I have been wondering whether to write this article for a few days now, quite simply because I haven't blogged properly for ages and because I wasn't sure if I wanted my first proper post to be a negative one.
To be honest, I haven't blogged my own proper content for ages, because I was fed up of it either being "wow look at my new pretty dress" or "wow this brand have excluded me". I've been blacklisted by brands and I'm sure PR companies because I call out things in the plus size scene that I don't agree with, but I'm just not very good at keeping my gob shut. I wonder if The Body Positive Awards should have hired banner experts to help with their advertising, as this just isn't cutting it for me!
The Body Positive Awards
These are the newest awards aimed at the plus size industry and maybe I am just bitter about the last awards we all tried to attend (of which these are no association) but I just can't summon up any support for them. I really wanted to - so many people I know and brands I love have been nominated and are excited about the prospect of being winners - and I want to be excited for them, I really do! In fact, the awards did seem like they could be a good thing... and then they sent me their press release.
The Press Release
Although the press release has been recalled and reissued since I pointed out their poor choice of wording to them, their original version proudly boasted that Vanessa Feltz (their presenter) was really excited to be celebrating "real women".
Honestly, it's 2018 and the fact that there are still people who claim to be body positive believing that you need to have curves to be a real woman is exhausting. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes, women come in all shapes and sizes and every single one of them is REAL! Honestly, how far are we really getting when it comes to body positivity if we have to explain this to people who are supposed to be representing the body positive community?
I have nothing against Vanessa personally, I met her once and she was lovely to me - and I realise that she has been through her own battles but she has given SO MANY interviews about her bigger body not being one she liked, one that is better now it is smaller and how she is healthier now she is thinner. I genuinely believe you can be dieting and body positive, I believe you can want to be thinner and be body positive but if you have released a weight loss video, recommended that people "swap sugary fruit juices for vegetable smoothies" as they fill her up when she's hungry, spoken badly about your old, fatter body and suggested people try diet aids made of seaweed, I feel you're not the best spokesperson for our community.
I've looked and looked online for an interview she has given about being body positive, or fat bodies being good ones and I can't find any. Instead I can find her standing next to cardboard cut outs of her old self, talking about how much better her body is now she isn't at risk of a heart attack or diabetes - and I wonder why she was picked to host an awards aimed at those who are fighting this type of discrimination every day!
A Name Change
When the Awards were first announced and people/brands were told that they were nominated the "Ashleigh Plus Size Awards".... a few started to promote it, mention it on their social media etc and then suddenly it was changed, with no real mention to the "Body Positive Awards"
I know, I sound like I'm whinging and I probably am. If you're nominated and excited, I honestly wish you all the best, but please understand why I can not vote for you. If you plan to attend, have the best time but I won't be joining you. I think celebrating fat bodies and the body positive community people is amazing but there are SO MANY people out there that are fantastic advocates for this community so I wish one of them had been chosen instead!