WOMEN EVERYWHERE ARE REVOLTING!
I don’t mean we’re disgusting. I mean we’ve had enough. We’re fed up with all of the millions of people who feel that they have a vote on what we do with our bodies.
Recently, I have kept on coming across the phrase: “My body is not a democracy, it’s a dictatorship and I’m the dictator.” Viva la revolution!
#mybodyisnotademocracy has become a hashtag that women are using to take back what’s theirs – their bodies.
This phrase speaks to me so loudly that I am compelled to write and share it with you. If you’ve heard the phrase before or perhaps you’ve used the hashtag yourself, then I hope it reassures you to hear another like-minded voice.
If this is the first time you’ve heard it, then stand up sister or brother and join in!
All of us have at some point encountered someone who felt they have the right to impart upon us their best reckons on the appearance or capabilities of our body.
According to this self-appointed electorate, I am simultaneously ‘too thin’, ‘too fat’, ‘too muscly’ and ‘not muscly enough’. What is a girl to do? Heavens, I’ve even heard people be called ‘too tall’ or ‘too short’, an affliction I suppose they were meant to live with in shame and embarrassment for the rest of their lives.
Unless the issue at hand is your health, and the person addressing you is a qualified expert, it really isn’t anybody else’s business what body shape you choose.
And this is important to hold close and never let go of – it’s your body and your choice. No person, billboard, TV advert or institution has any business assuming control over your body; not even the ones who say that you should accept your body as it is, in whatever condition it’s in, and be happy with it. They too are asserting their personal agenda over you.
I’m not saying I can’t pay you a compliment. A compliment or comment of approval and encouragement isn’t an infringement on your freedom. And I’m not saying I’m not allowed to tell you that I don’t like the way you look. I can say what I like. It’s just that my opinion of your body doesn’t really count.
Most things that we hear about our bodies aren’t helpful and certainly won’t do anything to alleviate the cacophony of noise that we hear day in, and day out, about our bodies. Women’s bodies are a touchy subject, because of this constant bombardment we are under.
And it isn’t just women. According to the Women’s Equality Party, one in three children aged five to six years old say their ideal body shape is ‘thinner’.
I don’t know about you, but when I was that age, I was running around the playground with a plaster on each knee, wishing I was a dog. My body shape didn’t even cross my mind (except that it was, unfortunately, human-shaped and not dog-shaped). I have since come to terms with being human-shaped. I still love dogs.
Rather than a dictatorship, I like to see my body more as an independent sovereign state with myself as its benevolent ruler. I’m not taking over my body and imposing a regime, rather I’m leaving the collective and taking the body I inherited at birth with me.
I love my body, I am responsible for its wellbeing, and I’m fed up with other people making decisions about it that don’t have my best interests at heart.
Maybe for me it’s more a case of a Brexit than a revolution. Not everyone thinks I should be abandoning their opinions on my muscle mass, fat percentage and circumferences. Some people might get quite angry if I dismiss their input without concern. But they can be as affronted as they like at my lack of interest in their contribution. They don’t have a vote.
However, every ruler of her queendom needs her advisors, and I’m no different. I seek out the advice of experts whom I trust.
This is easy for me because I work at Ultimate Performance. Nobody here tells me I should be like this, or like that. We might talk about how to achieve my goal and agree the details of how to achieve them: “What do you think about building muscle on my shoulders? They’re already really square.” I said the other day (my shoulders are like right-angles).
We decided to go for it for overall balance, based on the rest of the body-building and sculpting I’m doing.
We all have our different goals of size, shape, strength and flexibility at Ultimate Performance and nobody thinks that what’s right for them is necessarily right for everyone else – that would be nuts.
Just because I own my own body, and just because I’m a personal trainer, doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t ask for assistance from other experts.
In fact, being responsible for my body and having the knowledge I do, is why I consider it so important to ask the right people for their opinions. Not everyone will approve of my joy in my expanding back. I love my lats. I am making them grow. I’m doing it in consultation with my colleagues, whose opinions I value, and I’m doing it for me, to develop towards my onward goal of being bigger and more muscular.
So, as I head off to grow my muscles and be told by people I didn’t ask that I’m ‘getting too big’, I’d like to leave you with this:
Your body is yours and you can do what you want with it. Really. Anything at all. It’s all yours. Work out what you want and then find people who respect that desire and will help you to get there.
There will be no coup d’état. Rebel forces will not overthrow me. I am in charge of my body forever.