Growing up I hated my body… and this is the first time I’ve ever actually talked about it. My mother was a model. She was (and still is) beautiful, slim, well put together, everything you would expect a model to be. When I was very little I could walk down the toiletry aisle in the supermarket and see her face on shampoo bottles.
I am 5’8 (and have been this height since I was about 13). I am by no means a skyscraper but I am definitely not short. I also happen to have quite wide shoulders for a girl… This made me a fantastic swimmer but you would never describe me as petite. I still remember the day I had to buy a bigger trousers size then my mother… I was only 14.
Now no one ever said anything about my size but I always felt HUGE standing next to the pretty and petite girls I went to school with. When the teachers lined us up in height order, I was always at the back with most of the boys in front of me. I hated it. I spent most of my life in baggy clothes, I never dared wearing a skirt. I dreaded wearing a bikini. I wanted to hide.
The truth? I wasn’t fat. I wasn’t HUGE. I wasn’t any of the things I thought I was. I was just different to my mum and the girls in magazines. I was built to be strong, not petite, and now I am completely ok with that. I actually love that about myself. Looking back at photo’s of myself in high school I cringe thinking of all the things I didn’t dare try because I was too shy, too embarrassed, too unconfident.
So you can imagine my complete and utter fury when I saw a post recently on Facebook about normal sized mannequins. This is an old picture and story, originally shared back in 2010 by swedishmannequins.com, but it still makes my blood boil.
A department store in Sweden introduced “average-sized” mannequins. Instead of the usual size 00, these mannequins are a size 12 and 16. The funny thing is, there were some people who responded to the mannequins saying they “promote obesity”. The fact is, the average woman is around a size 14. This is what the mannequins look like:
So, I take great offence to this. In fact, I think it’s pretty safe to say I was pissed off! I am a size 12 and I weigh 63kg’s (and no I don’t give a shit if you know that about me). For my height, I am healthy. I eat healthily, I run, I swim and I do yoga. It’s taken years for me to truly love and accept my body, and now that I have done that, it completely pisses me off to think that there are some small minded people out there that think it’s appropriate to make size 00 the size for young girls to aspire to! Can you honestly tell me that size 00 doesn’t promote an unhealthy body image?
Having a healthy body is relative to your height and build. The only person who size 00 would be healthy for is a girl who is petite and probably 4 foot nothing.
My point on all this ‘body image bullshit’ was further reinforced by an image mishap released by Victoria Secret recently where their model had only been Photoshopped on one side of her body. Ladies, bum-cheeks are natural and sexy (that’s why everyone who is 15 is currently wearing shorts that have half their bum-cheek sticking out!). This is the image I am talking about if you haven’t seen it yet:
Can someone please tell me why we are promoting something that is clearly unobtainable?!
Therefore, I have decided to share one of my own holiday photo’s with you in the hopes that you will embrace your curves, your weight and your height. This is me, on the beach in Greece. No make up. Mismatched bikini. The darkest tan I am able to get (and yes, I am aware that I don’t go very dark – you should see me without one!). And no – I AM NOT PHOTOSHOPPED OR EDITED IN ANY WAY!!!
I am sharing this because I want you to live a HEALTHY life and have a healthy body. You need to understand that your shape is beautiful, regardless of what that shape is and as long as you can honestly say that you are healthy and happy with the way you are, and looking after the body you have, then that’s ok. You only have one body and it’s got to last you your WHOLE life. You don’t have to tell me or anyone else. You don’t need to listen to the rubbish published by mass media. You just need to be honest with yourself. Your goal in life should be to look after your body and feel confident in your own skin… and if you’re not there yet, keep popping back here as I will be sharing loads of inspiration for you in the coming months as well as my story. Or just send me an email. I would love to hear from you!