Let’s Talk Rory Gilmore- Gilmore Girls


To many quiet, introverted, bookish teenage girls, Rory Gilmore was their idol. Sweet, smart, and extremely attractive. Whilst capable of being loved by everybody whom she encountered, without needing to attend any of the hot high school parties or be the loudmouth of the class. No, instead she would spend her lunches sitting alone, reading, while at weekends she would hang out with her Mum. And it was all ok, because, unlike her “frienamy” Paris, she would never say anything that would provoke any conflict between her and her more outgoing peers. Yet there is another side to her, which made fans of the later seasons and the revival, absolutely despise her. As they watched her character develop from a young, innocent, overachieving teenage girl to an entitled, callous, failing young woman, many may have realised that the innocent little princess was not so wonderful. But did none of us stop to ask ourselves, what on earth went wrong? 

The “Perfect Little Angel” 

One of the things which provoked a little jealousy was that everybody really did adore her. Living in a small town, the community was more like family to her, rather than fellow neighbors. Nothing that she did could have been wrong, because of course she was the successful little girl who managed to get into a prestigious private school, Chilton. It was without question that afterwards she was going to attend one of the absolute best universities in the USA, then afterwards it was expected that she would go on to do wonderful things career wise. Furthermore, she would very frequently attract male attention, once again partly thanks to her easy-going nature but more importantly thanks to her good looks. 

The Family’s Favorite 

Rory’s Grandparents, who she had not really seen before the age of 16, immediately bonded with her, and to them, she was the model of a granddaughter. Subsequently, she would receive endless compliments from them at Friday night dinners, often in contrast to the endless criticism that her own mother would get. Which leads on to the most important person in Rory’s young life, her mother. Like best friends, with only a 16-year gap between them, they would spend the weekend evenings cooped up on the sofa, binge watching movies, eating food that had been ordered from about 4 different takeout’s, where miraculously neither of them ever seemed to gain as much as a pound. There were also the cute moments, where Rory would confront Loralai about what is going on in her love life, and whether Loralai approved, she would always stand by Rory. Yet, in her Mum’s and everyone else’s eyes, Rory really could not do anything wrong. 

Where Things Began to go Wrong 

As Rory transformed from a cute high school girl to fourth year college student (then a 32-year-old jobless journalist), we can see where things began to go wrong for Rory. For a start, her love life was not much less than a disaster, and we cannot really think of who else to blame, but Rory (and her upbringing). I would say that the worst two incidence were when she referred to her ex as Her’s, practically encouraging him to cheat on her while he was married, and when she was aged 32 yet she kept on forgetting about the boyfriend she was supposed to have. She was never there for her close friends, yet they always had her back whenever she needed something. But what really demonstrated her weakness, was that when she was told by her boyfriend’s Dad that she did not have what it takes to be a journalist when on an internship, instead of dismissing the comment as being made by one of the biggest cunts in the country, or reconsidering whether Journalism would be the best career for her to go down, she instead decides to steal a Yacht and drop out of university. Before taking the mature approach, it would have been more than understandable if she had decided to get extremely drunk, binge on all the junk food that could fit in her stomach, or rant endlessly about what happened to anyone who would do as much as reluctantly listen (I certainly would think of all three as being reasonable coping mechanisms). Yet while this reaction demonstrates her lack of maturity, and the way that she was practically setting herself up for failure, it also reflects the impact that her upbringing was now having on her. Because being told that she could do anything when she was younger practically led to her believing it in the end. 

So, why was she like this? 

One of the main subjects which made many fans of Gilmore Girls despise Rory, was her treatment of men. Now I do not want to dive too deep into this, but she would cheat yet feel incredibly entitled, despite her actions which she often seemed rather oblivious to. Nevertheless, one of the issues which was not addressed enough was the absence of her father, who enjoyed popping into and out of her life at his convenience, often showing up and then disappearing on a motorcycle. This correlates with her strong fear of abandonment. And this, mixed with the unconditional love which she received from everyone else, could help explain why she thought that she could grab who she wanted at her disposal. Again though, if anything, younger Rory was more aware of her wrongdoings than older Rory ever was. Yet, when she confronted her Mum about this, it was never Rory’s fault. But despite the way one’s parents behave, I am sorry but as an adult it is your job to make yourself as aware of this as possible, and work on yourself as much as you can accordingly. Yet, she most certainly had not made any progress at the age of 32! 

The 30 Something Gang 

Something which appeared funny to me, yet as a bit of a brutal warning in the revival, was the appearance of a new group in Star’s Hollow, known as the “30 something Gang.” These were a group of millennials, around the same age as Rory at the time, who had been to university, got jobs, then ended up returning to their childhood bedrooms in the town that they were born in. Jobless, they would instead occupy themselves with bowling and drinking milkshakes. Or as the town phased it, they had been “spat out” by the real world. Apart from anything else, this, as anyone now between the ages of 16 and 40 would know, provides a joke yet a stark truth about the reality that many young people of working age face. Yet, let us now put Rory into the equation. Instead of her admitting her fate, she shares no humor at all with the “30 something gang”, even refusing to acknowledge them. To me, this indicates that Rory believed she was above them, yet there Rory was, back in her hometown; jobless, homeless, and apparently without underwear! This again, shows how Rory was unable to confront some of her failures, even though being part of the group could have made her feel less alone, and make her realise that she too had made mistakes career wise, and considering different economic circumstances, this may not have even been at a fault of Rory’s capabilities. Yet, the message of the show could have been that Rory could and should have been better than them, not having to return town to join a gang of people who had established similar things to her career wise, yet thankyou to her attitude, she was unable to do so, instead being far worse than them, reflected by her rudeness in not even responding when they waved at her (in the friendliest of ways). Because while Rory’s career or lack of stunk, if her attitude had stunk even more, and if it had not been for the latter, then her career would have looked prosperous.  

What Should We Think Overall About Her? 

What a lot of fans of the show commonly perceive is a prefect teenage girl transitioning into an unbearable young adult. Yet, there were some earlier signs which were easy to spot. For a start, when she was younger, she was still entitled, however not necessarily realising how similar she and the other girls from Chilton really were. Which resulted in her sometimes holding an unpleasant attitude. It could also be seen how she was not a good friend toward Lane or toward some of her other peers. It is true, however, that her negative traits certainly did become more prominent as she grew older. For example, she became more possessive concerning relationships, more self-centered, and full of herself. However, even as a 32-year-old in the revival, we did have some reasons to symphysis with her. For a start, she had never really addressed her problems, which resulted in her becoming more entitled to mask her low self-esteem. She had never really confronted her Mum about the way in which their “perfect” relationship was not perfect, and she did not realise the impact that her childhood may have had on her, leading her to put extra pressure upon herself (as well as the pressure which she was already under). Considering that we saw her lost in life, she had reached a turning point, realising that she was destined to become an author, while she should soon find out who the father was to her upcoming baby. Therefore, maybe there was still some hope. Alternatively, her desire to write a book was more of a projection of the extent of her selfishness considering that her Mum was strongly against this idea. While at 32, she was not going to choose to reform her character, and instead, having an extremely selfish character as a biological father, we can point the finger at her for the way her life had turned out, and more importantly, for the way in which she treated other people. 

https://screenrant.com/gilmore-girls-rory-biggest-problems-fans-ignore/

https://thetab.com/uk/2020/10/07/every-single-reason-rory-is-legitimately-the-worst-character-on-gilmore-girls-177700

https://www.cbr.com/gilmore-girls-rory-became-most-hated-character/

Growing up With a Hoarder


Hello, so this is a bit of a personal introduction as a ground for what I am going to write today. This post is going to be based off fact from other articles, however I am also going to incorporate some of my own personal experiences from this. Before we get on to that, what has brought me to decide to write this post, is basically that I was meant to be “going out” tonight, however one of my friends who I was sat next to yesterday tested positive for covid, and while I have tested negative today, I thought that it is best not to take any chances (which is sad as I really wanted to go out, but on the outside chance that I do have covid, nightclubs are literally the breeding grounds for it). But basically, I was sitting here trying my best to focus on uni work, and I just couldn’t focus very well, but never mind I have all night now! But I somehow began googling stuff to do with growing up with a hoarder and was rather interested in some of their articles. 

Now this is something that I have experienced myself, however it is very rare that I talk about this, because it is not something which any of my friends have experienced while topics concerning childhood is something that I try to avoid generally with people because I don’t want to feel like I am burdening anyone with my problems, while I don’t really have anyone in my family who I can really talk to about this experiences. So having kept pretty much silent for a long period of time, here I am instead writing this post where the world can see it! 

For a start, it is important to recognise that hoarding is a mental disorder, and it can be related to other mental health problems. Often, hoarding stems from trauma, which often would occur during childhood, but could occur at any time throughout a hoarder’s life. This way, it is important not to shift the blame onto hoarders, especially considering that it is a condition that people who suffer from it tend not to recognise, therefore accepting help and taking action is extremely difficult. Nonetheless, it can have a heavy impact on the people who are close to the hoarder, and I would say especially those who have grown up with someone who is one. Furthermore, I feel that it is an aspect of childhood trauma which is not really spoken about very much, therefore I do want to write this post to raise more awareness of what it is like to grow up with a parent, in this case, who suffers from HD. 

So firstly, I would say that generally when someone is growing up in a house which would be considered being in possession of a hoarder, they are often unaware of the severity of this, seeing this as “normal” because this is what they have grown up in. This is certainly the case with me, thinking that my home was just “messy”, even though there were substantial amounts of junk, which whenever myself or the parent who did not have HD attempted to throw away, it caused significant amounts of tension within the household, and there were even themes when items which had been placed in the bin were taken out again. This was as well as the dinner table, which was basically filled with stuff (honestly, I cannot remember what exactly), then even if I attempted to tidy it as a child, there would still be crumbs etc stuck between the table cover, while the table mats were quite literally decades old.  

It was not until I was around 13 or 14 when I realised that there was some genuine problem, however I know that many, if not most cases, people do not really come to terms with this until they are young or even older adults. Then at around 14 was the time when the condition of the home worsened, which there was a good reason for (although I am not going to state it here because it is not referring directly to my life, and I am trying to keep this as confidential as I can). This was around the time when I moved out, with the parent who was not a hoarder, and even though them and myself had drawn attention to this which led to the case where it was advised that we do move out or there could be other procedures which may have been taken. And while moving out of that environment was certainly good for my physical and mental health, it certainly did leave a pang of guilt, at the fact that the problem had not been addressed directly by us in a sensitive and considerate manner (you can call me a monster if you like, because there have certainly been times where I have thought very lowly of myself).  

Feeling Dirty 

As a young child, I just accepted what the home was like. The molding toy fish all along the bath which no one was allowed to throw away were probably perceived as “fine”, even though A) most people would have thought them to have been gross, and B) I had always dreaded one actually falling into the bath. What’s more, it was presumed that I should have a bath once a week, and if I wanted one more often, it would be rather hard seeing that it was always insisted that the water was left in the bath, to be used to flush the toilet, leaving the bath feeling pretty slimy afterwards, as you can imagine. There were a couple of times during primary school and early secondary school where my “hygiene” was picked up on, and while this felt pretty humiliating and unconsciously it probably contributed to my low self-esteem, I did not really reason there that there was anything wrong (side note, I can promise you that I bath/shower far more often than once a week now). Another problem which was rife in my household was uncleanliness when it came to food. Each year, there were more and more rotting apples picked from the tree, which had accumulated in a box (and then also bags) inside the kitchen. Which some, as you can guess, would have contained worms and the liking. The fridge was never cold enough, meaning that much of the food inside there would probably not have been completely safe to eat, meanwhile the vegetable box was never cleaned out, due to being filled too highly with vegetables, some rotting. This led to me being fed food which would have been beyond safe to eat due to being moldy and often undercooked (leading me to frequently not eat all of it, thus binging on chocolate bars instead and being called a pig as a result). Nonetheless, this was never properly picked up on, to the point where it was expected that I was living in unclean conditions, while there were no parents of friends or extended family who were really there for me to help with the multitude of this problem, or even to address it. Leaving me feeling incredibly isolated, and angry as a young teenager. Now as an adult, I think it is fair to say that this has still had an impact on my self-esteem, as even though I fucking wash (just reiterating this again), being the kid with greasy hair and unclean clothing somewhat unconsciously leaves me feeling inferior to my peers, as if there is something wrong with me, and “ugly”.  

General Impacts 

I know that I have already discussed some of the ways in how it has impacted itself, but of course different people respond in different ways to this experience. One of the main ways in which it can impact a child is by feeling as if their own wellbeing is less important than the possessions which the parent chooses to keep hold of. It is quite common for children to feel that they do not fit in with their home, due to the clutter being in the way of the child being able to live as they like, which would heighten conflict between the parent and the child. This reduces the chance that the child reaches their potential. This was certainly somewhat experienced by me, feeling as though my home was not really a home and I did not have as much nice space as my peers would have had. While the obvious point was that there was not really a clear space to complete homework etc, although fortunately I was able to sit at the table to do it. Yet I am aware that those who have experienced more severe cases may not have had this luxury. Another way in which I was fortunate was that I did have my own bedroom, which as a teenager, I did keep rather tidy. This can also impact one’s life into adulthood. 

Am I now a “Neat Freak” 

As adults, as a result of the experience of growing up with a hoarder, it can lead to the feeling of needing to be in control. The obvious one would be keeping the home as clean and tidy as possible, and not liking any kind of clutter. Nonetheless, this most certainly is not me, as I am probably one of the messiest people. However, this is certainly not to the stage where my living environment is unclean, or where I am at all reluctant to throw something away which is no longer of use to me. Nonetheless, there have certainly been times when I have felt the need to be in control, and for me personally, I would say that the most prominent way would probably been through working, such as achieving certain grades, or simply strictly allocating a certain number of hours each day to being “productive”. However, since going to university, this has been something which I have worked on and have let loose of quite significantly. However, there can be many ways in which the need for control can manifest in someone later in life, and while it is important to acknowledge the difficulties of having grown up in this environment, it is equally important to place checks on oneself, to ensure that the impacts of the behavior as a result are mitigated, especially when it comes to bringing up children at a later point in life. 

https://www.moms.com/hoarding-disorder-impact-kids/

https://www.vice.com/en/article/889gpg/how-my-mums-hoarding-affected-my-childhood

https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/hidden-lives-children-hoarders

https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/hoarding-disorder-symptoms

Love Her or Hate Her? Lorelai Gilmore Character Analysis: Gilmore Girls


The “Cool Mum” 

For younger teenagers were fans, they would not have minded having a Mum like Lorelai. She was a fine example of the “cool Mum”, a broad term which refers to a Mum leaning towards the more laid-back type, who is generally more “trendy” than the average Mum. However, Lorelai was more than just this stereotype because she would always show strong interest in her daughter, Rory, frequently giving her concrete advice, and always showed intrinsic love. Even if she disagreed with Rory’s decisions, she was always supportive. Nonetheless, some of her flaws did impact her motherhood. And while she is treasured by most, some fans of the show just cannot forgive the mistakes that she made, making her instead one of their most disliked characters. 

What went wrong and where? 

Lorelai sometimes did cross the line between being relaxed, and not holding Rory accountable. Not to mention, being overly complimentary. An extreme example was after 20-year-old Rory had spent the night in jail because of stealing a Yacht). But instead of confronting Rory with the fact that her actions were deplorable, she simply drove her home, cracked a few jokes then treated her to a box of donuts.  

Another slightly less stark example, was when Rory’s car was damaged when she was 17, when she took it out with her and her Boyfriend at the time, Jess. Although really both were equally accountable for this incident, the entire blame was shifted onto Jess. At this stage, Rory was willing to point out that this was partially her fault, yet no one would have it. This way, perhaps if Lorelai had recognised that her daughter, just like everyone else, was not perfect, then Rory would not have grown into the overly entitled student at university, who would never accept any kind of responsibility for her actions. Moreover, during the revival when Rory was 32, she perhaps would have found herself being a somewhat successful journalist, due to her having the realisation that she needed to put in some effort and preparation to accustom success, knockbacks and criticism were expected and that just because she was Rory, a good job rather than an excellent job is not one to be turned down. This stands in complete contrast to Rory’s reality at that time, where she was without a home, without a job, and apparently without underwear. Sadly, this harshly illustrates what good intentions can sometimes lead to… 

Furthermore, at times in the show it appeared that Lorelai was perhaps a little too involved in Rory’s love life. What’s more, although we loved watching them as best buds, sometimes this did slip into codependency. For instance, when Rory was at University, Lorelai depended on her to see her, especially when the dreaded Friday night dinners with Lorelai’s parents were involved. And even when Rory was younger, they perhaps did spend a little too much time together, which was something which Lorelai may have felt she needed but may have led Rory to depend too much on Lorelai. 

Lorelai’s Virtues 

Despite some of the mistakes Lorelai made, overall, Lorelai did make a good mother, especially considering that she had Rory at such an early age, thus having to make huge sacrifices, meanwhile consistently working incredibly hard at the Inn. Furthermore, Lorelai was an excellent friend, and she played more than her part in the community, despite many other commitments. Furthermore, let us not forget the times where she was more than altruistic, such as when she discovered that two of the girls who were supposed to be with Rory and Paris had run off to a party, where alcohol and goodness knows what else were involved, where she took the girls out of the potentially dangerous situation. Another was where she would spend hours listening to Paris, when Rory had dropped out of university, knowing that Paris did not have parents who were emotionally close. Lorelai recognised that Paris required comfort and guidance, and as Paris stated herself, Lorelai was like a second Mum to her. Furthermore, when witnessing Rory’s friend Lane having a troubled relationship with her Mum, Lorelai confronted Lane’s mother about this, which although it was not received most welcomingly at the time, Lane’s mum did somewhat alter her behavior toward Lane. And finally, much later, Lorelai confronted Lane about her Mum, implying that her Mum cared deeply for her in spite of everything. Here she was not only showing care for Lane’s wellbeing, but Lorelai was also trying to prevent history from repeating itself, where Lane and her Mum may have ended up more distant than necessary. Here, we not only see Loralai once again showing care for those around her, but it was her way of showing that she regretted what she did wrong regarding the relationship she had with her own mother. For sure, prevention is better than cure, and it is certainly easier. 

Lorelai’s Love Life 

Most fans would contain that it was the area of relationships where she would slip up most. For a start, she would constantly push others away, being Max at the start (who was perfect), then later, Luke (sad face as they belonged together), which led her to sleep with the boyfriend who she was with at 16, Christopher. This was not a good example to set for Rory, and is of course selfish, nonetheless, how much can we really blame Lorelai? Lorelai clearly had a very troubled relationship with both of her parents, who even though they were involved in her life throughout the show, there had been an incredibly long time where they had not spoken at all. Having to start bringing up a child ALONE at 16, must have left an emotional scar, and although as we come to see that Lorelai’s parents deeply cared for her, this certainly did not show this in convectional ways. 

What’s more, the show certainly dropped enough hints that Emily had been emotionally abusive toward her daughter growing up, and that both of her parents had somewhat neglected her emotional needs. As a result, it is common for these experiences to impact people’s behavior around relationships later life, and since Lorelai had needed to be independent for such a prolonged period in her life, it is not surprising that being with someone who deeply loves and cares for her would be incredibly scary, even though it may have been something that she deeply desired. Plus, considering that the show was aired in 2000, there were nowhere near as many easily accessible resources relating to healing and preventing generational adversity from repeating itself. This way, it is fair to say that it is harder to hold Lorelai as accountable for some of her actions as it would be to do so for someone who has had similar experiences today.  

The Relationship with Lorelai’s parents 

This is a slightly complicated one because as I came to watch more of the show, it became clearer that neither of her parents were monsters. Her Mum, of whom there were the most quarrels with, did in fact care deeply for Loralai. This of course made some fans detest Lorelai’s decision not to tell her parents where she was, when fleeting the home at 16, because who would choose to do that when they had been raised in a prosperous home being more than taken care of physically? But again, she was only 16. And although Lorelai later realised that her not telling her Mum where she was made her worried sick, and heartbroken, there must have been a good reason for her not to confront her parents. Because in healthy circumstances, who would not? 

But, throughout the show, both the Mum and Dad were cold and distant, and there were many strong signs that her Mum at least was emotionally abusive toward her growing up, partly as I realise now, because of her Mum’s own insecurities. Therefore, while Loralai did act in some immature ways toward her parents, as an adult as well as just when she was a teenager, there were some good reasons for this. Because while being emotionally abused and neglected may not lead to the social services banging the doors down, it is still an issue which leads to huge impacts, and more credit is due regarding how Loralai managed to remain confident, at least externally, and work her bum off, despite her huge setbacks.  

Overall, do we love or hate her?

Even though I am a lot closer to Rory’s age throughout the show, I would say that I connect with Lorelai just as much as, if not more than Rory. Because, although here I am at 19 sat in my uni dorm at gone midnight typing this post (more of a Rory action than something which Lorelai would have done), having grown up with an emotional abusive mother and emotionally unavailable parents, I can relate to many of the things which Loralai must have gone through. Even I had a bit of a rebellious teenager phase where I seemed to do nothing but argue with my parents, until this got to hurt a bit too much, so from around the ages 14-15, this switched to me becoming a people pleaser, also managing to learn the art of not expressing my emotions, or even acknowledging them to myself, because really I had no one, thus it seemed like I had no other choice. Although this is something which I have been working on, I tell you that it is not easy, and the unfulfilled void becomes ever more apparent as this work continues. But I promise you that it is worth it! Therefore, it would be impossible for me to dislike Lorelai, especially considering that she finally does decide to receive therapy, and that even before then she tries incredibly hard to fulfil Rory’s needs by being a better mother than her own was to her. Afterall, she is filled with love, compassion and energy and is deeply admired by many fans including myself. 

The Hard Truth About Rory and Lorelai’s Relationship on ‘Gilmore Girls’

https://screenrant.com/gilmore-girls-lorelai-best-worst-traits/

Personal Update- February 2022


Hello, So I know I did commit to doing a personal update on the first day of each month, and I know that technically it is now the second of February, but I haven’t gone to sleep yet so to me, really it is still a Tuesday, or the first of February, so here we go.

Now, what exciting things have happened? I mean nothing exceptional really, if I am honest. I have had exams and I honestly have no clue how they went because most of them were essays! Apart from the one in economics which I have now had to apply for extenuating circumstances for because my laptop wasn’t connecting to the wifi, so I consequently sent an email attaching all of the work, before the deadline. Only to find that the email had not sent until a week later. So I will keep you all updated on this issue.

Apart from that, I have started going to the gym, which I am really enjoying, it is just that it is so time consuming haha, and I don’t go there any where ear as often as I should. But I will start going there more often, at least that is what I keep telling myself. I have been working a bit, and I also went clubbing on the Friday, which if I am to be brutally honest with you, it wasn’t exactly the best night out. In all fairness, clubbing is a little overrated, unless you are super drunk. We now have more in person lectures which has been nice, and I have made a few more friends on my course. I have also joined the debating society, which has been interesting. Literally, just live life by waffling then you will be fine, trust me 🙂

In myself, I have been quite a bit better since the last time I updated you, I will thank the slightly longer evenings for that. And I am hoping that this month will be better still, because apart from anything else, it is the last month of winter!

So that is all for the time being, I know I haven’t exactly written some novel here, but this is all the non personal stuff which I have for now, and even if I did share more personal stuff, quite honestly I don’t have much of that to share at the moment either. No romance still 😦 Wonder if any of that will change for the 14th. I highly doubt it. Well, that is that for now then I guess.

I hope that you all have a good rest of week, and a good month ahead!

The Male Gaze


Think about it. You are leaving the house for the first time today. You were happily cooped up in your room, wearing, I do not know, tracksuit bottoms or something, and chances are you do not have makeup on. Yet there are probably a few rituals which you abide by before you decide to finally leave the house, and these all get done before you go about checking that you have your keys for the millionth time. No, chances are you put on your makeup, find a “half decent outfit”, look for a suitable pair of shoes, then you finally venture out. Because you do not want anyone to see you looking as if you have just emerged from a bush, do you? When you eventually decide that you look acceptable, you finally head out. You wander past quite a few old people, some people who look around 16 who you are convinced that they look better than you, then you see that guy who you admit is moderately attractive, yet you would not dare to ever do as much a look him in the eye. The trip to the local shop has been fine, you have gotten what you need, but you decide to take the short cut back, where on the way you pass that crappy car garage place. There are about 7 men working there, who look as if they have about 5 kids each, of whom they do not know about. Yet, one would assume that they would be too busy going about their lengthy day at work, while thinking about the daily trip to the pub with the “lads” after work and gazing at those old sketchy posters in the tearoom whenever they get a moment. But you are wrong. As you pass by, a few of them give off an unsynchronised and out of tune whistle. Then, just for a minute, you wish that you had kept on your comfortable trackies, considering that otherwise you end up receiving unwanted, unpalatable, degrading attention, and the fact that all that effort was made for merely a ten-minute round trip. 

Ok, I am afraid that I reckon that this is something which most young women can relate to. Nevertheless, how is this relevant? Well, looks, looks and looks. None of us like being gazed at, yet we still feel unnecessary pressures. Yes, this post is all about the male gaze. 

What is the male gaze? 

The male gaze relates to “the act of depicting women and the world, in the visual arts[2] and in literature,[3] from a masculine, heterosexual perspective that presents and represents women as sexual objects for the pleasure of the heterosexualmale viewer.” This is particularly the case with women of colour, who have historically been perceived as hypersexual. In practice, yes you have guessed it, it leads to women feeling the need to look, consciously or subconsciously, in a way that satisfies this. Meanwhile, as already mentioned, it can lead to incidents of sexual harassment and worse. But catcalling is so 1960s right? Wrong! 

Why is it even a thing? 

The idea of the male gaze could be traced back to philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, who embodied the idea of the male gaze in Being and Nothingness (1943). Here, the “act of gazing” created “a subjective power difference, which is felt by the gazer and by the gazed.” This is because the person “being gazed at” is seen as “an object”, rather than a human being. 

The Modern Outlook of the Male Gaze 

The male gaze is very predominant in modern film. Often there is focus on the woman’s body, to be seen as an object of desire for the characters in the film and for the male viewer. This represents a balance of power of the man over the woman. This also takes prominence within the workplace, where women will put in large efforts into their appearance and even go to extremes such as paying for plastic surgery such as to mitigate the physical impacts of ageing, meanwhile men can get away with merely putting on a business suit and tie each day. This reinforces the power balance of men over women within the world of work. 

The Female Gaze 

The female gaze relates to when women take up the male gaze, either internally or externally. When this occurs externally, women view other women through the male gaze, and when it occurs internally, women see themselves in relation to the male gaze, which as you can guess, can lead to a lot of self-deprecation, insecurity, and potentially mental illness. Once again, this reinforces the male gaze. This can replicate within women’s magazines, which while they have come a long way from the past, now often discussing practical issues of genuine importance, if you were to flip the page over, you would be bound to find some advert illustrating to women another way of “improving” the outer appearance. A tremendous problem with this, is that often women, being more than aware of the toxicity of these standards will not necessarily distinguish between what is of help, and of what is merely an advert trying to reinforce this ideal. Of courses, this will lead women to continue to internalise the male gaze, whether consciously or subconsciously. 

How can we Revert the Male Gaze 

I am going to be realistic, as this is not something that we are going to be able to achieve overnight. Nevertheless, for a start, if we all become a bit more aware of the current issues at hand and become a little more cynical when we choose to consume content, then we should become less vulnerable to being thrown into it. This hopefully should enable us to all become a little less susceptible to content advertising produce to us, and as a result magazines would have less reason to feature such ads.  

More importantly, the male gaze encourages women to act in competitive, individualistic ways, which is unsurprising considering that because of beauty standards and suppression in the workplace, women are bound to see “attractive” women as a potential threat, rather than a companion.  

Another thing which can be done, is to revert the male gaze in films, where the man instead is portrayed as the “bimbo”, while being mocked by female counterparts. 

https://theeverydaymagazine.co.uk/opinion/womens-greatest-performance-the-internalised-male-gaze

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-the-male-gaze-5118422

https://www.studiobinder.com/blog/what-is-the-male-gaze-definition/

Male gaze – Wikipedia

The Beauty Myth Naomi Wolf

https://theeverydaymagazine.co.uk/opinion/womens-greatest-performance-the-internalised-male-gaze

Wellness Culture


It is Monday morning, and let us face it. You are already pretty exhausted, despite the weekend that has just passed which is meant to leave you feeling refreshed for the upcoming week. Everything is worrying you, from current news affairs, work related issues and events going on in your personal life. Yet, you will continue to convince yourself that everything is fine. Providing that you can continue going out at least once a week, to loosen up, get really drunk, then really, everything is fine. Until, one day, you realise that everything is a bit of a mess. You come across ways and instructions on how to be healthier. How to address and heal your anxieties, rather than constantly trying to avoid them. How to become healthier, instead of continuing to indulge in junk food, alcohol, and whatever else that dtrings your imagination. Then it suddenly occurs to you how you have been avoiding nature for so long, as you have been treadling along in a foggy old city for so long. Time for a better life, don’t you say? Time to ensure that you take as many vitamins as possible, that you practice yoga for a solid hour each morning and time that you decide to engage with crystals.  

What is Wellness culture? 

“Wellness” became popular in the late 1950s by the “Father of the Movement”, Dr Dunn. He defined wellness as an “active ongoing pursuit”, which “focuses on the improvement of the self.” Wellness culture can look like improving physical and mental health, including gaining strength and “improving” the appearance of the body, engaging in “self-care” and even engaging in subjects like astrology. 

The History of Wellness Culture 

During Victorian times, many life reformers took some pleasure in asceticism, which involved taking to the outdoors. However, health was blended with beauty, leading to the point where one’s outward appearance was an indication of their health, reinforcing western beauty standards. This gave them “a sense of agency in their own future”, during times of social and economic change. Nineteenth century wellness culture promised health, success, and personal fulfilment. Now, in 2022, there are some parallels between now and at the end of the 19th century, including “a technological revolution, capitalist expansion and labor insecurity.”  

However, there is another element to the history of wellness culture, which was developed by feminists and civil rights activists in the 1960s/70s. They established health centers and programmers, in response to the bias of a “white, male dominated medical profession.” While this sent a particularly important message that equality of health is crucial to establishing a more equal society it could be contested that this has contributed to some of the anti-scientist health which aspects of wellness culture hold today. 

Potential Benefits of Wellness Culture 

The habits relating to wellness culture can be enjoyed and can benefit many people’s physical and mental health. This is due to the emphasis that this has on taking care of the body, giving time to oneself as well as concerning the spiritual benefits. The importance of wellness culture is emphasised in schools, hospitals and even prisons, which is very suggestive of the possible benefits that it holds. 

Why it is so Appealing 

We would all love to strive for this ideal of life, especially if there is accomplishment involved in doing so. This way, it is understandable why a healthy lifestyle combined with some logical and some interesting ways of becoming happier, while it is nice that it at least takes the focus away from productivity culture. Also, in the world of uncertainty we are in today, it is understandable to want something which offers predictability, not to mention a break away from the hustle and bustle of today’s culture. 

The problems associated with Wellness Culture 

While engaging in it a little bit can not only be healthy but also enjoyable, I think that you will agree that not everyone enjoys yoga. In practice, this means that if people set unrealistic goals, becoming extremely set upon wellness culture, it can lead them to a “slip into perfectionism.” This is unhealthy for anyone, because it can lead to “an incessant striving or need to be perfect” and when things do not go to plan which is often the case when people do strive to perfection, there can be “a deep contempt or rage at the self when we haven’t lived up to those elevated expectations.” This can lead to “anxiety, hyper vigilance and obsession” if one fails to meet those exacting standards. Moreover, while this may not be the intention of those who engage in wellness culture, there is still a strong emphasise on the individual, due to the strong focus on the self within a competitive, pressurised environment. And when people put this pressure on themselves then fail to meet up to their expectations, it can lead to a lot of “self-blame” and “self-criticism.” 

Furthermore, while not all be aware of this, it reinforces western beauty standards, concerning the emphasis on improvement of the image, which goes hand in hand with individualism. This can be traced back to how people see beauty standards and want to “improve” their appearance to match accordingly, therefore they can engage in wellness culture to help them strive to this. 

Also, to engage in wellness culture, one needs to hold a certain amount of privilege to possess sufficient time to engage in it. Which is difficult for one living in the 21st century, having to work as many as 4 jobs, to merely make ends meet. This becomes more obvious when we consider the price of “self-care” products, spa retreats and, well, sufficient funds to afford to maintain this “ideal” of health, or beauty. Additionally, when we put “special diets” into the equation, the reality is that it can become nearer the opposite of self-care, when these diets end up looking restrictive, leading to unhealthy views concerning diet. 

Merely Money Making 

So as already mentioned, for many, engaging in wellness culture is costly. Yet let us just think for a minute about who benefits from all this. Afterall, the wellness industry benefits from the money which we choose to spend on it. Further, because of the pandemic, more people have sought the purchase of exercise equipment within their homes. 

https://www.vogue.co.uk/arts-and-lifestyle/article/wellness-culture-over

https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/wellness-industry-issues-perfectionism

Internalised Homaphobia


“I am bisexual, but to be fair, I do tend to go for men rather than women. At least usually. It is because naturally I tend to get attracted to men, but it does not mean that I do not like women or that I would not find myself becoming attracted to them. At the same time, I look straight, don’t I? I mean, I would feel so uncomfortable flirting with a girl in a club, because of how I look and that, plus it is so much easier to just make out with a guy. I mean, they will just come up to me anyway, and if I do choose to discreetly flirt, then what mistakes could occur?” 

I suppose that this could be coming out of my own mouth. I am bisexual, and I do claim that I prefer men over women. Nonetheless, there have been many times where I have questioned this, because let us face it, women are hot ASF! Therefore, what is causing so many of us to still turn away from what we are attracted to, despite all the progress that has been made? 

What is Internalised Homophobia? 

Everybody knows what homophobia is. According to the language, it is a fear of those who are not heterosexual, nonetheless generally it is seen as, and is more of a hatred against gay people. Nonetheless, internalised homophobia has only gained traction recently and it refers to “when a person consciously or unconsciously accepts homophobic biases and apply these biases to themselves.” This often stems from learning prejudiced beliefs during early childhood, which then develops as they become older. The reason for this is because of the assumption that being heterosexual is the “norm” and the “correct way to be.” This can look like people hiding their sexuality from others, being in a heightened concern about getting into a homosexual relationship, or even denying their sexuality to themselves to others. 

But how come when Homophobia “doesn’t exist?” 

Any LGBT+ person would tell you otherwise, however, it is more than reasonable to contest that life is a lot easier for LGB people now than it was 50 years ago. However, if we investigate this further, it can easily be seen how life is not yet exactly super easy for LGB people. For a start, in Northern Ireland “the average age for men to realise their sexual orientation was 12, yet the average age they actually confided in someone was 17.” This illustrates how scared young people are of opening up about something which they realised a long time ago. Clearly showing that young people are afraid to come forward about something that plays a significant part in their lives, and there are obviously going to be reasons why this is the case. 

Causes of Internalised Homophobia 

The most obvious cause, yet a cause which is sadly quite common today, is because of “antigay bias.” This can result in someone choosing to hide their sexuality because of biases. This can include bias from family, friends, or people at work. A similar cause is heterosexualism, which “refers to the notion that heterosexuality is normal and the default.” This can lead to LGBT+ people feeling that their identities are not the “norm,” resulting in them either being reluctant to tell them what their identity is, concealing their sexuality by dressing to “look straight” as an example, or even denying how they may feel about someone they like. Meanwhile accelerators of internalised homophobia can include religious conservatism, lack of social support and exposure to Non heterosexual identities. While this may seem like a world far away from reality, especially from the point of view of non-homosexual people who mostly claim not to have a problem with homosexual people, the fact is that “51% said that they or a family member from the LGBTQ+ communities had experienced violence because of their sexual orientation”, according to a poll. 

How it can Manifest 

For a start, consciously or unconsciously, internalised homophobia can result in someone trying to “hide” their sexual orientation from others, by “passing as straight.” This may even include someone trying to “pass”, such as pretending that their partner is “just a good mate”, rather than as a partner, to avoid them from being hurt. Further, it can lead to “Poor relationship quality, Mental health complications and Chronic stress.” In fact, gay people are 2.5 times more likely to experience major depressionanxiety disorder, and substance use disorders, and four times more likely to attempt suicide during adolescence.”  

How can we Improve this? 

Before we can begin working on what the cause of internalised homophobia is, we need to realise how homophobia is still rampant. For a start, there are still many homophobias perceived in mainstream religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Furthermore, in some countries, “applicants and current employees can be legally passed over or fired for being non-heterosexual or perceived as non-heterosexual.” What is more is that being LGBT+ puts people at a greater risk of poverty, where the Trevor project estimates 40% of the American homeless are LGBT+, meanwhile 10% of the general US population are homeless. Therefore, to reduce the internalised homophobia which plays a substantial role in the lives of LGBT+ people, we first need to address the amount of homophobia in our modern society, meaning that we need to work on the objects that they face in society. Meanwhile, LGBT+ culture needs to be exposed more to the mainstream, to reduce the extent of anti-gay bias. This can include TV programs featuring more homosexual couples. 

https://www.teenvogue.com/story/heteronormativity-gender-identity-sexual-orientation

Misgendering and the struggles of my internalised transphobia

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/internalized-homophobia#summary

What is Internalized Homophobia?

Internalised Homophobia

Body Neutrality


Wherever you look as a young woman, what do you see. Oh, admire the talent of this person, this is how you become successful in the work place, and brand new art for you all to admire. Don’t be silly. Obviously there is something missing, and once we point out that is the tremendous amount of body talk which we not only read about, but we hear about, and let’s admit it, we probably think about it. And let’s face it, it is rather exhausting. From how to lose weight, how to become more toned, and don’t forget this one! In that you should always still love your body and embrace it whenever you need to. And of course we should try and love and embrace our bodies, regardless, nevertheless this is rather difficult considering the two former points. Therefore, would it not make sense that in the mean time we ought to be happy with their bodies, yep all positive, but not necessarily obsess with the way that they look. After all, just think of all the amazing things that our bodies can do, and the fact that it makes sense that your outer body is not a particularly interesting thing about you . Therefore this way it only makes sense that there would be a movement in order to encourage us to do this, otherwise known as the body neutrality movement.

What is body neutrality?

Body neutrality relates to a “social movement” that “centres marginalised bodies and emphasies that all bodies are deserving of respect.” It focuses more on what the body is able to do, and as opposed to the body positivity movement, it tells people that while they might not necessarily have to love the apperience of their bodies all of the time, they can still give their bodies the love and respect that they deserve. This includes eating a healthy amount to fulfil one’s bodies needs, allowing your body to rest and not giving your body hate because of how it looks.

The ups of the Movement

First of all, for most women, aspiring to the body neutrality movement is more realistic than aspiring to the body positivity movement. This is because considering the rampant media attention that there is on bodies, especially relating to ways in which one can change it, it is very difficult and unrealistic expectation for women to love their bodies at all times. Also, considering the ridiculous amount of attention which the media puts on the apperience of people’s bodies, it is refreshing to see a movement which encourages women to instead value their bodies for what they can do, and to treat their bodies with respect because of this. What’s better, is that it is most certainly more realistic for marginalised groups, who may find it difficult to have to think in a positive way about their bodies all of the time. This includes trans people, who may be unable to feel positive about their bodies due to not being in the body that they should be in. Yet, the body neutrality movement is able to tell young people to value their bodies and give them respect, even though they may be very unhappy inside their bodies.

Your body is the least interesting thing about you

By now, we have probably come across this slogan circulating around quite a bit. This is because whilst there is so much talk about bodies, when we think about this in a realistic way, why is the shape of one’s body so important? When we think of all the incredible things that the body can do which do not relate to the apperience of the body, the fact that as humans we are capable of so many things academically not to mention that the apperience of our bodies do massively change throughout our lives to accommodate our needs. Oh yes, the fact that the UK beauty industry is worth nearly 10 billion euros, therefore it is not surprising that as a result there is so much talk going around concerning how people’s bodies look. Therefore, would it not be nice if we could all change the way that we think about our bodies, before we are encouraged the apperience of our bodies should be the number one thing that we love about ourselves.

Can we still be Body Positive?

Yet it would sound a little sad if none of us end up loving our bodies as a result of this. After all, considering the amount of media attention that bodies receive, we cannot suddenly cstand to a halt when it comes to us thinking about our bodies. This way, in current times, I see that there is considerable room for both the body positivity movement and the body neutrality movement. After all, if you are rather young then chances are you are still going to want to pay some attention to how your body looks. And rather than feeling stuck at the fact that you must therefore no longer pay attention to the way that your body looks, we should still all try and push for liking your body as much as it can for the way that it looks now. Nonetheless, more importantly we all need to think beyond this too, and to realise that there are many more important things than how your body looks.

How can we love our Bodies?

One of the ways in that there was substantial room for improvement within the body positivity movement, was that it could have focused on health more. After all, all of us can enjoy sitting in our rooms just in our underwear with a poloroid camera naked, loving our belly rolls in a sports bra while we are not telling anyone that we are working out so much that we are actually hurting our bodies, or lie to ourselves that we are happy with our bodies when we are binging on chocolate and ice cream each night to cope with our emotions. Nonetheless, it is important to go beyond our hyper fixation of the way that our bodies look, and while we should try our best to embrace how they do look at whatever size, to truly show our bodies love is to do what is best for them is to treat them as well as they deceiver to be treated. This includes all the things which the body neutrality movement includes, as well as trying to do what is best for ourselves, which may or may not have some impact on the apperience of our bodies. Therefore, should try and eat and exercise for our bodies according to what the body needs, for it to be at its best.

https://www.allure.com/story/why-i-dont-use-body-neutrality

https://www.insider.com/what-is-body-neutrality-explainer-2020-8

https://www.healthline.com/health/body-neutrality#learn-more

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jul/23/the-rise-of-the-body-neutrality-movement-if-youre-fat-you-dont-have-to-hate-yourself

https://www.byrdie.com/what-is-body-neutrality-5075038

The Toxic Side to the Body Positivity Movement that no one wants to Discuss


Happy new year, and welcome to 2022. The time of year again where gyms, gym wear companies and, come on let us just bite the bullet here, really anything relating to diet culture, can look forward to making money off people. This includes those who long to start fresh this year, embarking on a journey of health and wellness. Among this group, a substantial number consist of women and girls, who are unhappy with their bodies, and will once again strive to change their selves, to get leaner, even though they are healthy weight. For the better or the worse, this group includes me. Thankfully though, there is a strong and persistent movement, acting as a power against this. This is known as the body positivity movement, which encourages women of all sizes to love and embrace their body as they are, rather than worry about aiming to lose more weight, to get to a desired and ideal appearance, which is going to be exceedingly difficult, potentially unhealthy an even impossible for many to achieve. This is going to make more sense seeing how much the ideal standard keeps on changing; from the hourglass in the 1950s, the extremely thin frame in the 2000s, and the current hourglass, which is even harder to achieve, without extensive plastic surgery and gym membership! Therefore, anyone who holds a gram of common sense and who possesses minuscule respect for women, would agree that it is surely better that women are instead encouraged to love and embrace their bodies, regardless of their body type. Yet, as much as we all think that beauty standards are not only wrong, but harmful, we often fail to acknowledge the flaws of the body positivity movement, which is resultantly hindering its progress. 

What is Body Positivity? 

Body positivity relates to a movement which has encouraged people of all sizes to look at their body in a positive light, despite the way the media has influenced us into believing that a particular type of body is the ideal. It dates back as far as the 1960s, and “grew in tandem with women’s liberation and Black Civil Rights in the United States.” It focused on embracing larger women’s bodies, especially those belonging to women of colour. However, as this movement evolved, it has focused more on promoting bodies of all sizes, including skinny bodies, bodies that have cellulite and disabled bodies. Although, there has also been concern that it has become too focused on slim, white bodies, closer to the “ideal”, in recent years. 

Why we Need the Body Positivity Movement 

Before we debunk the body positivity movement, we do need to note why this is so important. Because while it certainly has flaws, it has been particularly important in helping people of different body types feel more comfortable within their bodies. For a start, it is often assumed that larger people are “lazy” because of their size, while discrimination against those people is rife. For example, it is true that a “fat” person would be less likely to be selected for a job compared to their thinner counterparts, even possessing the same skills and qualifications. Furthermore, it is very often the case that when people who may be overweight according to BMI go to the doctor, they are often only advised to lose weight, rather than have their condition investigated, which may not be at all related to their size. An example of this would be the experiences of positivity influencer and “Youtuber FatGirlFlow”, who while experiencing a history of eating disorders, was “continually” told by doctors to “lose weight.” Nonetheless the advice they were giving her was not only unhelpful, but was incredibly dangerous, as her strive to “be healthy, nearly killed her.” This shows that weight most certainly does not equate to health, however there still lies a significant prejudice that larger people are not only lazy, unmotivated etc, but are also “unhealthy”, when this is most certainly not always going to be the case. 

Where some think the Body Positivity Movement is going Wrong 

In recent years, influencers with smaller bodies have captured a substantial amount of the body positivity movement. For instance, while Gabi Gregg, known for the “fatkini” has around 876K Instagram followers, Daene Mercer, another body positivity influencer who has a very thin physique has 2.4 million followers. It is understandable as to why some may feel neglected by the turning that the movement has taken, seeing it ending up being about white women, with bodies close to the ideal, posting photos representing the difference between when they are sucking their stomachs in and when they are not. 

“But hang on a minute, it’s Unhealthy!” 

If anything, I hope the last paragraph has shown you that size does not always equate to health. Yet, it is also true that obesity can lead to a huge array of health complexities. This has led to some people to believe that fat shaming is acceptable including Maher, who contested that if people could be shamed out of smoking, then perhaps fat shaming “would make people rethink their lifestyle habits.” Nonetheless, while it is important to point out that obesity is an important health issue, it is unfair and incorrect to presume that someone has an unhealthy lifestyle just because of their size, just like it would be inaccurate to assume that one leads a healthy lifestyle just because they are slim. 

So, what Happens when the Fat Girl does become Skinny? 

“Let’s make something clear, having a goal for intentional fat loss is not body positive” 

Everyday Feminism

 

How beautiful does this sound? All of us should love our bodies, and be perfectly happy in our bodies, regardless of what they look like. But there is a catch. Because what happens when someone like Adele chooses to lose weight? I do not know her exact intentions, but perhaps she did it for her health, because she wanted to feel more comfortable, or she was fed up with the amount of grief that the media gave her beforehand. Even though it was equally beautiful before. Plus, I will not even go into why the media would want to obsess over her body, considering the huge talent she possesses. In my view, it is most likely that her motives were a combination of all three. Therefore, if she was intending to lose fat, then she had to make these healthier choices so these two go hand in hand. Nonetheless, regardless of her intentions, with regards to the media it backfired, with some fans even commenting that they had felt “betrayed” because of her weight loss. Yet, regardless of what your body looks like, surely if she is happier now because of her hopefully healthier lifestyle choices, then we ought to be happy for her? And even if she chose to make this move to change her appearance, no one should ridicule her, considering the extensive pressure she was under. This way, while she may have “given in” to the pressures of beauty standards, considering the difficulty associated with not doing so in the position she is in, no one should shame her for making the decision to lose weight. 

Toxic Body Positivity 

One could choose to look at the body positivity movement, and then think brilliant! Regardless of what weight anyone is at, we ought to, or even need to love our bodies. But surely something must be wrong when people become upset when a public figure chooses to lose a substantial amount of weight? This is because while one can interpret the body positivity movement as a way for them to embrace their bodies regardless, if they are left being felt betrayed at another women’s weight loss, then perhaps it suggests that these people are not as happy within their own bodies as they may think. And while I believe a large motivator for many women losing weight, is unfortunately due to wanting to be viewed in a better light and to be nearer the ideal, another strong motivator is health. And if one knows that their lifestyle is not as healthy as the ideal, then it is likely that they are not going to be as happy with their bodies as otherwise. Therefore, perhaps if the body positivity movement did choose to take a stronger focus on health, overall, it would enable more to feel comfortable in their bodies, due to being encouraged to lead a healthier lifestyle, leading to a healthier body. Regardless of what the body looks like. 

Conclusion 

Happy new year, and welcome to 2022. The time of year again where gyms, gym wear companies and, come on let us just bite the bullet here, really anything relating to diet culture, can look forward to making money off people. This includes those who long to start fresh this year, embarking on a journey of health and wellness. Among this group, a substantial number consist of women and girls, who are unhappy with their bodies, and will once again strive to change their selves, to get leaner, even though they are healthy weight. For the better or the worse, this group includes me. Thankfully though, there is a strong and persistent movement, acting as a power against this. This is known as the body positivity movement, which encourages women of all sizes to love and embrace their body as they are, rather than worry about aiming to lose more weight, to get to a desired and ideal appearance, which is going to be exceedingly difficult, potentially unhealthy an even impossible for many to achieve. This is going to make more sense seeing how much the ideal standard keeps on changing; from the hourglass in the 1950s, the extremely thin frame in the 2000s, and the current hourglass, which is even harder to achieve, without extensive plastic surgery and gym membership! Therefore, anyone who holds a gram of common sense and who possesses minuscule respect for women, would agree that it is surely better that women are instead encouraged to love and embrace their bodies, regardless of their body type. Yet, as much as we all think that beauty standards are not only wrong, but harmful, we often fail to acknowledge the flaws of the body positivity movement, which is resultantly hindering its progress. 

What is Body Positivity? 

Body positivity relates to a movement which has encouraged people of all sizes to look at their body in a positive light, despite the way the media has influenced us into believing that a particular type of body is the ideal. It dates back as far as the 1960s, and “grew in tandem with women’s liberation and Black Civil Rights in the United States.” It focused on embracing larger women’s bodies, especially those belonging to women of colour. However, as this movement evolved, it has focused more on promoting bodies of all sizes, including skinny bodies, bodies that have cellulite and disabled bodies. Although, there has also been concern that it has become too focused on slim, white bodies, closer to the “ideal”, in recent years. 

Why we Need the Body Positivity Movement 

Before we debunk the body positivity movement, we do need to note why this is so important. Because while it certainly has flaws, it has been particularly important in helping people of different body types feel more comfortable within their bodies. For a start, it is often assumed that larger people are “lazy” because of their size, while discrimination against those people is rife. For example, it is true that a “fat” person would be less likely to be selected for a job compared to their thinner counterparts, even possessing the same skills and qualifications. Furthermore, it is very often the case that when people who may be overweight according to BMI go to the doctor, they are often only advised to lose weight, rather than have their condition investigated, which may not be at all related to their size. An example of this would be the experiences of positivity influencer and “Youtuber FatGirlFlow”, who while experiencing a history of eating disorders, was “continually” told by doctors to “lose weight.” Nonetheless the advice they were giving her was not only unhelpful, but was incredibly dangerous, as her strive to “be healthy, nearly killed her.” This shows that weight most certainly does not equate to health, however there still lies a significant prejudice that larger people are not only lazy, unmotivated etc, but are also “unhealthy”, when this is most certainly not always going to be the case. 

Where some think the Body Positivity Movement is going Wrong 

In recent years, influencers with smaller bodies have captured a substantial amount of the body positivity movement. For instance, while Gabi Gregg, known for the “fatkini” has around 876K Instagram followers, Daene Mercer, another body positivity influencer who has a very thin physique has 2.4 million followers. It is understandable as to why some may feel neglected by the turning that the movement has taken, seeing it ending up being about white women, with bodies close to the ideal, posting photos representing the difference between when they are sucking their stomachs in and when they are not. 

“But hang on a minute, it’s Unhealthy!” 

If anything, I hope the last paragraph has shown you that size does not always equate to health. Yet, it is also true that obesity can lead to a huge array of health complexities. This has led to some people to believe that fat shaming is acceptable including Maher, who contested that if people could be shamed out of smoking, then perhaps fat shaming “would make people rethink their lifestyle habits.” Nonetheless, while it is important to point out that obesity is an important health issue, it is unfair and incorrect to presume that someone has an unhealthy lifestyle just because of their size, just like it would be inaccurate to assume that one leads a healthy lifestyle just because they are slim. 

So, what Happens when the Fat Girl does become Skinny? 

“Let’s make something clear, having a goal for intentional fat loss is not body positive” 

Everyday Feminism 

How beautiful does this sound? All of us should love our bodies, and be perfectly happy in our bodies, regardless of what they look like. But there is a catch. Because what happens when someone like Adele chooses to lose weight? I do not know her exact intentions, but perhaps she did it for her health, because she wanted to feel more comfortable, or she was fed up with the amount of grief that the media gave her beforehand. Even though it was equally beautiful before. Plus, I will not even go into why the media would want to obsess over her body, considering the huge talent she possesses. In my view, it is most likely that her motives were a combination of all three. Therefore, if she was intending to lose fat, then she had to make these healthier choices so these two go hand in hand. Nonetheless, regardless of her intentions, with regards to the media it backfired, with some fans even commenting that they had felt “betrayed” because of her weight loss. Yet, regardless of what your body looks like, surely if she is happier now because of her hopefully healthier lifestyle choices, then we ought to be happy for her? And even if she chose to make this move to change her appearance, no one should ridicule her, considering the extensive pressure she was under. This way, while she may have “given in” to the pressures of beauty standards, considering the difficulty associated with not doing so in the position she is in, no one should shame her for making the decision to lose weight. 

Toxic Body Positivity 

One could choose to look at the body positivity movement, and then think brilliant! Regardless of what weight anyone is at, we ought to, or even need to love our bodies. But surely something must be wrong when people become upset when a public figure chooses to lose a substantial amount of weight? This is because while one can interpret the body positivity movement as a way for them to embrace their bodies regardless, if they are left being felt betrayed at another women’s weight loss, then perhaps it suggests that these people are not as happy within their own bodies as they may think. And while I believe a large motivator for many women losing weight, is unfortunately due to wanting to be viewed in a better light and to be nearer the ideal, another strong motivator is health. And if one knows that their lifestyle is not as healthy as the ideal, then it is likely that they are not going to be as happy with their bodies as otherwise. Therefore, perhaps if the body positivity movement did choose to take a stronger focus on health, overall, it would enable more to feel comfortable in their bodies, due to being encouraged to lead a healthier lifestyle, leading to a healthier body. Regardless of what the body looks like. 

Conclusion 

Coming from the point of view of a young, white women in an “average sized” body, which while not matching up to the ideal, is accepted and not discriminated against in society, one may wonder how I could be in the position to criticise the body positivity movement. However, I hope that some would agree that the body positivity movement should focus on encouraging people to show their bodies more love, rather than show that they love them. In practice, this would look like the movement encouraging people to make healthy choices that will benefit their bodies, rather than plainly stating that we should all love our bodies full stop. Moreover, to progress, the body positivity movement needs to become more inclusive, including more people of colour, different genders and still an expansive range of body shapes. Regardless of whether they are big or small. This said, while it is important for us to look after our bodies, the movement should also address the difficulties arising from living a healthy lifestyle, which is unsurprising considering the hectic, stressful, and expensive world that we are living in. Finally, I will add that regardless of how “healthy” anyone’s lifestyle is currently, and regardless of their appearance, they should not burden themselves with shame because of this, because being “healthy” is not as easy as many tend to make out. And, while one’s body is not as toned etc as what one may like it to be, the body positivity movement should still encourage them to dress as they like, and show off as much of their bodies as they choose, rather than covering it up in shame. 

Coming from the point of view of a young, white women in an “average sized” body, which while not matching up to the ideal, is accepted and not discriminated against in society, one may wonder how I could be in the position to criticise the body positivity movement. However, I hope that some would agree that the body positivity movement should focus on encouraging people to show their bodies more love, rather than show that they love them. In practice, this would look like the movement encouraging people to make healthy choices that will benefit their bodies, rather than plainly stating that we should all love our bodies full stop. Moreover, to progress, the body positivity movement needs to become more inclusive, including more people of colour, different genders and still an expansive range of body shapes. Regardless of whether they are big or small. This said, while it is important for us to look after our bodies, the movement should also address the difficulties arising from living a healthy lifestyle, which is unsurprising considering the hectic, stressful, and expensive world that we are living in. Finally, I will add that regardless of how “healthy” anyone’s lifestyle is currently, and regardless of their appearance, they should not burden themselves with shame because of this, because being “healthy” is not as easy as many tend to make out. And, while one’s body is not as toned etc as what one may like it to be, the body positivity movement should still encourage them to dress as they like, and show off as much of their bodies as they choose, rather than covering it up in shame. 

https://www.self.com/story/skinny-shaming-is-not-the-same-as-fat-phobia

HAS THE BODY POSITIVITY MOVEMENT FORGOTTEN ITS ROOTS?

Why Body Positivity Feels a Bridge Too Far

Why Body Positivity Feels a Bridge Too Far

https://scan.lancastersu.co.uk/2018/11/16/has-body-positivity-gone-too-far/ 

https://greatist.com/live/body-positivity-movement-too-far#11

21 Things I have Learned During 2021


Okay, so hopefully we are still just about in the new year spirit, if such thing exists, where we still may be reflecting on the previous year, just before we must face January full on and forget all our new year’s resolutions. I remember last year (well the year before now), posting “18 things I have Learned before turning 18”, although I have decided this year to write about what the year has taught me instead. Because, at least from my experience so far, being 19 is the same as being 18. Because I still have the same responsibilities, I am still a teenager, and although I have been a legal adult for over a year now (eek), I still do not feel like a fully grown adult. So here goes… 

1. I Actually Know so Little 

What a great way to begin. But it is funny that when I was around 12-16/17, I thought that I was so wise. Yet, I think that due to new experiences and situations arising, I have learned that there is an awful lot which I do not know yet. Which is fine. Does this feeling intensify as you get older, if anyone knows, then please enlighten me… 

2. Reach out to people 

I admit that this is not always going to work, as people are busy, and they may not have too much interest in talking to you. But at the same time, they could potentially end up being significant in your life. And if you do not try, then how will you ever find out? I used to push people away, because I was so terrified that if I were to hang out with them more, act more like myself around them or even go to lunch with them (when invited) I would appear needy. Life is too short, and I know that I would never think ill of someone who contacts me first, even if at the time I was busy and did not have the time to engage with them. And I hope that you would not either (unless you knew that person was a bit of a c*nt). 

3. Lots of men are trash! 

I really do hope that one of the things that 2022 will teach me, is that there are many decent men about as well. Of course, this is something which I do already know, yet 2021 has not really shown this to me. Perhaps I am just too good at attracting bad people. Oops. 

4. Be a bad bitch 

To overcome some of the pain and toxicity that life throws at us all, you need the strength to fight back. Even if you are not the least bit confident in yourself, fake it until you make it. Tell your friends stuff, because often they will recognise that something or someone is not good for you, when at the time you are blind to it. Subsequently, they can tell you not to go on possessing dog poop and wait for something better (even if you will be waiting an eternity). Just remember, you are no one’s object or trophy, no one’s nice person to turn to only when they are feeling down and you are most certainly no one’s plan b!  

5. Workplaces are fucked 

What I mean, is that if you work somewhere, there is usually something going on behind the scenes, which is not too great… An extreme example I want to share, is when I was working back in the summer (working 50+ hours a week😭), there was a particular member of staff who was high up. He was fired, for being under the influence of drugs, sexual harassment and getting into a fight. Only for him to be rehired again, just in time for me to work full time over the summer. And as he would walk by, he would brush up against my ass🤮 I told the managers, and one of them thought I was lying, and then she told me how she was against the me-too movement! Thankfully, I quit in July and found somewhere else where I was not working as many hours. Ha, another lesson, always speak up against this kind of stuff. Even if it is trivial in comparison to what others have been through, it is still unacceptable, and if no one speaks up, these kinds of people will get away with much more severe wrongdoings, which could potentially traumatise someone. Because, as I thought at the time, it was gross that he did that to me, yet if I had been 14, and had a history of sexual abuse (which fortunately is not the case), the consequences could have been severe and long lasting. 

6. Taking breaks is so important  

This is something I have learned this year, and as a result I have far more time to socialise, take time for myself (self-care products are amazing, even though it’s basically consumerism) and my productivity has improved so much. For instance, at the end of 2020 I was super stressed about a levels, and I was working my bum off, only to find that when I started spending less time on work, my grades improved! Perhaps this also means there is something to be said for a four-day work week. Admittedly this is still something that I find difficult, maybe because of being a Capricorn with both parents also being Capricorns (only joking, I do not really believe in all of that). 

Here are some things that I have learned about myself this year. 

7. I am far less introverted than I thought I was 

Ok, it is still the case that when I am in my room be it at home or at university, I like to be uninterrupted. But then I suppose that is the territory that comes with growing up with no siblings, very rarely seeing other family and having remarkably busy parents Xx  

But (and it is a very fat peachy one), if I am out the house, I just love to have a long ass rant with someone. I love to say what is on my mind and I love meeting new people depending on the kind of person they are. I do like to be around people providing that they are the right kind of people. Also going out is so much fun. I think in previous years, I have been overly shy, therefore I went for the easier option of not being as open and shrinking myself to match the vibe of those around me. Which I would say has had a detrimental effect on me in the past. I suppose I am an ambivert, or an extraverted introvert or something, but who knows next year I may come to do a similar post and be like “yo- annoying ENFP has entered the room!” 

8. I kind of hate myself 

🎉🥳🍾 

I am going to try and work on my confidence next year though, but then I do that each year and sometimes I feel like I am getting nowhere. But then I am certainly far better now than I was even last year, not to mention a few years ago. But then I had been trying to “fake it until I make it”, which helps to some degree, but really it is important to be confident internally as well. 

9. Loving yourself is so important 

Do I love myself? Sounds odd to love and hate yourself at the same time, but I am getting there. Do not take shit. 

10. I am definitely pansexual (bisexual) 

How much more oversharing can I fit into one post? Yet since being around 12, I have always felt that I am bi-sexual, although I would not find someone nonbinary or of a different gender off-putting. Yet, I would say that this year has proven that I am not a lesbian, and that I am not straight. 

11. I have internalised homophobia 

Yep, girls are attractive asf! But I tell myself and others that “I know I’m bisexual, but I tend to go for guys over girls.” While it is certainly true that most bisexuals, if not all, are not exactly “50/50”, I could be lying to myself a little when I say that I have a much stronger preference for guys. I know I am more likely to subconsciously push a girl I like away in that respect, I have far more confidence flirting with guys rather than girls (still it is scary), yet there was a female “friend” who I had maybe some feelings for, and I got signals that she may have felt the same about me, causing me to shove her right into the friendzone.  

The rest of what I have learned this year are less serious things, because come on! It only has been a year. 

12. First term of university is a doddle compared to A levels 

I am not saying it is easy, and I am not saying that there is not a ton of reading and revision that I really ought to get started with. But, compared to the work and stress that came with A levels, this is nothing. It is partly because I am with people who, saying it in a nice way, put in varying degrees of effort. In contrast, where I was before you had people crying over getting one B grade, and now there are a substantial number of people in my classes who I do not think I have met yet, because they have not turned up. Yet I know that to pass this year, I only need 40%, which literally means listening to the prerecorded lectures at double speed, and then hoping for the best. 

13. I can be defensive and arrogant  

Sorry if I have hurt anyone, I don’t mean to be a dick. But knowing our own flaws is important if you want to improve yourself💕 

14. Tinned sweet corn is amazing 

15. Don’t live off junk food at university 

It makes you feel like crap, and gives you spots. I knew that already ok; I was quite capable of cooking a proper meal before, but at the same time I was scared to go into the kitchen some of the time, which is so silly considering all my flat mates are lovely people. 

16. When you first move from an area you have lived in all your life, you will miss it 

When I was in Swansea, (when you read this I will be back there again), I actually missed Bournemouth so much, and when I got to Bournemouth, visiting seemed so reviving. This said, I made the right decision to move quite a distance away. 

17. Buying Clothes is too Addictive 

I remember being younger and not really having enough clothes to be able to express myself in (or enough clothes at all to be honest). Then as soon as I started working, I was like “yey, I can finally afford to buy nice clothes”. Sadly, however, this sort of addiction does not really stop. Not sure whether it is just the highly effective impact of personally directed ads, the impact of mini trend cycles or if it is just down to the fact that there is this empty void inside of me that needs something else rather than new clothes. But once you get into fashion, it does not stop… Saying that I have not really brought that much in a while, wait that is a lie. Never mind! 

18. Once you go to university your bank account will be fucked 

All right, so I worked all summer, I got a grant, got my student loan and I even have a part time job. But my bank account is looking sadder as the days go by 😦 

19. The laundry trip at university is hell! 

At this stage I should have just titled this post “University Survival Guide.” But this is worth mentioning, I promise. Because it is a five-minute walk from home to the laundry place and getting the washing and drying done takes at least three round trips.  

20. Spellings Matter 

Even though I have successfully managed to spend the first 19 years of my life convincing myself otherwise. But seriously, I know that the content of the writing is more important than the actual spelling. But at the same time, you do not want to take the risk of someone reading your work to notice that it is full of spelling mistakes. This always used to be me, at school and then sixth form, and I used to think to myself, why is any teacher going to care about what I can and cannot spell, if my essay is about Cuspate Forelands (why do I even remember these things?) But I do not think that the teachers took too well to my poor spelling. 

21. There are no Sheep in Swansea,

probably because they have already been taken XOX. I do feel bad though because some of the guys at the university are jerks. 

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