After the Nice attack, Naga Munchetty discusses whether such events unite or divide us.
I just read a beautiful, perceptive, honest article about how it feels to write about your own life (New York Times, Dani Shapiro). Like Shapiro I’ve written 3 or 4 memoirs (in a way) I recognise the weird experience of readers thinking they know you… the emails asking personal questions… the loneliness… and the discombobulation of not knowing whether you’ve written/spoken about something before… a snippet from Shapiro:
“Those of us who have written multiple memoirs feel surprisingly alone… Shortly after the publication of my second memoir, I was startled to realize that I had become lonely. I had been speaking a great deal: in bookstores, behind podiums, on stages. I could weave articulate, compelling answers in discussion about my books. But when it came to my life — to that soft, pulsing, internal backbeat — people had stopped asking me questi…ons, because they thought they already had the answers…
But there is a profound difference between what a writer does alone in her room — the honing, crafting, shaping, transcending of her own personal history in order to carve out a story that is ultimately a public performance — and the human need to quietly share in the most intimate possible way, to confess, to stutter out thoughts and feelings, to be heard and understood…”
The sloppy, casual use of the term ‘body-shaming’ is toxic and reductive. We are drifting into the perverse situation where attractive women are demonised for making other women feel bad. Wilful offence-taking, whereby portraying a person of slim physique is automatically offensive to those of a larger physique, simply doesn’t make sense. True acceptance means welcoming all shapes and sizes.
Instead of random censorship, let’s take control. Boycott the company’s products, refuse to buy magazines or watch programmes which objectify women, sign petitions, fight for gender equality. Even better, campaign for increased funding for mental illness. Let’s focus on what we can control, rather than issuing bizarre bans on certain bodies in selective public spaces.
I believe in self-acceptance and healthy body-image; I don’t want anyone to feel demeaned by ads on their daily commute. But throwing eating disorders into the debate about women’s bodies only confuses the misunderstanding around the most serious mental illnesses.
We don’t win when we demonise certain body shapes. We win when we call out the sexism prevalent in advertising and in our wider society. We win when we reclaim the right to be individual, healthy and unique as we are. Why not ignore the ads and redefine what ‘beach body ready’ means to you?
The Mayor said: “As the father of two teenage girls, I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising which can demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies. It is high time it came to an end.”
My new book Positively Primal is out now: check out these 7 Top Tips for Psychologies Magazine
Many of us spend a lot of time looking for the ultimate secret of health and happiness, wondering what other people know that we don’t. Although there is no single secret, we can all boost our wellbeing by going primal. From sunlight to snacks to sleep, here are seven easy strategies to kickstart your primal journey.
…and I’ve been busy writing my new book, Positively Primal. Delighted to say it’s just gone off to the printers and will be publishing in 6 weeks’ time. The perfect book to help you spring into Spring with a fresh start! (As ever, there were moments when I thought I’d never write another book again, but now that it’s done I’m full of ideas for the next one.)
Positively Primal is a rallying cry for a more human-friendly, earth-friendly existence, drawing on everything from modern science to ancient philosophy, contemporary culture to common sense. Going primal will change the way you eat, sleep, exercise and work; the way you think about the world and others and yourself. It has transformed the way I live.
Curious? You can check it out here, and pre-order for April 2016