I’m on my 4th newsletter and one of the regular sections has been “In the Rear View” where I look at what’s been going on in the BC space or for me in the previous month...
...So far, I’ve not been stuck for points to reflect on and this month is no different in many ways. However, this month a couple of reflections may be quite triggering, so to give people more a choice to engage I'm sharing them as a blog. The two hot topics of April have been the adding of calories to menus, and talk of skinning shaming following a post by Matt Lucas. So below, I share a few reflections. In addition, I‘m really pleased to say that I’ve been working on a few other related activities, that have been much more positive.
- Calories on Menus 📑
The hot topic in the BI space at the moment is that as of last month restaurants with over 250 outlets have to show calories on their menus. There is no middle-of-the-road on this one for me (which is rare), and I find the decision absolute baloney - it's so damn lazy and lacking in foresight.
Luckily, people like Hope Virgo have shared ways around it such as eating at small, independent local places and asking others to read menus to you. Like the BMI, this is not really a medically inspired intervention - it stigmatises food, takes the joy out of eating out, hampers progression from eating disorders (ED’s), and doesn’t address the myriad of reasons why people are (fat aka) in higher weight bodies.
Perhaps my biggest issue though is that calories don’t equal healthy, any more than thinness does. Calories do not tell us the actual nutritional value of food and can be misleading in this context. And there's more if we start to consider what 'healthy' means, defined by who, too! Let's just say we should all remember good mental health and happiness are indicators of health; and that health is broad, for example, links to socio-economic status.
As you’ll know I’m not anti-dieter and recognise the many reasons people choose to diet, but I am anti-diet industry misrepresentations and manipulation. I’m not the expert on this, but please check out the numerous news articles on the subject and follow those such as Hope and the FatDoctor for their perspectives on social media, because the views from Dr. Hillary Jones just ain’t the ones.
- The shame of 'Skinny-Shaming' 🗫
Comments made to Matt Lucas have (re)started the conversation around so call skinny-shaming. The last time it was a hot topic in my brain was the backlash to Megan Trainer's (still catchy) "All about the Base". Body shaming is never ok. Making unsolicited comments on another person's body, even if you think you are being positive, is rarely a good idea (ask if you need me to expand) and you even need to tread very carefully responding to a person's ask of your opinion.
Let's be serious though, skinny shaming - whilst as painful for an individual as any form of body shaming - just isn’t as broad and deep a structural societal issue as fatphobia. (Please be clear I am not saying it isn’t an issue - I know you have to shop special as size 4 as well as at anything over an 18).
In reality, and to be clear, ANY & ALL BODY SHAMING NEEDS TO GO IN THE BIN. Any body commentary is a risk when said/ heard directly or indirectly. Instead, think about complimenting a person for something else. Say nothing. Talk about how something makes a person feel. Point out the positive. Seek to understand their negative thinking or need for validation. Just try something different, be different - there are enough body image messages already.
- Other stuff 📰
In the last month, 'Damson Belle' put their toe back in the image consulting pool and I’ve got back to doing colour analysis. I’ve also delivered an updated Body Happy Kids (BHK) workshop and been developing a Body Confidence (BC) journal.
Doing colour analysis is such a joy giver and bringer - I'm very happy to say my client was very happy. I'm looking forward to doing a style session soon, but I will be applying more of a BC approach to it.
Doing BHK workshops underpins the work I do with young adults and adults. Issues later in life are often a result of unresolved childhood challenges and narratives, so being part of an organisation that starts the conversation early is so important to me.
As for the Body Confidence journal - I am working with a few people to get it right including two coaches and a Doctor, as well as my designer the superb Ces Loftus. I’m just putting it out there in the hope it gives me a nudge, but that’s all I can say on it for now.
Phew, it’s been a deep and busy month!
Hope all is well with you!
As for me, I better finish the actual newsletter!
Take care, Dx