ‘ oh Berni you do look so much nicer with your make up on.’ I mean don’t we all, but why the fuck should we unless we want to. Its great to slap on the slap from time to time. But let me tell you as someone who had skin disorders from the age of 13, that i could never and would never leave the house without full and think foundation (as a young teen i used something called ‘VEIL’; and full makeup, until I moved to Wales where people accept you entirely for the person you are rather than the things you own, wear and the way you look. not only liberating, but made me realise that people wouldn’t recoil in horror if I didn’t stick on mascara and that actually most people don’t even notice. xxxxx

  4. Berni, it’s a very superficial society we live in. I like your attitude. Even those of us who manage to keep thinking pretty well of ourselves, despite the constant barrage of things telling us we need to be taller, thinner, younger, better in every way, fall pry to the messages once in a while. I’m no longer a naturally model-thin twentysomething, but rather than focus on appearance I’m trying to stay focused on health. Two things I do for my health are: I never eat more than 25 grams (6 teaspoons) of sugar in a day and I do 16/8 intermittent fasting (fasting from 6pm to 10am, eating 3 meals between 10am and 6pm). Both things are so easy to do that I will keep doing them for the rest of my life. AND it doesn’t cost a penny!

    1. Berni Benton says:

      Hi Jean, thanks for taking the time to comment. Most of the time i don’t worry about what people think of me. I’m outgoing and confident. But its when i see photos of myself i get upset (only slightly) and then angry that i’m upset largely because of society and media pressure.

  5. It’s true that we are bombarded by such images. I am trying to get y daughter to not be over influenced. But things like the huge eyes in Disney are ridiculous too! I try to justify in my mind with the need for expression, whilst not going a bundle for too much Disney stuff. There are also too many blondes in my opinion.
    Don’t get me started on those selected for Love Island. ( fortunately my daughter is far too young for that)
    I love the pictures you’ve posted trolls can get lost. Ignore them!
    Best of luck with your new regime

    1. Berni Benton says:

      Hi Milli, thanks for your comments. i know we all grew up with unrealistic images in disney – but add to that, love island, music videos, social media, the pressure on our kids is enormous. If it rubs off on us ho can they possible cope with the constant barrage of pressure

  6. Berni – you are brilliant! I’ve loved getting to know you through your blog and, as you say, shape, weight, age, skin – that’s just the packaging (and actually pretty phenomenal packaging that looks after us everyday and gives us the means to live and enjoy life). Also, I think smiles are the most beautiful things anyone can wear and you have a lovely smile!

  7. Bloody awesome post Missus! I worry about my girls being fed all this rubbish. As an adult it’s difficult to dismiss, but for young girls (and boys) it’s almost impossible to ignore.
    As for you, Berni, you look fabulous xxx

    1. Berni Benton says:

      Cheers Lisa xxxx I’m not surprised you worry about your daughters , there is no getting away from the imagery. The world is a confusing place – on the one hand we talk about equality on the other we are constantly overtly sexualising women (and girls), their shape, their makeup, their looks. But I think these days boys have it tough too – i mean there were no such thing as male grooming products when i were young. Men washed with soap and splashed on a bit of deodorant and aftershave. Now body image is everything for them too, for the same reasons. All we can do is lead by example and be positive about our own flaws and normality.

    2. Berni Benton says:

      Lucy thanks, likewise been fantastic getting to know you. And i agree completely a genuine smile makes every face beautiful xxxxxx

  8. You are simply fabulous! It took me a decade or so of therapy and near death from anorexia to become comfortable in my skin. To hell with the world! Love yourself, that is all that matter. The rest gets easier! <3 M'wah! #blogcrush xoxo

  9. Just popping back again from BlogCrush – I think you’re right that the reason to lose weight should be because YOU want to – it’s nobody else’s business. I don’t think it ever really works if you’re doing it for someone else or because you feel “you should” – it’s only when you decide that it’s something that you really want to do. I hope it’s going well for you. #blogcrush

  10. Yes to this, we need to make normal good again instead of worrying if we look like them airbrushed models. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes X #thesatsesh

  11. #thesatsesh i love me and thats all that matters. I just read siena’s post (next to your in the linky) and her sister is battling with cancer….wobbles are irrelevant, a moving healthy body deserves to be worshiped and adored, without it we are nothing.

  12. This is a fantastic post. I love your attitude. I think more women are standing up and saying that body shaming isn’t right and that they feel happy and comfortable in their own skin, but there’s still some way to go before the trolls will shut up!
    #MixItUp

    1. Berni Benton says:

      we just have to keep shaming the shamers rather than feeling ashed ourselves. thanks xx

  13. Be healthy and be happy. Who cares what others think. They can pound sand! #mixitup

  14. Absolutely love this. You’re so spot on. How can we raise our kids to love themselves if we can’t love ourselves too? Subscribing to you now! Thanks for joining the #mixitup linky

    1. Berni Benton says:

      thank you xxxxx

  15. Berni, I do not even have the words to express how much I freaking love this post! Every word. Every photo. Every sarcastic quip. Every raw and real truth. You are amazing and beautiful! And frankly, I adore that shot of you ironing…and your underwear set is damn cute! I am so inspired by you right now! Thank you!

    Shelbee
    http://www.shelbeeontheedge.com

    1. Berni Benton says:

      Hi Shelbee. Thanks lovely lady – you make me laugh and smile so much with your blogs and comments . Great to hear from you xxx

  16. Brilliant post! im pinning this to my body positivity board on pinterest #mixitup

    1. Berni Benton says:

      thanks Claire xxxxx

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