Women’s Week: ‘Body shaming is a form of violence against women – we need to fight it’

Kate Dickinson. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Kate Dickinson. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Body positivity is a term that is bandied about a lot at the moment and that can make it sound flippant, unimportant and self indulgent, writes Kate Dickinson.

Kate Dickinson. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Kate Dickinson. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

In actual fact it is increasingly important.

We have girls and women being put under increasing pressure to be ‘beautiful’ with girls as young as eight years old worried about their weight.

In a society that uses the way a woman looks to determine her worth this is unsurprising.

Body oppression is so prevalent in our society that we barely notice it’s there.

Capitalism also has a hand in perpetuating this form of oppression; with diet plans, diet books and body shapers that get sold to us every day.

Body shaming has become big business so body positivity has had to up its game.

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As a fat woman myself this is a very personal subject.

I have experienced complete strangers telling me to lose weight.

I have been shouted at in the street; a barrage of abuse aimed at my weight and lack of sexual worth.

I have had family members tell me, in a way that seems to be expressing love and care, that I am unhealthy and might find it difficult to find a partner.

Continuous judgement and emotional abuse is well known to be associated with post traumatic stress disorder and cannot be taken lightly.

I am not the only woman to have experienced such body shaming and most of the abuse I describe above has been perpetrated by men.

So that’s the bad news, the good news is that there are pioneering women trying to grab our confidence back and liberate us from body oppression.

This work, which started in the 1970s, has been almost exclusively been done by fat women.

Amazing human beings that have struggled against the colossal weight of hatred that has been thrown at them.

These women have written books; Dr Charlotte Cooper’s book ‘Fat and Proud’ was the first book that described to me that body shaming was an oppressive practice.

They have Instagram accounts and blogs.

They make art.

They create body-positive clothes swaps.

If you are sick of hating your body, if you are sick of being shouted at and told that you are ‘too fat’, if you want to expand your horizons into seeing every-body as beautiful, then maybe you should check these out.

Fat oppression and body shaming is a form of violence against women and I for one am ready to fight it.

• Kate is 31 and lives in Felixstowe

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