Yesterday, I attended a talk called ‘Size Doesn’t Matter’. I had never been to anything like this before, but I saw it advertised online and thought I would go and see how it went (Mainly because I love Natasha Devon and wanted to see her speak live).
Before I attended I thought I had no expectations of the event or any thought on what it would be like, but as I left feeling that something wasn’t quite right I realised I had built up a whole host of expectations in my head.
I should point out that this is my personal review and that many people I spoke to on the night really enjoyed it – so I think it is my personal perception and expectation which led me to feel unsatisfied by it, but never the less I attended, it seems appropriate for this blog so I thought I would review it!
The 2 and a half hour event was packed full of different people talking about their experiences of body image and what it meant for them. On paper, it seemed fantastic and something that I would definitely love to be involved in. I am sure most of you by now realise that I am very much a love your body advocate and have for many years felt comfortable in my own skin.
One of the first things that made me feel uncomfortable was Carole Spenser talking about supermodels being a ‘genetic abnormality’. She spoke about them having odd giraffe-like necks and shoulders that were too wide. To me, it seems an odd approach to take on a talk that was about loving your body shape no matter what, and that everyone is beautiful in their own way... So, to call anyone a ‘genetic abnormality’ seemed an unusual way to promote this...I understand you would not want to promote an eating disorder/starving yourself to have the body of a catwalk model but this really did seem a strange way to talk.
That is without explaining her choice of outfit (lose and unclingy) being chosen because she had eaten too much.Maybe I misunderstood that point of the talk, but if you have indeed eaten ‘too much’ then you should still be able to wear what the fuck you like – because you are beautiful anyway so why hide it?
Natasha Devon gave a talk which I loved – her campaign to bring body positivity into schools I think is a fantastic one and one that is long overdue! One of their slogans actually matches one of my tattoos (Be-You-Tiful) which I had before I even know about Body Gossips campaign.... However, it seems that you can only spread the ‘Be-You-Tiful’ slogan on your clothing if you are under a size 22. I understand that there are probably budget restrictions and more surrounding this, but it did seem a massive shame. (I am only saying this out of bitterness because I want a black and bright pink version of their top which I can’t have L)
After the first break, there was a talk from two sisters who run a company/campaign called ‘Beyond Chocolate’ which is about breaking free of diets... All very well, but they talked about how to eat the ‘right foods’ and have the ‘right’ approach to eating... Their book is called 'how to stop yo-yo dieting and lose weight for good', but I wasn't (I didn't think) coming to a talk about diets and the right approach, I thought it was about feeling good about yourself, whatever - even if you choose not to diet! Again, maybe I misunderstood the point of the talk, but I would assume a talk headed ‘Size Doesn't Matter’ would also be about being able to be plus-size and still do what you want to do if that is your choice.
I loved the paintings showcased by Sarah Jane Szikora, but the audience reaction to laughing every time a fat lady painting was shown I wasn’t sure how to take. Raised eyebrows from people who obviously had the opinion that the body shape was wrong was also very noticeable. I understand that audience reaction can’t be helped, but it did make me wonder if I had come to the right place.
I loved most of what the messages were about – poems by Hollie McNish were fantastic, Linda Papadopoulos’ talk was great and comedian Deborah Frances White had a great reaction from the few hundred strong crowd.
My only wish is that the messages conveyed had been more tailored to everyone. In my personal opinion, it seemed that most of the messages were about being happy in yourself and loving your beautiful body as long as you’re healthy, you aren’t too fat and you think about what you are eating so as not to overeat... Yes, a fantastic message to portray and I can’t knock that but perhaps the title of the show ‘Size Doesn’t Matter’ (to me) was a little misleading. To me, a positive body image is about everyone, of every shape and size loving themselves for what they are. So if you’re a ‘genetically abnormal’ supermodel or someone who sits and eats Lindor chocolate all day, that really is OK because you are you, and that is all you can ever be.
I would love to have seen a wider spectrum of people talking however I guess I have to understand the limitations. If you haven’t been to an event like this, then I would say go along to a Be Real Talk – they’re easy to find, affordable and the whole night was well organised and ran smoothly, but for me it was something that didn’t match my expectations. However I fully understand that is more than likely my understanding of what it was about, so if you haven’t – then give it a try!
Happy Hump Day