I’m going to be blunt. I am absolutely sick of seeing adverts asking me if I’m ‘beach body ready’, telling me I can be ‘ready for the beach’ in ‘just 12 weeks’. They are everywhere. On my Twitter timeline, invading my Facebook feeds, popping up on Tumblr, piping through Spotify adverts, looking at me from billboards; literally everywhere.
I don’t know where this ‘beach body’ concept came from. Who on earth sat in a marketing suite one day and decided that this was a thing. We don’t have a ‘work body’, a ‘school body’ or a ‘going on a walk body’, so why on earth should we have a ‘beach body’?
Another thing bothering me is ‘fat talk’ and ‘diet talk’. You know what I’m talking about, the women you walk behind on your way home discussing ‘slimming’ dresses and lamenting over the curves which make them so unique. Boys on the bus competing over their protein intake; lusting after muscles and six packs. Teens in a café whispering calories and ‘diet tips’ to each other.
Have we reached the point in society where our lives are so uninteresting that we have to fill our time discussing largely irrelevant numbers? Do we have nothing better to talk about than the most recent ‘celebrity diet’? Are we that boring that our calorie intake is the most interesting thing that has happened to us all day?
I’m by no means exempt from this. I’ve engaged in ‘fat’ talk and been in conversations about diets more times than I care to remember. As a 21-year-old girl, it would be almost impossible to avoid. I’m not a great lover of my body. I stare in the mirror and pick out flaws the same as anyone else. I don’t look after it properly or treat it with the respect it deserves. I, too, am guilty of skipping meals, attempting to live solely off kale (that lasted a few hours…) and naming certain food groups ‘bad’.
One thing I’m slowly learning, though, is that our bodies are awesome. My body ran 5k with my friends in the Race for Life this weekend. Mum’s body went into a coma and a few months on it’s still enabling her to share moments with us and to smile. Dad’s body let him push Mum’s wheelchair around a muddy field so she can cheer us on this weekend (even if he did hit a pothole and almost send her flying…).
Our bodies do so much for us every single day, most of which we don’t even notice. We only really notice when they go wrong, or when we don’t like a bit of them, is there any wonder we’re not a fan of them if that’s all we see?
Imagine what would happen if you replaced the diet talk you engage in over your carefully calculated lunch with a discussion about your upcoming holiday, your child’s latest masterpiece, your parent’s most recent ‘senior moment’. Try it, just for one day, ban any sort of ‘diet’ or ‘fat’ talk from your office, your house, your social group, your classes… wherever it is you spend your day. Go just one day without negative body talk and see if it makes a difference to how you feel.
I hope that it does. I hope that it inspires you to continue to ban negative body talk. I hope that we can work together to create a generation of children who love their legs for letting them run rather than hating them for their cellulite. Who appreciate their stomachs for being able to carry children (or a couple of milkshakes) rather than hating them for ‘sticking out’. Children who love their arms for being able to hug a loved one rather than hating them for having ‘bingo wings’.
Let’s reject these ridiculous adverts and articles. Every time you see one, click that little ‘x’ in the top right corner. Let’s stop buying into the media’s perception of ‘perfect’. Let’s appreciate our bodies for what they are rather than hating them for what they’re not. Most importantly, let’s create a generation who love themselves for who they are and don’t need some CEO, who makes a living by exploiting people’s insecurities, to tell them they’re awesome.