I wanted to collect my thoughts and emotions before I had my say. To put my points into context recently Nike has made a positive and powerful statement by displaying a plus size mannequin in its shop in London.
Why is this important?
People, women in particular, find the idea of exercising immensely fearful, the thought of doing it can cause anxiety and panic attacks, along with other mental health issues just because they are worried what others will think, worried how they will look and generally feel unworthy and out of place. Therefore, this Nike campaign showing that movement is inclusive of all shapes and sizes is empowering to many. It will empower many and also “insult” those who have fatphobia.
What is fatphobia?
Definition: fear and dislike of obese people and/or obesity.
Usually they are people who are so fearful that they are fat or will get fat themselves that they feel the need to bully and/or insult those who have extra fat.
Tanya Gold wrote an article in response to the Nike’s courageous act. “Obese mannequins are selling women a dangerous lie.”
I’d firstly like to challenge the title and put this idea into your mind, what has the diet culture been doing for years on end? Has the diet industry not been seeing us a lie that we can all be skinny when we drink this shake or take this pill? Food for thought right?
She goes on to insult the mannequin and Nike’s bold move and states this,
“The fat-acceptance movement, which says that any weight is healthy if it is yours, is no friend to women, even if it does seem to have found a friend in Nike. It may, instead, kill them, and that is rather worse than feeling sad.”
The term "Fat-acceptance" is laughable and I will come back to that, but I’d like to address how Ms. Gold feels that this “movement” is killing us and apparently we’re happy about it! Again I question how the opposite let’s say the “thin movement” has done? She includes statistics of obsesity yet does not include statistics of eating disorders? Currently there are approximately 1.25 million people with eating disorders in the UK and these are only the ones who have been brave enough to seek help. Also after just having had mental health awareness week in May where there focus was on body image using #bebodykind there are many mental health issues that are associated with how people feel about their body.
The “fat acceptance” movement or Body Positive for more of a better description have made a hugely positive impact throughout many lives, from the likes of Megan Crabbe, Mel Wells, Ashley Graham, Iskra Lawrence - to name but a few promoting self acceptance, self compassion and most importantly self love. The Body positive movement is in encouraging women to stop waiting to be happy, to stop putting off what they want to do with their lives until they’ve dropped a dress size or lost weight. To accept their bodies as they are and learn to love themselves “flaws” and all. In no way shape or form do they say “be like me” or “being fat = happiness” *insert eye roll*
I found the article completely contradicting as Ms. Gold states,
“Stay that weight and you will be an old woman in your 50s. The obese Nike athlete is just another lie.”
Insinuating we need to lose weight to stay healthy and fit, correct? But then she’s insulting the “obese” mannequin for its existence but she wants obese people to lose weight? Let’s work this out...she wants obese people to lose weight, but she doesn’t think that overweight people can exercise, “she is not readying herself for a run in her shiny Nike gear. She cannot run. She is, more likely, pre-diabetic and on her way to a hip replacement” - Tanya Gold.
Okay so a mannequin doesn’t have feelings and emotions but there are women out there now that will feel the impact from her words and it will make them weep, it will make them doubt their self worth and it is likely to stop them from having the courage to exercise.
Movement is for everyone, movement shouldn’t be for weight loss, having an obsessive need to exercise for fat loss can lead to eating disorders. In fact I feel if you’re moving for weight loss and not for fun then you’re doing it all wrong. Movement/exercise should be enjoyable, there are so many different options, find what brings you joy. Head to #thisgirlcan to find different types of movement that you can try out.
Just a few weeks ago I took part in Celebrate You - a 10K run through London in my underwear with 1000 other brave ladies. Lead from the front by Bryony Gordon and Jada Sezer we made a statement that movement is for everyone no matter what shape and size. It was a powerful and magical experience (okay before hand was not I had a mini mental breakdown but I pulled through and it was an incredibly empowering experience). Check out these babes of all shapes and sizes.
I am on a mission to empower women to conquer their body image issues and guide them on their self love journey and I will not apologise for embracing my body as it is and I will continue on my mission to empower women.
Lastly, I feel sad for Tanya Gold, I don’t feel hate or anger towards her, I feel sad that she thinks this way and wonder what demons she is battling in her own mind and hopes she finds peace within her self and learns to love her body for the beauty that it truly holds.
Send love to her and be thankful that we don’t have the negative mindset she possess. Well done Nike and long may the “fat acceptance” crew grow and grow.
With love & gratitude,
Ana Louise Bonasera
Confidence & Clarity coach
Read my blog on Celebrate you below
Ana Louise Bonasera, mum of 4 boys, girl power enthusiast.