I recently shared the quote below on the Sheroes UK Instagram account. It got a lot of likes, and quite rightly so. We remember these sheroes, and others, because of their actions, their character, their courage, their determination, their passion.
Over on the Sheroes of History blog we’ve shared the stories of over 250 incredible women. Women who invented, women who stood up against injustice, women who wrote, women who created, women who changed the world each in their own way. Now, I don’t know how each of those sheroes felt about their appearance or weight. It’s perhaps likely that they put themselves under the same sort of scrutiny so many women today do – such is the annoyingly long and persistent history of a woman’s appearance being lauded as all that is worthy of note or mention about her. What I do know is that when we think of these sheroes today, it is for so much more. As we glance back at their lives we see their remarkable achievements, we try to empathise with the struggles they face and the grit with which they overcame them, we are inspired by the words they have left us and the examples we can follow. We don’t give a fig what they weighed.
I first saw the picture-quote above when it was shared by Jameela Jamil on Instagram – someone who I have a bit of a shero-crush on at the moment for the fierce way in which she’s taking a hammer to the patriarchy, calling out the BS of the beauty and weight loss industries, and empowering women through her brilliant I Weigh Instagram account.
On I Weigh women share photos of themselves labelled with all the things which make them who they are – that are not their weight! It’s a wonderful and inspiring stream of photos to follow. Women from all walks of life celebrating themselves and saying ‘It doesn’t matter what I weigh, I am so much more than that’.
As women we’re c-o-o-onstantly reduced to what we look like. We know that girls worry about their weight from younger and younger ages (see here, here and here for just a few of the many heartbreaking news stories reporting on this.) And that worry clearly carries over into adulthood – many women spend their whole lives in an endless cycle of dieting, never comfortable or confident with how they look, spending hours and small fortunes chasing after a body ideal they have been sold. It’s not our fault; the barrage of messages we receive from every which way assaults us from the cradle to the grave, turning us against the very bodies we live in.
We can rebel against this. We can dismantle this; one act of self love at a time. And as we love ourselves, so we pave the way for others to love themselves. We rewrite the harmful script young girls (and other women) hear, from one of body shame, to one of body confidence; from one of self doubt, to one of self belief. Let’s do this shall we?
What do you weigh?
Sisters, you too are a lot more than a number on a scale. You are so much more than the reflection staring back at you from the mirror. What are you? Who are you? Have a look at the I Weigh Instagram account for some inspiration and then have a go at writing your own list of all the wonderful, interesting, unique things that you are.
What have you overcome?
What makes you happy?
What are you the best at?
What fires you up?
Who loves you and who do you love?
Whose life have you changed?
How have you made a difference?
What do you believe?
Had a go? We’d love to see them. Share on Instagram of Twitter and tag @Sheroes_UK and @I_weigh, and use the hashtag #BeAShero
With love to you in all your glorious self.