Since I decided to take a stand against Protein World, I’ve had a whole lotta insults hurled at me.
(You can see some of them here)
A lot of people have termed me a Social Justice Warrior, as if fighting for social justice is the worst thing ever. But more commonly, people have accused me of picking an unimportant cause to champion.
First, I’d like to say, anyone who thinks this is a small cause has obviously never watched their gorgeous, perfect best friend starve herself almost to death because she can’t shake the idea that her body is fundamentally flawed. Women’s perception of their bodies is not a small issue. This idea that our bodies are public property, to be commented on and criticised and improved is killing people. We are not overreacting. This is not just an advert. This is a deep running, cancerous societal problem that is ruining lives every single day. I am too light to legally give blood, and yet the Telegraph thought it was appropriate to run an article today calling me “chubby”. These standards that women are being held to have to be smashed and they have to be smashed hard.
But the other string of this argument is that in standing up for women’s right to be proud of their bodies, I’ve somehow chosen my issue. As if this is the only thing I’ve ever cared about or gotten angry with. So to clear up any confusion, here are a list of things that make me so cross I would start a protest movement against them:
- Women being held responsible for men objectifying them. Whether this is in girls being sent home from school for dressing “provocatively” or in asking how much a rape victim had to drink that night, this sucks and has to be challenged every single time.
- Sex education that focuses on mechanics and moralising, rather than emotions and consent.
- The lack of access to sexual health services for women across the world. From women in developing countries using filthy rags to stem their periods, to women seeking abortions being shamed and abused, this is not okay.
- Kitten heels.
- Female genital mutilation.
- Raisins that look like chocolate chips.
- The belief that there are less women in senior positions because women are just not that good at stuff. This argument is rarely said so bluntly, but this is what it boils down to.
- That I don’t know a single woman over the age of 20 who hasn’t experienced some kind of sexual violence.
- People who swing their legs round on buses to let you out, instead of standing up like a normal person.
- The decimation of mental health services in the UK.
- The fact that half of all births in the developing world are to adolescent girls, who are five times more likely to die in childbirth than women over 20.
- The lack of fathers’ rights.
- Cersei Lannister.
- Grown men on skateboards. Or anyone over the age of 12 on a microscooter.
- The fact that women are still seen as walking incubators, and the lives of foetuses are placed above the lives of mothers.
- Gender binaries.
- People being blamed for their own poverty, while millionaires reap the rewards of a deeply skewed society.
- The ostracisation and mockery of people who are perceived as different, whether that be on the basis of race, sexuality, non-binary gender, disability, age, appearance.
- The idea that you can only be a feminist if you are wearing exactly the right amount of clothing.
- Police brutality against the black community in America.
And a million more. See, people are wonderfully complicated and filled with infinite potential and possibility. Injustice makes me angry, and I like to channel my anger into actions. This week, I took action against the restrictive ideals placed on women’s bodies. It might take me my whole life, but I’ll work my way through that list up there, and I’ll take the flack for it every single time. And if that makes me a social justice warrior, then I’ll be over here, sharpening my sword. Maybe next time, instead of slamming me for standing up for something I believe in, you could get off Twitter and join the fight.
Oh, and next weekend, I’ll be hitting a different park, smearing myself in body paint again and yelling about something else that makes me angry. Except this time, it’s cancer’s turn to get a kick in the ass.