I’m not sure when it happened but young girls are increasingly looking to certain types of women as role models and frankly, it’s scary. When I was in my early teens, I was still wearing dungarees at home, complaining that bras were uncomfortable and I thought that my mother was the most incredible woman on the planet. I still do in fact, but perhaps this is a generational thing that has since sadly died out.
Let me give you some context. My mother is a very petite, attractive (she looks like Felicity Kendall for goodness sake) and vibrant woman. She went to art school, wore the most amazing dogtooth patent mackintosh and constantly encouraged and inspired me to try new things and reach for more. At no point did she instill in me a desire to be overly concerned with my own appearance (of course I did go through a phase of this, I am human!), feel in her shadow or accept less than I am worth. It therefore comes as no surprise that, following a few career blunders and missteps, I am now a full time writer, which is the career I always dreamed of. What worries me, however, is the ever-increasing number of girls that appear to be putting their futures on the backburner in favour of more aesthetic aspirations.
‘Thinspo’. It’s a hideous word and conjures images of young, impressionable girls crouched over their smartphones and tablets, pouring over pictures of super thin celebrities that they yearn to look like. The sad fact is that every single one of them will already be beautiful, not to mention still developing but here they are writing to buy nolvadex online things like ‘NOT ME’ and ‘sorry for being so fat’ under images of emaciated bodies on social media sites. As someone who has experience of eating disorders, as part of a friends support network, it brings me to the verge of tears and what worries me further is that the Internet’s version of a solution is making ‘Fitspo’ trend instead.
Is it healthier than Thinspo? Yes, in that it promotes healthy eating and exercise but it is still propagating unrealistic images of physiques that have taken years to sculpt. A popular hashtag for fitness models and bodybuilders, Fitspo seems to allude to the same levels of fanaticism that Thinspo induces but under the guise of fitness and strength, with endless pictures of ‘meal prep’ and ‘macro counting’. So I have a proposal. How about we focus on good old ‘Inspo’, or as women from my generation would refer to it, inspiration.
Role models come in all shapes and sizes, that is part of what makes them so fabulous, but the one thing that they all share is having done something that makes us want to achieve something of our own. Singers, novelists, artists, it doesn’t matter who or what moves us to try harder or keep going, the people that achieve greatness can be relatively faceless as its their actions that stand the test of time and inspire future generations. Maybe I am an idealist but in fifty years time I like to think that people will still be reading my articles and finding them interesting, not looking on my Instagram feed to see how skinny I was when I wrote them.