Well done Special K, you’ve inflicted another misleading diet ad on the world.
Those of you who have seen the latest Special K ‘What will you gain when you lose?’ advert will know the image I’m refering to, five sets of scales each reading a word such as confidence, sass, pride, hope, peace, sparkle or positivity.
Once again I have been filled with the sort of rage that comes only from this sort of advertising. Yes, according to them lot at Kellogs, losing weight is a sure-fire way to feeling imeasurably better about yourself.
Of course for many of us, feelings of low self worth or a lack of confidence are much deeper rooted than simply our apprearance. This may be where the worry manifests itself, but in reality the issue is far more comlex. I’ve spoken to several people (too many to count) who went on diets to make them feel better about themselves. And did it work? Did it f*ck.
Also- what Special K fail to say on their adverts is that the ‘Special K diet’ is actually incredibly unhealthy.
* There is no way that diet will allow you to absorb all the nutrients your body needs.
* The large reduction in food intake from a healthy diet to that will put the body into starvation mode.
BUT HEY THERE SPECIAL K, you’re not stupid are you. For in reality you know all too well that eating two small bowls of your cereal and a meal in one day will make people lose weight. You’ve guessed it might make them TEMPORARILY feel better about themselves. You have also, if I’m not mistaken, realised that after a while people will begin to eat more again, because after all- Special K tastes like cardboard. I’m sure it is within your field of knowledge that once people do begin to eat more again their bodies will be holding on to more of what they consume for fear they restrict (embark on another of your stupid diets) again.
OH WAIT. Once they regain that weight they might need to lose it again (probably due to the pressure that yourself and many other advertising monsters continue to inflict upon us all) and BINGO- more Special K purchases.
I would have less of an issue with this adveritsing ploy if it were more responsible. if it said you example that you could gain fitness by maintaining a suitable weight for your body. By suitable I mean a stable weight which comes from not over or under eating, but by responding to hunger rather than emotions.
Congrats Special K, you are both incredibly manipulative and irresponsible. You are swines, and I shan’t give you another second of my time except to say this….
Readers of this blog. There is a reason that the diet industry is one of the successful in the world (and worth millions). Meanwhile more and more of us are left feeling inadequate and battleing with years of yo yo dieting.
So basically Special K (and all you other diet industry types), you can sod off.
So, tomorrow BodyGossipRuth and BodyGossipTash are travelling down to Bristol (woohoo!). But it’s not just for a catch up occasion, oh no, tomorrow sees the start of this years Appearance Matters conference run by CAR (Centre for Appearance Research). The two day event is full of all sorts of interesting body image subjects- the amount of which make me wish (for a fleeting moment) that I was Hermione Granger, and could be in more than one place at one time.
This conference however, is doubly exciting from where I’m standing (ok- sitting.) Body Gossip were asked to provide a performance for the event, which is when BodyGossipTash had the genius idea that a Bristol based theatre company (who I happen to work for when I’m not body gossiping) should create and perform the piece.
Unique Voice, the aforementioned company, agreed to take the project on. Incidentally it made me incredibly excited, and a little anxious- the collaboration of two huge parts of my life, which, until now have remained separate always makes me a little apprehensive that perhaps the universe might implode.
Nonetheless, the UV and BG collaboration began and slips containing body image questions were sent out to delegates who will be attending the conference in the next two days. Questions such as ‘Where do you feel most confident with your body, and what are the feelings at this place?’ we’re asked, and the results collated to be used as inspiration for the performance.
Over the past week, members of the creative team and actors from UV have been meeting to rehearse the performance, and I’m really excited to share it. As those of you who have seen previous Body Gossip films and performances will know, to date they have been very text based. With a wide range of people speaking/gossiping about an even wider range of body thoughts and feelings.
This time however, we have done something different. The 15 minute piece is a physical exploration of many of the themes mentioned in response to the questions we sent out. It is playful, and will hopefully invite and allow everyone to relate to something of what they see. In addition to this it has TOTALLY rekindled my love for Florence and the Machine (not totally relevant but maybe worth mentioning.)
Hopefully I will have some footage to share with you all post performance, but for now having set my alarm so that I can be up and at the conference at 9.30 tomorrow morning, I’m going to sign off and get some sleep.
As those of you who follow me on twitter, or indeed have liked the ‘Nick and Sarah Challenge’ page on facebook, will know this month Nick and I are once again up against each other as we source and create three brand new Body Gossip films.
Last friday I filmed my first one, with a particularly lovely lady who managed to do each section of her story in a single take. Infact it was my dodgy camera work that meant we had to redo a coupple of shots. So there was me, mighty excited about having got underway with my filming task, so after a long day at work yesterday I decided to try my hand at editing it. (Nick (who is far more of a technical genius than me) had offered to edit mine for me, but I decided that I wanted to do the entire thing myself.) So I sat down opposite my boyfriend’s computer last night with my flip camera in one hand and a mug of strawberry milk in the other. I’m not sure why, or indeed if, that’s relevant. But it somehow felt like an appropriate beverage.
Turns out, my editing skills weren’t bad! I still need to select some music to underscore the piece and add that into the mix, but the film is sorted! I’m really pleased with the results and can’t wait to share it with you guys! I won’t say any more for fear of giving too much away about the piece. Once Nick and I have all our films done, we will be uploading them onto youtube so that you guys can vote for your favourite.
Nick & Sarah’s Oxford vs Bristol Body Gossip Film Challenge!
So, Nick Watts and I are once again going head to head in another challenge. This time we’re flying the Body Gossip flag as we challenge ourselves to create 3 new Body Gossip films (each!) in just over 6 weeks.
So we will be sourcing 3 new, never used before stories, and then calling on people local to us to help us turn them into films which will be uploaded to youtube for you all to see.
The rules are simple, the filming itself has to be done by Nick and I, and the people we enlist to perform the stories must be local to us. The stories must be newly written for this challenge, and for the first time, you get to choose who wins. On the 29th July we will upload the 6 films to our challenge youtube page where you can vote for your favourite by ‘liking’ it. A week later on the 5th August, we will see who has won.
If you want to write and send me a story to use you can do so by sending me a message via the Nick & Sarah challenge facebook page. Don’t forget to state it’s for me rather than Nick!
You can also keep a look out on our challenge website for news on how we’re both doing!
The past couple of weeks I have been insanely busy touring a theatre in education show and workshops with Unique Voice, a company I work for in Bristol. The show is about healthy relationships and ultimately encourages the following messages; It is wrong to control other people, that if you notice you are being controlled you should do all you can to stop it, and that individuality is something to be both encouraged and celebrated.
Within the performance Jess, the central character, finds herself in an unhealthy relationship with Joe, an older boy who quickly begins controlling her by challenging and discouraging her dreams, dictating who she can socialise with, invading her privacy and altering her appearance to please him.
In the initial 10 minutes of any workshop we talk to the children/teens about the themes and messages within the show, and in particular, Jess’ change in appearance and behaviour always ignites a strong reaction from participants. I asked my groups today what they thought about her changing herself to please other people and was met with the following responses;
· You shouldn’t let someone else dictate what you look like.
· Just ‘cause he said she should look like that it doesn’t mean she needs to change, there was nothing wrong with her before that.
· She got so worried about what he thought that she stopped being herself.
· It’s up to you to look how you want to look.
· He had no right to tell her what to do or how to look.
· Like, there’s not one right way for her to look so why should he say that she can’t wear her hair up?
Of course these are all great responses, and absolutely correct. But this whole discussion got me to thinking, and lead me to conclude that the situation we played out for these teens today is not massively dissimilar to one the majority of them have experienced already.
The majority of teens (and indeed adults) could find themselves as a ‘Jess’ in a world where the advertising industry acts as the controller. This morning I counted the number of adverts I saw in an hour which told me I should look a certain way, or encouraged me to ‘improve’ myself by aspiring to a very narrow idea of beauty.
Firstly, Facebook asked me if I could lose a few stone in a couple of weeks, on my way to work (which coincidently is only a ten minute walk) I saw over 30 adverts in shop windows all inviting me to enhance my appearance with their products, I went to buy a smoothie and some lunch and was inundated with fat free options, artificial images of ‘models’ smiled at me from the window of H&M, and audio adverts selling me clearer skin and a Hollywood smile played whilst I found, queued and paid for shampoo.
To be honest, I lost count of the actual number of pieces of body image propaganda I was bombarded with in that hour, which provides a scary insight into the amount of these messages we might be absorbing day to day without even realising it.
Advertisers aren’t about to change their methods, why would they when they increase their sales by leading us to believe that we NEED to buy their products. But what we can do is to make ourselves aware of their dirty little games. By making a conscious effort to remind ourselves just why we are continually being fed these messages, we have a better chance of dismissing them as nothing but a clever yet unacceptable attempt to shift products.
To counteract the constant stream of messages telling us that we are not good enough without losing weight/tanning/having really shiny hair/going to the gym/legs up to our armpits/the ‘perfect’ figure we need to stand up for ourselves and our individual beauty, stick two fingers up at the advertisers and take pride in the fact that actually, we are good enough, regardless of whether we look like we’ve stepped out of a fashion spread or not.
Last weekend I found myself breathing a satisfied sigh of relief. Sitting in a pub garden at 9pm I had a realisation- I was wearing shorts. And I wasn’t cold! Yes, finally it seems summer may be deciding to pay us a welcome visit, meaning that I, with many others, swapped my jackets and tights for a pair of denim shorts, maxi dress or other more month appropriate attire (and about time too). In fact, so beautiful was the sun in Bristol last weekend that I found myself feeling a bit like I was abroad. My flat sports a Juliet balcony and my flatmate and I often sit with the doors open in the evening, pretending we are overlooking a beach or other beautiful view (as opposed to reality of our street which usually involves a few drunks yelling obscenities, a couple of police cars and the odd man shouting up into our flat on a nightly basis.)
Summer seems to be officially upon us and the heat undoubtedly tempts most of us into revealing more of our bodies. Incidentally, the sun was so powerful last weekend that my aforementioned flatmate wound up with rather impressive sunburn including gladiator sandal patterned marks on her feet after spending an afternoon in a nearby park.
As a former member of the body conscious brigade I remember all too well the sometimes painful realisation that I would have to either bare more of myself of swelter in ridiculous temperatures as the summer drew in. Given my propensity towards heat induced strops, I tended to opt for the ‘wearing fewer clothes’ option, sometimes leaving me in an ‘I hate my body’ strop, which now that I think about it is somewhat more ridiculous than the aforementioned heat strop. (NB- despite what this blog seems to be suggesting I don’t continually spend my life avoiding strops.)
This summer however, I am inviting each of you to make the choice to celebrate and show off your bodies this summer. Regardless of your age, shape or size, there is nothing more beautiful than confidence. For some reason unbeknownst to me, it seems many of us feel it’s unacceptable to admit that we look good. Doing so doesn’t signify arrogance or vanity- and indeed there is nothing wrong with donning a summery dress/shorts or other attire, looking in the mirror and allowing yourself to accept and appreciate what you see.
In fact this month Body Gossip are encouraging you to do just that. Show off your bodies (I’m not saying you have to spend your entire summer hanging out at nudist beaches, rather that you approach them with pride.) After all, as BodyGossipTash frequently, and very rightly, states- ‘There’s more than one way to be gorgeous’, and gorgeousness looks great in the sunshine. (Preferably with an ice cream in one hand and a smile plastered across your face.)
Me with the BGoT Bristol team.
Last night Body Gossip was on Tour once again, this time at Bristol University.
Storm, Liv and Claire who ran the event in conjunction with their SRSH group welcomed their audience with an array of baked goods (I ate about 6 brownies), and interactive displays including Storm’s own body acceptance stroke of genius. She took photos of audience members as they arrived which she then invited them to manipulate, proving to lots of people that they actually look better as they are!
The performance was erm… performed(!) by 5 actors, all of whom presented a couple of stories written by Bristol University students. Knowing that the actors had only seen the scripts four days before the event I was very impressed with their performances. There were some great stories too, some poetic, some disjointed, some emotive, some thought provoking. When I snuck a look at the audience behind me they all seemed transfixed.
Nicky Young who acted in the event had this to say about her experience…
‘Working with Body Gossip on Tour was a wonderful experience. The stories people had the courage to write and send in were truely inspirational and I hope they help everyone who hears them to feel good about themselves and realise they are not alone in the way they feel about their bodies.’
But the excitement didn’t end there, oh no. Bristol’s BGoT had organised further entertainment, a female barbershop quartet no less! They did their wonderful thing as the audience continued to mingle, chat about the show and share their own body gossip.
Once again this BGoT event was different to previous ones, but once again it also worked its own unique genius. That’s the beauty of these events, they allow each university to put their own stamp on the campaign. For more information on how to go about holding a Body Gossip event at your university visit http://www.bodygosisp.org/bgontour
Look out for videos from last night’s event soon on our youtube channel.