Body Image - it's time to fight the fear and get positive Featured

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Bodies. They're a weird thing. Although we're all born with one, the majority of us fear them. We fear our own and we fear the bodies of others yet we don't really understand why. If we're not fearing, we're mocking and at some point in time, society told us this was acceptable. Those that don't mock, stand back and portray another form of fear. A fear of being judged in the same way of those that they witness. It's become a modern dilemma. Do we intervene and stand up for those that are being mocked because of the way they look and face the possible repercussion of being mocked ourselves or do we stand back in the shadows, watching and becoming a part of that judgement process?


Mocking and judgement can come in many forms when we're talking about bodies. The slightest imperfection can lead to a lifetime of depression and anxiety because of the actions of others. Those that are more fuller bodied, worry about eating in front of others because they fear the judgement they will receive with every mouthful they eat. However, the judgement isn't on what they are eating, it's simply the fact that they are eating.  Equally, those that are skinny find people judging them based on the perceived lack of food they consume. At no point does anyone stand back and think 'maybe that is just the way they are' and simply put, maybe it is.

Aside from the things that we can work on to improve ourselves and the way people see us, there are things that we cannot change and even though these things are simply the way they are, society still tells us it's OK to point and laugh. From an early age in the changing rooms, boys mock each other over penis size, this then follows through into adulthood. Those that are laughed at, go on to have anxieties over whether or not they are normal, affecting their everyday lives regardless of it being on show or hidden away. Girls are constantly told by the media that they should look a certain way. Their breasts, thighs and waist should all be a certain size and if it isn't, they're not worthy enough to achieve their place within the world.

Some examples of this have been highlighted in the media recently. Tom Hardy, a famous male actor, was photographed naked whilst filming for a new TV series. Instead of the media applauding him on his success, they were all quick to focus on the fact he was naked. Social media became a meeting point for those that believed they had the right to comment on whether or not he was 'adequate' or not. Grown women comment in mass to say that they 'have had bigger'. For some reason they seem to think they have a right to judge a man on his size. However, had we flipped this round and men were commenting on the size of a woman's breasts, those very same women would have been commenting back making accusations of sexism. Rather than judge Tom Hardy for what he has or may not have (I can't see anything wrong with what he has), we should be applauding him. We should be celebrating the fact that this is a man in the public eye and known worldwide who simply doesn't care what people think of him, naked or not.

Another celebrity who has been the talking point of the media recently is Kim Kardashian. I'm not a massive fan of the Kardashians and have often questioned why they are famous but, on this occasion, I have to hand it to Kim and say well done for not giving a damn. For those that don't know, Kim recently published a picture online whilst in the nude. Again, instead of congratulating her for not caring what people think, people took to twitter to pass judgement. This time, instead of commenting on her size, people started 'slut shaming' and commenting on how she is not setting a good example for the young girls that follow her. Why isn't she? This is a woman embracing her body and not caving in the pressure from society - something we could all take note of.

It's time we all start embracing the bodies that we have. We should embrace the fact that we are all individual and our body shapes and parts are different from one person to the next. We should stop hiding. Rather than passing judgement on others, we should give them a smile and thank them for just being them. There is no such thing as a perfect body and we need to realise this. Even those that we view as 'perfection' have imperfections they try to hide away.

When I was in my mid-teens, I became victim to an attack which left me with a scar across my left cheek and neck. It happened when someone glassed me and although the physical wounds healed, the attack affected me mentally. The scar became a daily reminder and I never thought I would get over it. I became a shadow of my former self and I didn't want anyone to see me. A few years later, a friend suggested going to the beach. It happened to be that the beach was a naturist one and me being me, decided to give it a go. I didn't have any real hang-ups apart from the scar and although I was anxious because of this, I needed to get out and about. When we arrived, it was a bit of a trek, I remember being a bit apprehensive about people seeing me but I tried not to let this get the better of me. So, I placed my towel within the dunes and stripped off. I couldn't be the only one wearing anything and as everyone else had already done so, it wasn't that much of a big deal. During the day, various people walked past and said hello. Some stopped for a chat and said how they thought it was nice that younger people were open-minded and care free. At no point did anyone ask me about my scar or how I got it and at that moment in time, I was me again - naked as the day I was born but the person who I used to be. These people that stopped for a conversation didn't care about what I looked like or the imperfections I had inflicted on me, they only cared for the conversation we were having. Being in the buff, we were equals and I embraced this. Visiting the beach became a regular thing along with events through a membership organisation (I even went on to be on the board of directors) and over time, my confidence grew. It became a part of my life and something which I would regularly recommend to others.

Some may ask why I am sharing this story and it's simple really. At a young age, something horrific happened to me which held me back. I lost control of the person I was but I took the control back. I accepted the way I looked along with my imperfections and my confidence grew.

My message is clear - no matter what you look like, how big or small you are, whether your penis is above average or on the smaller side or whether your body is the stereotypical model type or not, embrace what you have. It makes you unique and it makes you special. Stick your middle finger up at the media and take no shit from those that judge you. Collectively, we CAN change the way society tells us how we need to look and that starts with you (and me) accepting ourselves and other around us.

For those in doubt, I do practice what I preach. I'm no stranger to getting my kit off and I'll regularly continue to do so until the message is out there. I'm happy to be an example of how someone who has imperfections can embrace what they have and encourage others to do the same - I've added an image below to prove that there is nothing to fear and whilst I talk the talk, I'll also practice what I preach. I've been photographed in the buff and these images are out there, I'm not ashamed of them. Instead, I welcome them to be used to highlight a positive body image and I welcome you to do the same, whether that's with your own or not.



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