As I scrolled through my Instagram feed yesterday, I was shocked at an article that seemed to have my feed on fire. The shock soon turned into a deep rage and a huge sadness.
Recently, Nike has introduced plus sized mannequins to their flagship Oxford Street London Store. For women everywhere, this is an incredible win. It has taken us an awfully long time to get to where we are now, but I was so incredibly pleased to see that Nike are pushing ahead with inclusivity and body positivity.
In some ways, what created even more of a buzz than the fact that Nike has done this is the absolutely devastatingly outdated, Fatphobic article that Tanya Gold managed to get published in The Telegraph. Gold’s stance is that Nike are pedalling out ‘lies’ that damage women and promote a dangerously unhealthy attitude.
The mannequin in store and an excerpt from the shocking article by Tanya Gold.
What has angered me so much about Gold’s message is that it goes along with everything that I and so many women have struggled with our entire lives. I can’t even begin to remember when that mean voice began for me, but I spent a good chunk of my life listening to it and spent a whole lot of time saying no to what I truly wanted in life because of it.
I have always been curvy and for a long time shied away from following what it was I truly wanted to do with my life because I was terrified of how I would look. For a long time, I struggled with my body confidence.
What I love about Nike’s message is that a journey can start anywhere. I remember when I started on my journey towards just allowing myself, where I was right then and there to claim what it was I wanted. I had to do a huge amount of work to get myself to where I wanted to be to really feel like I could be and do this. When I started hiking, I was unfit and I didn’t take care of my body. I used to start getting out of breath within minutes of walking uphill, I found it so difficult it was unreal. There were so many times I just wanted to quit when I started. I’d see people who were smaller than me bouncing up mountain paths and I felt embarrassed by myself. I felt embarrassed because I’d truly grown to believe that there was something wrong with me and I needed to change before I could claim that hike or that mountain top.
I’d truly grown to believe this because of the terrible standards in the health and beauty industry. A horrible place where women are punished into becoming smaller or punished for not being small enough and fitting into a certain standard. I used to struggle so much with my self image that I would barely leave the house for days. Now I’m in a place that because of saying yes, just doing it and allowing myself to live and claim my life, I’m able to make decisions for my body, my fitness and my strength from a place of love.
Starting out in adventure was not easy for me, but the thing is, if I had never met myself where I wasrightthen, I would never have met myself where I am now. I would never have decided to keep going on those hikes, or those visits to the gym. If I hadn’t have put all those stereotypes to the side, I probably never would have been able to connect with nature in the way I have and created the life I have. Today, because of those moves, I am the healthiest and most comfortable with my body I ever have been. There was a time before where the idea of posting a picture of myself on social media would have sent me into a spin. Now, it’s my mission in life to promote a message about claiming your life and truly living it and I would never have been able to have the confidence to work with brands who are advocating change if I listened to articles and outdated ideas like this.
The problem is, when people like Gold think it is acceptable to post an article like this, it continues to back this idea up that woman should be a certain size and that you should not even try.
That larger women cannot live fulfilled lives like ‘healthy’ women.
For a long time, you’d think that the only people taking a hike and enjoying nature were ultra thin people. That is not the case, Adventure is for everyone and whether you are trying to become more active and adventurous because you want to improve your fitness, mental health or mindset, you do not need to be a certain size to start.
You just need to start.