A bodybuilder has been called out for sharing two Instagram posts with her 17,000 followers in which she “body-shames” a woman in the gym.
Diana Andrews (@missdianaandrews) shared a photo of a woman on a treadmill on her Instagram story with the caption “love handles”, followed by a separate post in which she implies that the woman is “ordering burgers for delivery”.
Andrews’ Instagram account is now set to private, however the photo was shared on a women’s Facebook support group with the caption: “This is why most people hate going to the gym to try and better themselves.”
The bodybuilder’s actions have since been slammed by body positive campaigners for “reinforcing harmful beauty standards”.
Body positive blogger Megan Crabbe, 24, from Essex, branded Andrew’s Instagram post as “disgusting”.
“I wish people like Diana would realise that tearing someone else down for how they look, won’t make you feel any better about yourself,” Crabbe, who is a carer, told The Huffington Post UK.
“All it does is reinforce harmful beauty standards and continues to make women believe that we exist to be in competition with each other for the prize of ‘most beautiful’. We don’t. There’s room for us all and the shaming has to stop.”
Women in the UK have one of the lowest body confidence scores in the world, according to a report by Dove, with only 20% of us saying we like the way that we look.
What’s more, over half of women (56%) globally recognise that social media drives negative body image.
Emmy Gilmour from The Recover Clinic, which helps treat people with eating disorders, said social media acted as an “enabler” in this instance.
“It’s likely that the woman posting these pictures was being rewarded by her audience,” she explained.
“This is a really tragic example of a how society has conditioned women to judge and compare one another. We’re living in an era where it’s normal to tell women that they’re inadequate, and that they must apologise for how they look.
“The solidarity between women is breaking down, when really, we should be supporting one another no matter the shape, size or weight.”
Bisi Adewumi, who appears in the latest This Girl Can campaign advert, knows just how difficult it can be to muster the confidence to hit the gym.
“When I first started going to the gym, I felt intimidated and out of place,” she said. “I didn’t feel confident because I didn’t look like other women and wasn’t wearing the same clothes.”
Adewumi added that while she still sometimes gets nervous about going to the gym, overall she has found it to be “a really supportive place” and said people shouldn’t be put off going.
Her advice to those who are worried about working out publicly is simple: “Focus on yourself and what you’re doing. You belong there too. Your goal is you feeling better. That’s what really matters, not what other people think.”
Crabbe shared some words of encouragement to the woman who was targeted by Andrews, too. She wrote: “There is nothing wrong with your body, the only thing wrong here is people thinking your body is their business to comment on and judge.”
Andrews later responded on Snapchat, writing:
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been modified to clarify terminology used to refer to the events at issue, which solely involved two Instagram posts about one unnamed and unidentified woman.