This Societal Obsession With Weight Loss is Shameful
Never mind placing your bets on who might have won the crown in the latest series of I’m a Celebrity.
You’d have had been better advised to stick your money against the idea of what the first headline about the female contenders would read.
We all know, just as day follows night, it’s the weight-related column inches which appear within 24 hours of the final celebs emerging from their gruelling (and wholly unnatural) camp experience.
‘Check out Kate’s post-jungle bikini body’
‘I dropped two stone on jungle diet’, says Queen Jossa
‘Slimmed down Jac looks stunning after rice rations’….
You know the drill.
These headlines are predictable at best, and utterly irresponsible and triggering at the worst.
Instead of acknowledging Jacqueline Jossa for having been courageous and authentic throughout her outback experience, we’re ‘encouraged’ to evaluate the actress on the basis of how much she’s managed to ‘shrink’ her shape during her few weeks or paltry sustenance.
In fact, such is the anticipation of how this jungle experience will inevitably play out, that Jacqueline herself even emerged from the camp admitting that her priority was knowing how much she’d managed to ‘lose’ (and that she hoped it was more).
Isn’t it high time we started calling out this societal and media obsession for what it is?
Isn’t it time we started criticising and railing against this unhealthy ‘norm’ of comparing one another, and judging individuals – for better or worse – based on what their body shape is?
The very fact that the celebrities emerge from an experience like the jungle and immediately start assessing themselves for how much their body composition has apparently ‘improved’ is deeply saddening and distressing.
Why are they not applauding their tenacity, resolve, resilience and camaraderie?
Why instead, are they so focused on the inches, lbs, cm’s and stones dissolved during this crazy reality tv charade?
It says so much about how we continue to believe our body size ‘matters’ to others and that it personifies who and what we are, beyond so many alternative personality factors and features.
Even without any prior experience of eating disorders and restrictive food behaviours or dysmorphic body attitudes, the world’s preoccupation with weight, and the media dialogue about this topic, has the power to trigger many an individual into unhealthy habits.
It’s high time we were calling out these headlines and rolling our eyes in annoyance and disgust, that anyone should see this as ‘valuable’ or appropriate social content.
And of course – it goes far beyond our assessment of celebrities and their sudden weight transitions (from a jungle challenge, a TV role, or their summer vacation).
We need to consider too, how we reference our own friends and family, colleagues and companions, whenever their body shape changes.
We need to remind ourselves that to comment on someone’s weight is of the potential to suggest that this is the ‘significant thing’ we notice most about them.
Should we not be referring instead to their radiant skin, their stunning outfit, or the lust for life their radiating since last we saw them?
This Christmas, let’s make a festive commitment to notice those we love for something other than the physical shape they’re in.
Let’s change this ridiculous societal obsession and celebrate each other for all our other unique qualities.
- Dec 2019