Summer 2020

Summer is here, and for some of us the summer vacation/holidays have begun. However, this year with lockdown/quarantine the annual break from work has taken a different turn as for most of us it will be spent at home. Some airlines will be flying to take us away, but how many of us will risk catching Covid-19 in so doing?

It is also the time of year when we have adverts to pressurise us to loose weight for fitting into a bikini or swimming costume. The world is full of TV, magazines, and diet talk constantly reminding women of the young, smooth, skinny ideal. Men are not exempt from this either. Some blame on the rise of social media, and the narcissistic selfie culture that the late fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld rather accurately aptly described as ‘electronic masturbation’. However, reality tv shows such as ‘Love Island’ brainwash viewers with an idealised version of how both men and women should be in the 21st century. Then there are celebrities and influencers on social media, who edit their images and lives, and so when we do not match they can leave a big hole in our self confidence, self image and mental health, leading to depression and even suicide.

Despite lockdown, the pressure for the impossible ‘perfect body’ for the summer still seems to be in full swing, although much of our normal routines have changed, temporarily to permanently. Also, there have been many jokes about haircuts done during this time as cannot access a professional to do it for us. Equally, some have gained or lost weight as ways to cope with these strange times. I also realise this pressure will keep continuing as people return to their works and routines beyond the summer. Have you seen the Facebook meme entitled “When You Meet Your Friends After Quarantine,” which shows toddler girls baring their admittedly adorable bellies which they bonk together? So how can we be ourselves, comfortable in our own skins, when there is pressure to be something we are not? How do we combat these messages, and the negativity they may bring to our mental health?

It is not easy, but gratitude is a good starting point. Being grateful to our bodies for getting us through another day, and keeping going through an enormously stressful time for all human beings. For some keeping a journal writing five positive things each day about themselves may help, or even sharing them on social media to encourage others to join in. Finally, accepting that there is no such thing as a ‘perfect body‘, in fact in some ways every type of body is their type of perfect. A couple of quotes I like says it all from anon: “The number on the scale does not define your health or your worth” and “Imagine if we obsessed about the things we loved about ourselves.

© Fi S. J. Brown

 

 

Olympic body shaming

Social media can be used for many positive things particularly during the Olympics, for example congratulating people representing our nation in sports, not always people that we knew of before they began, or inspire us to take a look at trying a sport as looks fun or interesting. However, it also has its ugly head that rears too as people mock those that fail to win medals, the achievements of getting there alone are not enough.

In recent years body shaming has become a thing on social media and the Olympians have not escaped it – First came the body shaming of a female Mexican gymnast Alexa Moreno who’s body was not the stereotypical view of a gymnast and now I am reading about a male Ethiopian swimmer Robel Kiros Habte who has a ‘dad bod’. Why do we feel the need to criticise someone’s physical shape, and is doing something most of us could have only dreamed of, are we that jealous as species now we will find anything we can pick holes in another to belittle their achievements? Why do we like to make heroes of people only to knock them down when find they are less than perfect?

Nobody has a perfect life or body, more like a perfect lie, as each day we have obstacles great and small just to get from dawn to dusk. I admire people for achieving and/or living their dreams, often against the odds and/or do so in ways that inspire me too. Enough of this negativity, jealousy, envy and greed of others, we are all different and not identikit zombies. Let us celebrate what makes the beautiful person others and ourselves are (I do not mean physical beauty either) and not pick holes in until we look like Swiss cheeses. Celebrate the individuality in us all, not just the similarities that bring us together.

© Fi S. J. Brown