For the past 100 years women in the western world have faced body guilt spurred on from staring at photos of celebrities.
It’s made us feel like we look like gigantic balls of flesh-coloured slime. Hasn’t it?
But, when we really think about it, we KNOW that they spend hours of their days with personal trainers, have chefs that whip them up homemade sushi and juices and protein pancakes. We have the fallback that although their bodies look like everything ours don’t, it’s fine because they have the time and the money to invest in their bodies in a way nobody in the real world ever could.
Or so we thought.
Enter social media.
Hands up how many of you have, this summer, seen a friend or acquaintance post a bikini pic on Facebook or Instagram that has made you, stretch marks, tree trunk thighs and all, feel like some sort of humongous beast of the sea?
Yup. Whereas before it was just celebrities eating egg white omelettes in LA making us feel bad about our bodies, now it’s our friends. Goodie.
It’s worse because we know they are normal. They are us. They have a full-time job, a normal salary, the will-power of your average human being and not some psychotic fame-hungry celebrity.
How are they affording daily juices from Crussh? How can they be bothered to get up at 6.30am for a spin class? Why are they eating chicken, cottage cheese and avocado on a Tuesday evening rather than a Dominos? And mostly, why the Hell aren’t you doing all of the above?
I’ll admit I just seem to be getting fatter and fatter and losing less and less interest in going to Pilates and more and more interest in eating carbs for dinner everyday.
I’ve lost the will to compete against all the people who managed to stick to their diet and exercise plans and now actually show off their midriffs on a day-to-day basis, who don’t have to wear size 14 skirts because of their vastly growing gut.
Obviously with social media comes clever angles and filters that help add to the overall illusion. A modern-day, available to everyone, version of Photoshop.
Whilst I’m sure my body doesn’t instill guilt in many people, I can admit my social media accounts probably don’t make people feel pleased about their lives either. Yes I’ve been on three holidays this year, yes I have a lovely boyfriend and a cat, and yes I have a dream job. But I also have huge body hang ups, suffer terrible loneliness and am forever fretting about credit card bills and unpaid overdrafts.
So, whilst we can’t stop people proudly showing off the results of their clean eating and personal trainer, we can start remembering that your body doesn’t have to define you.
Whilst it’s important to be healthy and not overweight (my BMI currently states obese, which is a joy for all) there are also so many things that are more important in life than having a thigh gap.
So many things.
So don’t cry and roll around in your bed with guilt because you wanted to catch up on Orange Is The New Black instead of going to the gym on a Monday night. Life is hard enough as it is, without beating yourself up for not putting in the effort to look like Miranda Kerr.