Growing up as a consumer of pop culture and women's magazines, there was only one body type to have: skinny. As a result we have a generation of perfectly proportioned women too embarrassed to get into their bikinis, flitting between fad diets and having internal battles when faced with their reflection in the mirror.
The author of a report says we should avoid calling people fat and should use the term overweight or obese instead. As a fat bird, I disagree. The one thing I need as a fat person is tough love. I put this weight on intentionally and it will be a struggle to lose it.
My brother wrote about his experience of having a sister with an eating disorder and it literally broke my heart into a million pieces. I wanted to share with you all his own words, because this is a family disease!
Leaving my parents and the comfort of my home was the first wrench. Entering the playground felt more like walking into a battlefield. Seeing the different groups, the popular, the pretty, the sporty and then finally the geeks - where I usually ended up. The next obstacle was walking into class and praying someone would sit next to me.
Until I was about ten years old I'd always been happy taking my clothes off. Then puberty hit and that was taken from me. Gradually my body became a loaded space, protruding with curves, inciting cat calls from strangers, inciting uninvited hands on me. The gaze and comments of strangers sexually objectified me long before I was a sexual being. My body no longer felt like a safe home.
I wasn't offended or upset that they didn't like my body in particular, rather I was upset for all the women out there that society has been telling are not good enough if they are not extremely thin. This led me to the question of "how did we get here?" It wasn't so long ago that Marilyn Monroe was celebrated for her beautiful curvy body. Fast forward in time and we are here, where beauty is equated to being thin.
The world is watching and analysing the physiques of women in the public eye as a kind of first-world sport, and hypothesising obsessively about their diets, feeding the consciousnesses of young girls with drivel about who they should be and what they should look like and telling them they really should care an awful lot about those things, or else.
Not all women size 16+ are unhealthy. Just as a starting point you might want to make a not of the fact that women are all shaped and sized differently which result in different dress sizes and in a high street that sizes everything on a whim what is a 16 anyway?
There is no shortage of lists online that can give you recommendations of blogs to read and bloggers to pay attention to. These lists always contain my favourite bloggers and it's great to see other people enjoying them too!
I can't remember a time in which I wasn't obsessed with my appearance. There is a harsh, vindictive little critic who sits on my shoulder and breathes his bile into my ear incessantly... He tells me I'm grossly overweight, unattractive, and undesirable. He turns my head towards every reflective surface and excoriates every lump, bump, crease and curve, imagined or otherwise... I no longer feel I have any concept of what I actually look like.
There are other beliefs out there too however and these are the ones that I want to discuss today; specifically in relation to fat women. The kind of beliefs I am talking about are the darker side of the fat hating culture; the kind that people, men in the most part but also women, do not admit exist. So what are they?
In a quest to help the nation slim down, last week saw me enter a mass of debate about size 16 mannequins. Surely in a time when many women want to lose weight for health and confidence reasons, bouncing up size 8 mannequins to a size 16 is not ideal.
Today, we're looking at a society of females prepared to go to extreme lengths to comply with the so-called ideal - an ideal which is realistically unobtainable for most. Alba's tight-lacing routine was a response not-only to the pressure desire to achieve an hourglass figure, but also to trim down to her pre-baby weight in record speed.
In a society transfixed on appearance and perceived beauty are we fighting a losing battle? Will there ever be a time when fat people can walk down the street without being verbally and physically abused. Will we stop being the butt of jokes on panel shows and sitcoms? And when will a fat woman take the romantic lead in a film without having to be funny or tragic?
What would you say if I told you that the reality of being slim can be scary and therefore we sometimes resort to being fat, either regaining weight or holding onto our extra weight?
What you wear affects you psychologically. It can profoundly alter your mood. It also influences how others respond to you. And the visual illusion created by cut and fabric dramatically changes the appearance of your body. Your clothes can affect your job prospects, your love life and even your self-image.