Images by Abigail Oliver Photographer
So I think it is very apparent by now, that in the last few years there has been a large online presence of body confidence and body positive messages being put out there to encourage us all to feel happy in our own skin. This, obviously, is amazing. Through my teen years I too struggled massively with body confidence, always feeling overweight and unhappy in my own skin. This is something that is still very much the case, however I do feel like because of the way social media has gone, to put out anything other than the body confident message is deemed to be wrong. This Summer, I HAVE felt very uncomfortable in my own skin, mainly just when it has come to clothes.
To begin with, I think something that has got seriously out of control in our high street shops is the sizing. I have always been a comfortable size 10 to 12, but this year, my sizing has been all over the place. For example, last week in New Look alone I bought a top in a size 10, a jumpsuit in 14 that fitted perfectly and another jumpsuit that only worked for me in a size 16. Correct me if I’m wrong, but how can this be possible in one shop? It is so disheartening when going to try something on in your usual size and it doesn’t fit even a little. It is no wonder that the majority of women, and men, in our world feel uncomfortable with their bodies. Our high street shops really need to start getting their act together with sizing.
It is already a known fact that sizing can vary massively between retail shops. Never be discouraged by the number on the label and focus on what you feel comfortable in and what looks great.
When it comes to social media, I think we all need to remember that it can very much be just as brain washing as the size zero model on the front cover of Vogue. The truth of the matter is that the majority of social media influencers, who we all follow, also comply to this smaller framed figure that obviously looks fabulous in all the size 6 Dior clothes that they have been gifted. Don’t get me wrong, there are a selection of these influencers who I love to follow, however something I cannot stand is when such influencers write and share about body confidence, captioning their bikini images with ‘always be happy in your own skin’. Well of course you are happy in your own flab and cellulite free skin, looking fabulous in your £200 Dolce and Gabana bikini.
I am never going to judge these women for what they choose to share online, as it is a free space for everyone, however I don’t respect the message that they are often giving off. The average size in the UK for females is a 16, all of whom have stretch marks, cellulite, lumps and bumps. If you are giving the illusion in your images of anything other than normal, then you cannot tell your readers, most of whom probably don’t look like that, to be happy in their own skin. In fact, these images often make it worse, as a normal woman feels under pressure to look like that. It is this pressure that leads to extremely negative feelings about ourselves and how we look. I am more than happy to share that I am someone who feels like this often when scrolling through my Instagram feed.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t have to be this way. We are all capable of taking control of our feelings and the way that we feel towards our bodies. The first step has to be to ignore these fake messages that are being put out there online and in the traditional forms of media. Once you start blurring these out and not taking anything from the messages, becoming more confident in yourself will become so much easier. I am very much still in the middle of this stage, which is possibly because it is Summer and everyone is still posting pictures of themselves in bikinis on a yacht in Croatia.
Being happy in your own skin doesn’t mean that you have to be body confident. Just because you are happy with yourself, it doesn’t mean that you also have to be confident strutting your stuff on a beach in front of everyone.
Finally, I think something that does very much come into the body confidence category is our attitude to food. Compared to 10 years ago, there has been a real rise in the ‘green diet’ outlook on life, with everyone sharing images of their acai bowls, green super salads and vegan chocolate bars. I am all for healthy eating and getting your nutrients, but I am also a huge advocate for balance… and chips. I love food, cooking and eating it, so I hate how there seems to be a huge aspect of shame when someone admits that they ate a KFC and a chocolate bar in one hour, or a piece of cake for breakfast.
To do so every day is bad for our bodies, yes, but to do so occasionally is absolutely fine. Eat the potatoes, eat the biscuit, eat the takeaway. But, also eat your veggies, your fruit and get to the gym a few days a week. It is all about balance and never stopping yourself from eating the foods you enjoy because it is frowned upon by society.
How do you feel about your body? Do you feel body confident and where do you get your inspiration from?
Shop this post:
Dress – New Look
Bag – Pretty Little Thing
Hat – Dune London
I have not been paid to feature any brands, and all views and opinions are my own.