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Our Bodies & Social Media

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Why it's so important to love yourself.

It feels somewhat pertinent that I’m writing this today. Amongst being caught up in just general life, I have personally been feeling a little overwhelmed by social media recently, the constant ping or vibrate of notifications or feeling a need to reply to a message. I’m not inferring that I’m in demand (the notifications are often a new post from a page, a group WhatsApp alert, sometimes junk email or a Facebook birthday etc) but it’s that pull that draws us in, to enquire about something new that’s emerged, it is relentless and incredibly tiring.

The below article is a sort of hybrid one as we frequently referred to Social Media and the influence it has over our bodies throughout the session. The two seem frequently interwoven with each other and whilst the subject did refer to our bodies, the overlap was very apparent; how we feel and what we are forcibly told to feel in every day life.

Caroline Flack wasn’t a celebrity profile that I particularly followed (and not for any reason). I had heard about personal allegations on the radio and not thought much about it but I had picked up on some of the abuse she was receiving as a consequence. I was also aware of the criticism she had received over some of her previous relationships and jobs that she’d lost. All of this is entirely my point, I neither followed or engaged with her profile and yet I was still aware of major parts of her life. I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t have wanted certain stories made public and I know that it's not something I was interested in and yet, here we are, all aware of her struggles and ultimately, her tragic death.

Like many of the other thousands of people out there, I feel a sense of rage for her and her family. The rhetoric of ‘it’s their choice to enter the industry’ is not only unfair but entirely unjustified. She was a paid television presenter, someone who received money in exchange for work. Many people feel that public facing roles such as hers cannot retain an element of anonymity because of the nature of it. I also feel, and this is somewhat strongly, that she received so much of this persecution because she was a woman. There are a multitude of other male public figures who have been accused of worse and yet continue to work, receive support and gradually reabsorb themselves into whatever field they came from, successfully erased from our memories and our news. The discourse is predictably repetitive ‘cougar, spinster, alone, flab to fab, aggressive’ - writing this has been very hard to reference because all notable news outlets and social media backlash has been removed, but we’ve all seen it and I don’t need to call any one out.

Like a thrilling car chase, the commercial media is all too familiar with how addicting body image issues can be (and Flack's was almost exclusively based on her image, photos of her after a breakup are still circulating), and therefore use them to sell ideas, which in turn, generate markets for a wide range of merchandise.

There are plenty of positive, supportive body image social media platforms out there. Plenty. But finding them amongst a torrent of negative, ‘get your body back’, targeted ones (and these are the worst in my opinion) is actually really hard. It requires us to be the do-ers, even scrolling past the negative posts are subliminally received. We still see them, and they are there in their droves. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has reported, hidden or removed certain posts that aren’t in line with our ethos or principles but yet they continue to perforate into our profiles.

This article isn’t supposed to harangue but it’s all just so relentless. The mere act of typing into Google 'mum body', threw up all kinds of shit. I get that it’s algorithms and it’s telling me what other people have typed (to a degree, I certainly don’t understand the behind the scenes business that Google benefits from with a regard to clicks) but I don’t even have to finish what I’m typing before the internet tells me what I should.

The general vibe in our meeting was the desire to take control of what we could; clothes, confidence, attitudes, social media. To celebrate our bodies and the behemoth of beauty that we are and what we’ve achieved. To silence targeted ads and keep doing so, to buy better fitting clothes so we feel good, to talk to others if we’re feeling self-conscious or down.

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I’d just like to end on this particularly ranty article on this note. We are all human beings with feelings. Real, hormonal, raw, emotional, self-conscious, jealous, guilty feelings and that’s FINE. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not good enough because you are to more people than you realise and you are more than enough to your children who will continue to love you regardless of what you look like.

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.

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