Right, sorry about this, but I have to just get something off my chest.  I read an Instagram comment last night that really got me worked up.  It deals with the issue of body image and, in my opinion, body shaming, but not in the way we are used to.

A photo was posted on Lorna Jane‘s Instagram of two women wearing her workout clothing.  The women are behind the blog A Bikini A Day, and this image was from their recent post, ‘Look Cute While Working Out’…Tash and Devin advise on health, fitness, beauty and they love to wear bikinis.  There are tonnes of photos of them wearing bikinis and working out, and not to sound crass, but they look bangin’.  The image in question is of the two of them ‘looking cute’ at the gym.  It’s a totally staged and styled photograph, complete with professional hair, makeup and lighting, just like you would see in a magazine.  Tash and Devin are not trying to fool anyone into thinking that they have just run 5ks on the tready, as there is not a drop of sweat to be seen, or a hair out of place.

Anyhoo, this was the comment that pissed me off…

And this is why I don’t wear Lorna Jane!  The models are so far from what everyday girls look like.  I don’t want my daughter looking at these images and thinking big boobs, spray tans and six packs is the norm!!

Firstly, these are not Lorna Jane models, they are completely independent of the brand, but happen to be wearing some merchandise in their own photograph.  Secondly, can we all stop using the terms ‘everyday’ and ‘real’ to label women?  These ladies are real, they are just in a fake situation, and with all the ways we can edit and filter our own online images these days, the rest of us are just as guilty of promoting a dishonest portrayal of ourselves.  Yes, these women have amazing bodies, and whether they have been genetically blessed, work damn hard or have had a little surgical assistance, they are entitled to look however they want without strangers questioning their right to be real.  Nowhere on their website do they say, “If you don’t look like this you suck”.  That bit is all in the mind of the beholder.

I see plenty of women ‘everyday’ with big boobs, spray tans, and even six packs – not necessarily all at once, but sometimes all at once.  Hell, I’ve even had a six pack, and I love a bit of fake tan, so how do I qualify as ‘everyday’ and ‘real’ and yet those in the public eye are open slather for judgement?  Everyone has a different body type, a different diet, a different level of physical activity,  a different perception of health and beauty and everyone is battling with their own insecurities, which is where I think comments like these stem from.  I know I’ve made comments like this before and I know that these images can make us feel depressed and less-than, but that’s when we have to stop and think logically and positively.  Being honest with yourself about how you care for your body and general health, including mental, will help you understand why these photographs can stir up such anger and negativity.  When you are treating yourself well and feeling deserving of love and nourishment, images like this become easier to appreciate and enjoy.

We have to be so mindful of how insecure reactions impact those of our kids too.  Teaching your daughter that this body type or attribute is ‘unattainable’ or ‘unreal’ will just cause confusion, because one day she’ll see someone who looks just like this and be completely confused, or shit, maybe her body will develop into this and your years of shaming will make her feel like she’s a freak.  What we need to be teaching our girls and boys, is that pretty pictures are manufactured and although the models in them are definitely real, they have had a little assistance to appear ‘perfect’.   Kids today know all about filters and editing, so they’ll hopefully fare better than we have in deciphering what is ‘real’.

In response to a question regarding the realness of a woman’s breasts, an Irish friend of mine replied, “If I can touch them, they’re real”.  He never got the chance to find out…

I agree that not all body types are represented in media, or accepted as ideal in our society, and I’m sorry to say it, but that isn’t going to change any time soon.  What can change though, is the way we react to these images, especially in front of our children.  Referring to any body type as unacceptable or inappropriate is wrong in my opinion, and only reinforces the unhealthy obsession we have with other peoples bodies in comparison to our own.  There is no wrong way to have a body.  Bringing an end to the trash media cycle would be a good start too, but our need to examine and judge celebrities’ post baby or bikini bodies, is far too powerful and we just keep feeding the monster.  We really only have ourselves to blame.

I’m not going to go on for too long with this.  I know some of you won’t agree with me and others will have even stronger opinions, which I encourage you all to share.  Before I sign off though, I can’t help but wonder if the reaction of this woman, and the rest of us, would have been different if there was a before photo next to it of Tash and Devin each 50 kilograms heavier and it was posted on Michelle Bridges’ Instagram.  Think about that!  Boom!