Body positive. I have a tendency to talk about these sorts of things because I am all for the empowerment of people. Everyone should feel the best they can about their best self. I spoke recently about the many variations of plus size and questioned ‘What does plus size actually look like?‘ After reading about the Playboy “Playmate” who now faces prison for the body shaming of *that* photograph I wanted to share with you a little anecdote of my own.
For those of you who don’t know what *that* image is, its a grainy photograph taken on the sly of a naked woman in the shower at the gym with a caption something along the lines of “if I can’t unsee this neither can you”. The picture went viral very quickly for all the wrong reasons but the comeuppance of the model behind the camera is finally being sought with the threat of prison.
Why is this an issue?
Body shaming is bloody awful, be it fat-shaming, skinny-shaming whatever-shaming. We judge each other by sight before anything else and for the most part you really cant get away from judging someone based on their appearance, it makes a mark on you before you even hear them speak. There is a fine line between having an opinion and sharing that opinion on someone else with the rest of the world.
I went to a very newly opened council swimming pool yesterday. My friend bailed on me at the last minute and I spent most of the afternoon talking myself out of going for fear of being alone and conscious of ones nakedness.
In the heat of the moment I grabbed my (already packed) bag and off I went without too much of a second thought.
Now the changing rooms at the pool are unisex but the cubicles in which to change are lockable and private. So in I went, tentative but determined.
What strikes me with swimming baths like that is that everyone is there for the same reasons. To swim. To exercise. Yes there is the odd middle aged man trying to chat up the gorgeous swimmer with whom he shares a lane but my fears of my imperfect body slowly washed away with each length I swam. There were a lot of ladies of my build and equally as many men with not so much of a six pack. My hour in the slow lane (quite literally) saw me quite enjoy myself.
Post swim I climbed out of the pool, self conscious with each step and somewhat aching from my swim just marginally short of a mile. I made my way to the showers, grabbed my shampoo and couldn’t decide if i felt more body conscious with a full shower of people or an empty one. There seems to be a mutual agreement between many at the pool which I appreciated. Head up, eye contact and a smile. Not sure if its the smile for the mutual understanding of how bloody exhausting swimming is or the understanding of the fact that none of us feel that comfortable in some over stretched, tight, second skin-like fabric that is not forgiving in any way.
I’m going swimming again next week. Maybe even again this week if I can fit it in.