Today has been quite a monumental day for me.
My story of why I am participating in the Sydney Skinny was posted on Yahoo!7’s front page. The page averages a million hits PER DAY.
When I made the decision to pursue the story about positive body image, I knew there would a lot of debate and conversation – some positive and some negative. That’s exactly what I want – conversation is a good thing. The more society is exposed to different types of bodies, the better, but I’m not so naive to think my voice, style, shape or size would be to everyone’s taste.
Without a doubt the comments have been a mixed bag. There have been many very positive and encouraging comments, however there were also a lot of vile comments, many of which were removed by Yah00!7 ( I think those guys had a VERY busy day).
Is it wrong to say I enjoyed reading the comments? I had other things planned today, so I didn’t read them all, but I was amazed by how many men came out and said they were attracted to bigger women. I was also flawed by how many people, who wouldn’t know me from a bar of soap, fought for me. They fought for what I represent, and that is incredibly humbling. It proves that this issue is one of importance to many people, and they do want change.
Something I did find rather interesting though, were the comments regularly came back to sex. How attractive women are for men – whether they are large or small. But, I am surprised there wasn’t enough chatter about just being happy with yourself. Is being sexually attractive more important than a person having some peace of mind about who they are?
The issue of health did of course come up, but not as much as I was expecting. I was pleased to see some people say that being big doesn’t mean you’re unhealthy; or being skinny means you treat your body like a temple and you are in perfect health. I could be more healthy, sure, but I exercise regularly, I have good muscle mass and I eat very good quality food. Several years ago, I did a 1km ocean swim at Coogee with 12 hours notice and no training. I swan that race in about 18 mins – how many people would be comfortable doing that?
Today has taught me many things. I originally didn’t want to read the comments, but I am glad I did. Clearly I am much stronger than I originally thought, because I was alarmingly calm and unfazed by some of the most vile comments – particularly those which mentioned I should be ‘harpooned like a whale’. With many others, I even had a giggle because they were so ridiculous. But the biggest lesson, was how much of a fighter I am. I’ve always known it, but when you are sprayed with venom like I was today, and the only thing I want to do is have a louder voice, and fight harder it’s very telling of who I am. I hope you join me on my journey.