Saturday, 23 November 2013

Why We Need To Stick Up For The Becky Adlingtons Out There!

I am a regular, normal person. I am not a beauty queen, hot shot lawyer or olympian. Nor do I hold some kind of world record. 

I am a 25 year old woman who works in a supermarket. I have loose skin, my body hair is dark and grows WAY too fast and my IQ is a little above average. 

In the last 25 years I have been bullied for many different things- for wearing glasses, for being fat, for being tall, for being gay, for being left handed, for having reasonably bushy eyebrows and for having an anxiety disorder. I have had it pointed out for 25 years that I do not fit the "norm" of what the media portrays what I should be like. I do not look like a model, I have not got a "perfect" body (whatever one of those are!) and I have been ridiculed over something because of that!

I have started to accept my body a bit more- it has been through a lot in the last 2 1/2 years- losing 10 stone then yo-yoing with the odd 10-15lb. Trying to curb an eating disorder and trying to actually like myself. I am getting there- one day at a time- but I still get comments from people who don't know any better- I still get called "fat" even though I am a healthy weight for my height. 

This is something that has bothering me for a while, why people insist on portraying the "perfect" person and why we have to somehow fit that ideal or where are labelled as freaks. But also the people who allow that ideal to grow, the people who bully others for being different.

The reason why I am writing this is because I read the story about olympic swimmer, Rebecca Adlington- a tally of gold medals, world records and an all round awesome person. Someone who is respected by many for her athleticism, tenacity and ability to inspire generations into getting into the pool. As an ex-competitive swimmer I look up to her, I know how much effort goes into training and preparing for competitions.

Yet, this amazing, beautiful young woman is plagued by the demon that is low self-esteem- fuelled by horrible, judgemental comments on social media- or just media in general. They leave out her extraordinary talent as a sportswoman and focus on her weak point- the main weak point for all women- her looks!

I feel extremely inadequate when I am standing next to a skinny blonde with legs up to her armpits and who is covered in make up. I have learned from others that I should look less like me and more like them. Ironically I am sure that woman would look at me and want something that I have that they don't.

So I understand exactly why Becky is covering herself up- she is surrounded by people who are famous for no other reason other than for looking pretty. For being the "media model" of the perfect woman. I just hope to god that she realises that even though she looks nothing like them- she is still beautiful.

I know that there are children out there that watched her swim and are inspired to take up sport. In turn they are focusing on bettering themselves in an area rather than obsessing about how they look. That in itself is such an achievement and something that really should be applauded.

Being judgemental and being self conscious is a NURTURE thing- we are not born judgemental, nor are we born hating ourselves. We are taught that from society, from other kids in school and sometimes the adults around us. 

We need to show the kids of today that is is okay to be different! It is ok to not have a chiselled body. It is ok to have crooked teeth, poor eyesight or a bit of extra hair. It is ok to not be good at sport and it is ok if you are not good at a certain subject at school.

We need to show the kids of today that what they need to do is like themselves. Accept themselves. If they can do that then they can help others do the same. Rather than point out the flaws, point out what is good about them.

The people who need to read this probably won't care- the bullies, the comedians who think it's ok to make fun of others, the newspapers and media who constantly judge for a bit more money in the executives bonus at the end of the year. But there is one thing that we can do....

We can stand up against them!

If you see someone being made fun of- challenge them. Tell them that it is NOT ok to judge others for being different.

If you see a newspaper headline that ridicules someone because they are different- be it their gender, their looks, their intelligence, disability, sexuality, nationality- WHATEVER- don't buy the paper! Boycott it. The 50p you don't spend is 50p less revenue.

If you see a nasty comment on twitter, facebook or any other social networking site- especially if it is a celebrity- point out your disgust- tell them it is not acceptable. Then block them. The less people they have following them then they might just change their ways.

But most of all- love yourself- and others around you. Embrace your weirdness. Appreciate what makes you, you! Yes you might have a few extra pounds on you, you might be too short or too tall. You might have thinning hair or your teeth might be crooked. But that is ok. You are the only you this world has- please remember that.

Find something you are good at, that you enjoy and do it. If you want to be a writer, write! If you want to go into sport then do it. Just try your best and have fun!

Becky Adlington is the voice of many people out there- she is for me! She is not perfect but she is special, loved and is living life doing something that she enjoys to do.

I for one am standing beside her- are you?

Much Love,
Tanya x