Are You The Ugly Friend?
A recent article I read recently inspired me to write this post today. It is something that I overlooked for a long time until I read an article as I never realised how this was a form of body shaming but coming from insiders.
I saw a post recently that was talking about Jesy Nelson from Little Mix losing weight but she was still being labelled mostly in a negative light due to her being curvier than her fellow band mates. There was an undertone that insinuates that she's 'the ugly one'.
Left to right: Leigh-Anne, Perrie, Jesy and Jade (Little Mix)
Now if you have been in a group of friends, there is always that one person that is somehow pointed out as 'the ugly one'. You are somewhat conscious of who this might be within the group but it is never a topic you talk about nor do you ever want to be that person. To some extent, there is some relief when you find out it is not you and lets face it no one wants to be 'that one'.
Now, there are so many things wrong with this but I'll break it up into two parts; A) what makes up the ugly one ...B) why do we run away rather than face it.
So A) speaking from personal experience, no matter how physically attractive your group is, somehow someone can ends up with that label. Looking in the media when you look at girl groups or even boy bands, it boils down to one thing most of the time...weight. More times than none, it is usually the one who looks like they weigh the most. I say looks like because the curvier you look, the more people assume you weigh more but that’s not always the case. Twelve stone on me looks different to my cousin who weighs the same and it's predominantly down to my height.
Anyway, what irritates is aside from the hideous label of 'the ugly one', why does it ALWAYS boil down to weight. It is almost like someone is saying, if you are fat you can't be beautiful and you certainly cannot be the pretty one when you are with your thinner friends. Urgh...even writing it irritates me!
Note: For those who get offended by the word fat (sorry, not sorry) I use it just as positively as I use skinny/slim.
But why is that? Why does the perception of beauty always boil down to weight?
It completely baffles me because Jesy is absolutely beautiful but she gets labelled with such an ugly tone for what? Punishment for having curves or being curvier than her other band mates. Why can't all four of them be beautiful in their unique way?
Another article I saw was Ashley Graham (pictured below) being called unhealthy and accused of promoting obesity because she is a size 16. Let me tell you when I say, you can't put a stereotypical look on health, you really can’t. I have friends who are size 16 upwards and they are all waaaaaay fitter than me (I will one day get the energy to join them on the fitness bandwagon, I promise). They can run faster and longer but automatically people think I'm the healthier one.
Possibly putting thinner on a pedestal?
Beauty has no size and healthy does not have a specific look. It’s very simple but why do many people find it so hard to understand?
I’ll be honest; someone asked me if I felt that Mymilla promotes obesity? My answer to that was and still is a very strong no. Helping women to appreciate their bodies in their current state is not promoting anything but body positivity and happiness. Ashley Graham has and is still helping to change perceptions of beauty and her flaunting her fabulous curves is simply AMAZING because so many women can relate to her, same with model Nicola Griffin (picture below).
If someone is going through a weight loss journey, that’s not an issue but whilst you at whatever stage you are at, why not enjoy it just as much as you should enjoy your body when you reach your target weight?
Why spend years being unhappy with something you see everyday that helps you to get around everyday, that functions daily to keep you alive? Why dwell when you can celebrate. I am all for a party everyday because one day I am afraid that I will look back and regret the years I spent worrying about my body and how I can change it.
If you don't want to change it, celebrate it... And if you want to change it, celebrate the whole journey. Just celebrate.
Now part B) Why do we avoid being the 'ugly one' rather than confronting the label itself? Maybe it’s just me but I grew up knowing that in every friendship group, there was always one labelled 'the ugly one' and at one point I avoided being that one. If I found out it wasn't me with that label in the group then I would give a sigh of relief like it was a form of validation that I wasn't too bad looking. But what does that make me? By accepting and almost celebrating that I wasn't the one with the label in my group, I was somewhat accepting that one of my amazing friends was ugly.
I repeat, by accepting it I was silently saying one of my friends was ugly. I mean even writing it is filling me with dread and regret because as much as I have always been about girl power and helping my friends love their bodies, I indulged in a form of body shaming that is almost unspoken code. After realising who was given that horrible label, I would disseminate why people would think that and couldn't see the reason why.
That gives me a form of reassurance that not finding a reason for why they would be given that label meant I thought my friends were flawless. However, looking for a flaw in the first place was wrong because I am expecting to find something that justified that label. Straight up wrong.
I didn't see anything wrong with what I was doing because it’s done silently but still just as wrong as shouting it out. The thought itself is wrong. For someone who was all for girl power, my first reaction should have been to not even think about who that 'one' is, let alone get into the nitty gritty of why that label was there.
But how do you fight against it and make sure that it doesn’t consume you or your friends given that label silently? Simple. Don't pay attention to it! At a young age, Jesy and her band mates have fought back silently at the negative comments and respond simply by continuing their journey whilst supporting each other. This courage should be used as an example across all ages to show that we are all beautiful in our own way and what makes you different from your friends is what makes you extra special and unique, definitely not ugly.
Proof is in the pudding. At the beginning the media wrote horrible things about Jesy or always-showed unflattering pictures compared to her band mates to emphasise their point. Where are they now? Praising Jesy for how good she looks on stage next to her band mates, if not complimenting her more.
Sometimes silence is the best weapon because it speaks volumes where you don't need to.
If you or someone you know is struggling with their weight, please contact the B-eat helpline on 0345 634 1414 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. This amazing charity provides support for anyone affected by eating disorders or difficulties with food, weight and shape. We are proud to have helped them raise money during Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2016!!