Pure FM Interview

A couple of weeks ago I was honoured to be asked to help with a special programme on Stockport’s local radio station Pure FM’s evening talk show. The aim was to raise awareness of the rise in eating disorders in the UK generally, and to share my own experience and advice with people in the local area. If you fancy having a listen then please click play below or follow the link – like the interview with That’s Manchester it allows me to reach more people to share my message of hope and positivity, and allows you to hear me chatting about what I do and why I do it.

http://podcast.pureradio.org.uk/index.php?id=2661

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Inspirational women: Kelly Clarkson

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Kelly Clarkson has recently made a comeback after some well-earned time off to start a family. Whether you like her music or not, it’s hard to deny that she’s got an incredible voice – and she always seems SO nice and genuine along with it.

So I was really sad when last week she was the target of several bullying comments aimed at her because of her size. She’s always had a yo-yo weight issue which she openly admits – and coming into the public eye having just had a baby means she’s understandably a little heavier than she might like to be. Either way, she’s still beautiful!!

Unfortunately there’s a few others who (maybe they’re jealous) have overlooked her musical talent and the fact that she has just had a baby to poke holes in her with vicious ‘fat’ comments. First to wade in was public hate figure Katie Hopkins – who in fairness has probably offended every single person in this country and abroad with her racist, sexist, fattist and generally unkind comments. She felt the need to hit out at Kelly on Twitter, suggesting she had ‘eaten all of her backing singers.’ She also made out that having a baby a year ago ‘was no excuse’ for being ‘fat’.

Then two American radio hosts made cruel remarks about how she ‘blew up’ and should ‘stay off the deep dish pizza’ live on air (she just had a BABY???). They’ve since apologised sincerely – but really the damage has already been done for millions on insecure women who are vulnerable after having a child and feel fat and ugly. Nice one guys.

The nasty jibes Kelly’s been subjected to this month have been labelled ‘fat-shaming’ by the press. Isn’t ‘fat-shaming’ a horrible word? It almost suggests that it was deserved in some way.

Poor Kelly!

But honestly it looks like I’m probably more upset about this whole fiasco than she is. She (quite rightly) said:

“It doesn’t bother me. It’s a free world. Say what you will. I’ve just never cared what people think. It’s more if I’m happy and I’m confident and feeling good, that’s always been my thing. And more so now, since having a family—I don’t seek out any other acceptance.”

Amen!! I’m glad Kelly has this level of confidence but for many of us that’s just not a reality – and these comments would have really stung.

If you’re being bullied or if you ever have anyone make an unkind comment about you – remember – your life is nothing to do with them. Their motive for trying to make you feel bad about yourself says more about them than it does about you – it’s probably the result of their own jealousy or insecurity – or perhaps they’re just stupid!! Either way, know you’re beautiful as you are just like Kelly, and that there’s much, much more to you than how you look.

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Photoshop Leak – Beyonce

L’Oreal and Maybelline – along with the rest of the beauty industry – are amongst some of the worst photoshop usage culprits. In fact, there are often stories in the press and involving trading standards surrounding the unrealistic advertising of beauty products and make-up and the obvious over-use of photoshop in their marketing. Impossibly smooth skin, slim noses, plump lips, sparkling eyes – these adverts are undeniably beautiful to look at, but they really don’t represent reality in any way at all.

This week saw leaked images of Beyonce and Cindy Crawford – causing a media storm. Beyonce’s images were for her latest L’Oreal campaign, and they did represent a fairly stark difference between the officially released images and the raw images. But that’s not because Beyonce is ugly or defective in any way – far from it! She still looks STUNNING in these photos. She’s been under fire for editing her own photos for Instagram, but even unedited paparazzi and concert photos of Beyonce prove that she is unquestionably a natural beauty. Her skin is certainly not the ‘photoshop smooth’ of the L’Oreal photos – but it isn’t awful. Her face is still the same shape – her nose isn’t as contoured, her skin is darker. In fact, in her official L’Oreal images she looks a little too-perfect, a little alien-like, pale and almost unrecognisable. Surely seeing her in her natural state would be much nicer – and much better – for society, especially the young women who look up to her.

I’m not saying that L’Oreal should release these raw images as an advert for their make-up. They have to be expected to use some sort of editing, they’re a business after all. But wouldn’t it be nicer to see more realistic images – less plastic-doll-perfect? I think that the editing used on skin in the beauty industry is way too harsh and completely unnecessary. What do you think of these unretouched images and their retouched counterparts? Which ones do you prefer?

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Tough Cookie is a blog for support and inspiration during recovery from Anorexia. Eating disorder recovery can be tough – but so are you!

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Alicia Douvall – an example of society’s misunderstanding of Body Dysmorphia

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I’ve not watched Celebrity Big Brother this series; but nowadays you don’t really have to to get a feel for what is going on in the house! It is all over the media, and understandably so. This year seems to have introduced one of the most controversial series yet – indeed they appear to be getting more and more complaints with each new series and each new episode!

When asking my friend who was in the house this year, she rattled off a list of washed up Z-listers along with an unapologetic commentary summing up each with very little mercy. She eventually came to ‘a glamour model whose had a shit load of surgery – ugly’. Straight away, I knew who she was referring to. And I actually found myself upset about what she had said.

 

That’s because Alicia Douvall has openly talked about her battle with Body Dysmorphia, a battle which clearly is being won on a daily basis, and not by her. Yet still people are so cruel and judge her only by her apparent ‘stupidity’ and shocking looks – the type of judgemental behaviour which causes many to become overly self-conscious in the first place.

The power of Body Dysmorphia can’t be underestimated. Couple that with enough money and a ‘good reason’ to continue ‘improving yourself’ (in Alicia’s case, her career), then you have a really potent combination.

Despite having spoken at length and even having done a television programme talking about her BD, (albeit not a necessarily informative one which seemed to concentrate more on her not winning the battle than winning it) still she is ridiculed by a society who through no fault of their own really are ignorant and misguided in the way they see her, and others like her.

When I do have the courage to open up and explain to people what having Body Dysmorphia means for me, I’m often met with surprise and disbelief. I’m invariably asked why I feel that way. People’s perception of me changes instantly; whoever they thought I was, they then see somebody who doesn’t see themselves how everybody else sees them and whose actions and behaviours are influenced and fuelled by their need to be approved of, by themselves and by others.

If Alicia Douvall had instead been somebody with a birth defect which had disfigured her face, I’m sure that any negative comment passed on how she looked would have been met with a fairly large amount of disgust and negativity by the British public. But because Alicia’s condition is not something we can see, and appears to be ‘self-inflicted’, she is subject to what can only be described as bullying. Especially poignant as for most of us being bullied is what caused us to develop BD in the first place.

There’s others too – Lauren Goodger, Katie Price, Heidi Montag. All ridiculed, but to someone with BD it’s blindingly obvious that they are actually crippled with insecurity.

Yep, she put herself in CBB, she put herself in the public eye, as all these people do, and in these cases there is of course an element of ‘asking for it’. But what concerns me is public perception as a whole of BD because let’s face it, how many people even know it exists? How often is it mistaken for vanity?

Do you ever come up against stigma or unkind and unwanted criticism relating to your Body Dysmorphia?

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Lana Del Rey – ‘Tummy Controversy’

It’s such a shame that apparently nobody can be successful without having their appearance torn apart by journalists!

Recently Lana Del Rey has been filming the video for her latest single, in which she plays a stripper. Paparazzi snapped images of her on set, smiling and having a lovely time whilst wearing a few questionable outfits (all for the purpose of the theme, of course!)

However some people feel it is necessary to take this opportunity to berate Lana over her figure, stating that she is ‘too big’ and ‘not toned’ .

No, she doesn’t have the lithe, toned, muscle-and-bone figure of Miranda Kerr, but does that mean she isn’t beautiful or is ‘wrong’ in some way? Of course not, for God’s sake. There isn’t one type of beautiful. She looks normal. Since when did being normal become such a crime?

The Sun reported the story with positivity and praise for the singer, with the headline ‘Lana Del Rey Sizzles in Red Undies to Play Stripper in Video’.

Despite this, certain ridiculous individuals have felt the need to comment on her figure below. Here’s just a couple:

‘A fabulous voice, one of the more genuinely talented female performers around, just a shame she doesn’t tone her figure just a little.’ – Irrelevant?? This was coming from a man, so I can only assume that for him to make this comment he looks like Jake Gyllenhaal.

‘You got to be bacon to sizzle…this is just suet.’ No words for this, frankly. None that are non-offensive at least. Others continue in the same vein.

I’d love to see what these people look like – I’m pretty sure they won’t be oil paintings themselves. It’s pathetic that they feel they need to contribute in this negative, unkind manner – as I always say, bullying is usually borne out of insecurity.

Above all this again proves this expectation that those in the public eye should be perfect; and this expectation of course filters through and into our daily lives until we are all at a point where we are striving to ‘look perfect’ so as not to disappoint others.

My overall opinion is this: firstly, it’s not down to other people to criticize how you look and decide how you should be and how you should not be. Fact.  Secondly, if you are talented or successful people will try to put you down one way or another – they will just find something obvious to them. Finally – I really don’t think it matters that Lana isn’t stick thin. It’s refreshing and pleasing to see a celebrity looking pretty normal. She’s a singer – nowhere in her job description does it state that she should look like a rake. Why do these people care so much that she hasn’t been spending hours of her life in the gym? It baffles me.

Who’s with me?

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