Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Danielle Brooks discusses body image


US actress Danielle Brooks, who plays Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson on Orange Is the New Black, recently penned a body image essay for Glamour.

Excerpts from the essay are detailed below:

“In this entry [journal from her teenage years] I had written about how insecure I was about my weight. I wasn’t able to wear the flared jeans and cute tops the other girls wore—they didn’t come in my size. On top of that, I was dark-skinned and had natural hair. By the standard definition of beauty I had absorbed from the world around me, I had three strikes against me: I was too dark, too curly, and too fat.

“Because of this insecurity, I was desperately unhappy. I was even having suicidal thoughts. But you wouldn’t have known it. The world saw a young teenage girl who was happy in her skin, laughed a lot, and didn’t care what anyone thought about her. The truth of the matter was I wasn’t happy in my skin; I laughed to hide my pain.

“Ironically, achieving a measure of success in this field that gave me confidence threatened to shake the very foundation of that hard-earned self-worth. Being in the public eye magnifies my “imperfection” to an insane degree. Actresses [with whom she atteneded the Golden Globe Awards] don’t look like most women. I’m not saying those actresses should gain 30 pounds, but I am posing the question, that if art is supposed to reflect life then why don’t the red carpets and magazines reflect reality?

“I might not have the power to change what media puts out there, or to single-handedly convince young girls like me that they should love themselves. But what I can do is start with me: living each day, embracing who I am…..”

Read essay


Thursday, May 21, 2015

I promise ...

For thousands of years, the appearance of a rainbow in the sky has been associated with an ancient promise*.

These two rainbows appeared over my house on Monday evening. I decided to take the opportunity to document 11 promises to myself; promises that could benefit anyone who implements them.

I promise:-

- To accept myself as I am. I will see myself as a unique valuable human being and not waste time comparing myself to others or wishing that I was someone else.

- To acknowledge that, like everyone else, I have strengths and weaknesses. I will advance my strengths and work on my weaknesses.

- To be consciously thoughtful to others and treat them with kindness and respect. I will endeavour to take time to develop relationships and appreciate others for who and what they are; without trying to change them into what I think/would like them to be.

- To be consciously accepting, kind, forgiving and respectful to myself.

- To recognize that i) there are some things in my life that I cannot control or change and ii) that this fact does not reduce my potential for happiness or success.

- To appreciate the people, things or moments/experiences that have a positive impact on my life; however big or small.

- To live according to my conscience by doing what I believe is right; even if it is difficult or time consuming.

- To accept life’s challenges and learn/grow from the experiences, whether the outcomes are deemed successful or not.

- To believe in myself and not allow doubt or fear to stop me pursuing my dreams.

- To walk away from peoples/places/experiences that have a negative mental or physical affect on me.

- To enjoy my life’s journey and have fun along the way.

* Genesis 9:13: ‘I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth’.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Honest Body Project

Photographer Natalie McCain's "Honest Body Project" depicts a sequence of personal photographs of mothers that “show their joy, their beauty, their imperfections, and their love for their children.”

Natalie explained to the Huffington Post that the negative body image and depression that a friend suffered opened her eyes to “a serious growing issue with young girls today”. She believes that mothers can help and support their children by learning to “love your body, and in turn, set a good example and start conversations with your children about how women really look."

Natalie explained that this is the approach that she takes with her own children: “My son thinks my soft, mushy stomach is the best pillow in the world. My daughter once told me that my 'muffin top' looked like a pool floatie around my stomach," she said. "I could've been upset and hurt over the comment, but instead I chose to laugh and picked her up and said, 'well let's go to the beach then!' When you change your inner voice, your entire world changes."

The featured women were initially anxious about exposing their true/real bodies, but later described the experience as ‘empowering’ and ‘healing’. "The truth”, said Natalie “ is that this has been healing me, as well."

Quotes from women who participated in the project include:

"My stretch marks don't bother me-they are a constant reminder of what my body did, and what it did was pretty sweet."

"Growing up, I was most insecure about my boobs, which were always large. After becoming a mother, I would say my stretch marks and loose skin on my stomach. In thinking about how to answer this question I had to ask myself, why? I think people, whether they intend to or not, judge a book by it's cover, and so maybe I am more insecure about if/when they judge me, will I be able to NOT ALLOW it to affect me?"

"I regret being so self conscious about my body for most of my life. Even to this day I will find myself in the shower, pulling and poking at my imperfections. I decided to be apart of this project in hopes that I could learn to accept my body for what it is and learn to love myself."

“… I try now, as a mother, to talk about my body with kind words, in hopes that my sons will grow up to be respectful of all women, no matter their shape."

“… I am who I am, and my hair or my skin or my body has nothing to do with the person that I am inside. Take me or leave me, but I love who I've become. "

Honest Body Project


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Adam Rickitt discusses his eating disorder

 This week, in a bid to raise awareness for Mental health week, ex Coronation Street actor Adam Rickitt openly discussed his eating disorder with Lorraine (ITV1):

“For me it hit crisis point when I was 15”, said Adam, “ and I got a rugby injury because I was at a school which was very traditional, rugby and academic and if I’m honest looking back now, the problem started much younger because I never felt like I fitted into that environment.

Following his injury, Adam couldn’t train and told Lorraine that he started bingeing and purging as a way of distracting himself: “I was eating to try and keep my weight up so I could get back training and literally, I’d just without realising, been eating and eating and eating for two hours stood up and was just sick on the spot.

“Now whereas most people would be ‘Oh my God I’ve been sick it’s terrible’ I looked at my watch and went ‘I’ve just not had to think for two hours’ so I did it straight again and it started out as a way of distracting my brain…

“But the problem once you get on that destructive road, it just snowballs and snowballs and snowballs and by the end of it, 18 months later, I was setting my alarm for six o’clock in the morning so I could start eating and bingeing and I was throwing up up to 30 times a day.

"People think you’re in denial you know from the first second whether it’s drink, drugs, depression or eating disorders, you know from the first second that you’re on the path but the problem is you’re so embarrassed.

“It becomes so secret [illness]… People think you’re in denial you know from the first second whether it’s drink, drugs, depression or eating disorders, you know from the first second that you’re on the path but the problem is you’re so embarrassed.

“I was so embarrassed because I had no reason to be feeling like this so it was even worse because I knew I was punishing my parents and I knew everyone knew as well and that was the worst thing.

“I’m an everyday guy and yet it happened to me and it can literally happen to anyone....It was part of me and who I was.” he ended.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Choosing 'beautiful' or 'average'


Dove’s latest campaign video (above) depicts women mentally deliberating before making a choice whether to walk through a door labelled ‘average’ or one labelled ‘beautiful’. Once they have walked through their chosen door, they reflect on the reasons behind their choice.

"Am I choosing because of what's constantly bombarded at me, what I'm being told that I should accept”, pondered one woman after walking through the ‘average’ door. “Or”, she continued, “am I choosing because that's what I really believe?”

The issues I have with the video are as follows:

1. Let’s say for arguments sake that she had chosen to walk through the ‘beautiful’ door. Would that mean that she had no /resolved her confidence/body image issues and all was well? If only it were that easy.

2. The choice to walk through the ‘beautiful’ door is a difficult one; much more difficult than the video implies. The decision could leave her seriously questioning her choice if she later compared herself (most women do) to the beauty standards idealised and widely promoted in our culture.

3. Walking through the ‘beautiful’ door also places the emphasis on her appearance and not on her emotional or physical health, talents, nurturing abilities (she was carrying her son), personality traits etc.

4. There is also the issue that the video implies that walking through the ‘beautiful’ door is the right choice and choosing ‘average’ is inherently wrong. In reality there is no right or wrong. Average, by definition means that many, if not most, women will be and see themselves as ‘average’ i.e. in the middle. A happy confident woman with a positive body image might decide that she was ‘average’; a decision which is perfectly acceptable. Choosing ‘average’ is not the lesser choice and it does not automatically equate to confidence or body image issues.


Friday, May 08, 2015

Celebrity influence on your teen's body image

Social media -- Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat -- and celebrities have created a highly-charged 24/7 cycle of unrealistic body images that your teen may aspire to. Dysmorphia, a condition in which there is dissatisfaction with body appearance, is on the rise as your teen struggles to reach perfection. In fact, in a study by the Keep It Real Campaign, 80 percent of all 10-year-old, American girls have been on a diet…….

Read article to see how parents can help.

1. Continue being there for your child, as parent and guide
2. Gather around the dinner table
3. Be what you want to see.
4. Finally, remember that you are entitled to parent.



Tuesday, May 05, 2015


When you look in the mirror, are you happy with what you see?