Last week I shared a photo for 4 different women from behind, all with great but different bums. Asking the question 'which want would you want? hoping to start a debate about great bums, I was surprised at the backlash it got. One lady seemed to be quite offended and accused me of 'jumping on the body shaming band wagon'. As I posted using the hashtags womencrushwednesday #bigbutts #curves #girlpower, my intention was to encourage women to celebrate their curves, their shape and be proud of a big bum. Afterall, it's popular now to have a big booty thanks to Kim & Khloe Kardashian and celebrity fitness model Jen Selter and people paying thousands of pounds to get the perfect derriere.
Personally, I love my big bum. I think it's my best assest. I've always had a big bum as long as I can remember and now people want a bum like mine. FINALLY lol. That's why I found it so strange that a positive post can be perceived so negatively. And once this one women mentioned bodyshaming, she seemed to spark others agreeing.
So it got me thinking WHAT IS BODY SHAMING? Body shaming by definition 'is the action or practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape or size'. That definietly didn't happen.
If this was a photo of 4 men's bum's or torso's even, would we be saying that's body shaming? Can we not celebrate people who have worked hard for their bodies? Whether their goal was to lose weight or build muscle, can we not appreciate the effort and commitment that has gone into achieving that goal without being accused of body shaming? At the end of the day, it is THEIR goal and this is the fitness industry.
Don't get my wrong, I am all for women AND men to feel comfortable with how they are and not constantly feel the pressure of losing weight, looking good etc. I was even brave enought to share my body story on social media as part of the Loose Women My Body Story Campaign and they shared it on TV.
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But let's be real. EVERYONE has something they want to work on. I know I do. Although I love my big bum that also comes with big legs and I'd love to have smaller legs but not necassarily for a vain perspective. It's more for convenience. I struggle when buying jeans, can't even attempt high knee boots to name a few (I remember struglling to buy wellies for a festival that fit me without rubbing the back of my legs).
Now I feel in a way it's gone to far the other way. Yes we shouldn't be promoting unhealthy, unrealistic and unachieveable body types that you see in the mainstream media but when someone is promoting a healthy body type or lifestyle we should encourage and support it.
A few years ago the fitness brand Protein World received huge backlash from one of their Beach body campaigns. As with fashion, fitness has seasons too and we're experiencing one right now. The holiday season is looming and people are working hard on their bodies to feel happy and comfortable when they step out in thier swimwear on holiday and we as fitness profrssionals are here to help them do that. Everyone wants to feel their best on holiday so our marketing will be geared towards that, the same way it is geared to get people back to exercise after the holidays, in the New Year etc.
In the fitness, health and wellness industry we are promoting HEALTH. We are all aiming for the same thing, for people to lead healthy, active lifestyles. If we all helped each other in doing this we would have a much better healthcare system as their would be less people using the NHS for 'lifestyle' illness and operations such as Type 2 Diabetes and /or gastric bands. These can be controlled through diet and exercise. With all the election and NHS talk going on at the moment we should be working towards preventative health measures. NICE chairman and former RCGP chairman Professor David Haslam said the NHS would be sustainable financially in the face of rising rates of comorbidities and an ageing population only if there was a renewed focus on disease prevention and improved population health. Fitness professionals and nutritionists should be encouraged to work more closely with GP's and hospitals to help take the strain and finanical burden off the NHS.
Ultimately, we want the world to be a healthier, happier place (I sound like I'm in a beauty pagaent now). So learn to love yourself and your body but also be proud of the achievements you've made.