Yesterday I saw people taking photos of these adverts on the London Underground and I was interested in why they would do it. I understand that the previous time such a campaign was launched there was a huge backlash saying that it was fat shaming and subsequently they took them down.
I think it is dangerous to make everything that feels uncomfortable be classed as a guilt trip or shaming – because it is easy to fall instead into asserting that anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, that makes you feel guilty is automatically bad. Remember, there is good and bad guilt – good guilt can spur us into action to change our behaviour and so when guilt gets triggered it is important to first check which kind it is. With body management, it tends to be a bit of both and that is why it is confusing.
Guilt around body management is very difficult to navigate – if Guilt is triggered then everything said whether factual or opinion will be interpreted as an attack. I believe that everyone is fully responsible for their bodies and should be left to manage them however they see fit – what works for them. But they should also have access to the facts and information that allows them to make an informed choice.
Taking personal responsibility for your body has been slowly eroded away by decades of marketing aimed at telling you that someone else knows what the perfect You looks like, and in order to break free from that we have take personal ownership of our bodies both in how they look and our health. But we have to realise that for many people being made to feel guilty is still very raw.
Everyone can treat their bodies however they like – if they are not harming anyone else, then it really shouldn’t matter. However, part of taking that kind of ownership is to understand the consequences of your decisions – without judgement from others. Find out the facts of what you plan to do, do the risk assessment and then decide whether to carry on or makes changes. But don’t stay ignorant of facts just because they are uncomfortable or trigger the guilt that forces you to look more closely.