Every morning, I read my usual news sites like the Daily Mail while drinking my coffee.. This morning I saw this article and I think it’s really messed up and pretty mean. This girl, Natasha Oakely, is a 25 year old Australian blogger, model, and swimwear designer. She is also is a human being. I hung out with her this exact time last summer in Miami when we both attended a blogger beach picnic for a swim brand during swim week. I saw her up close in a bikini, and she’s absolutely stunning. Is she perfect? No. Is anyone? No. She’s also extremely nice and inspires young girls all over the world who may not fit the model mold of stick thin to be confident and comfortable in a bikini, despite their “curves”.
I think the media’s comfortableness with picking apart women’s bodies is getting fucked up. It keeps accelerating, and no matter your shape, someone always has something to say about it. It’s easy to brush things like this off, but this girl had to wake up and read this about HERSELF. Scroll through photo after photo of her own body and read horrible comments about it, written by a journalist for a substantial worldwide news outlet. She is a person, just like you are and just like I am. Please take a minute to think about how you would feel if this were you. Pretty shitty, huh?
Since I entered the “blogging” world a couple years ago, I’ve learned more and more about the pressures involved with being a visible person on social media. I certainly don’t have a million followers like Tash or many other bloggers out there, but I can honestly say that I am more careful about what I post with my measly 85k following in comparison, because I don’t want to be picked apart. Nobody does. I can only imagine what it would be like to have over a million followers and the feedback that comes along with a single photo. People have gotten really comfortable being critical on social media. This article criticizes Tash for posting only “flattering” angles and poses of herself. Um, no shit Sherlock. Wouldn’t you with that many followers when you know over a million people are going to see it?? To be completely transparent and honest with you guys, I sure as hell don’t post unflattering photos of myself. If you see a photo of me on my Instagram page, that photo is one I’m happy with and feel good about. If it’s between two photos and one makes me look short while the other one makes me look long and tall, I don’t feel bad about posting the one that makes me look tall. Should I post the one that makes me look short that I don’t like just to be “real”? No. Public figure or not, it’s human nature to pick the one you feel best about. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I’m not hiding it one bit. The article goes on and on about her cellulite. Guess what? If you’re an estrogen producing female, you will probably experience cellulite at some point in your life. Does she need to put a camera right up on it and post a close up of her cellulite in order to be “real”? Should she feel abnormal for having cellulite and stop what she’s doing to crawl in a dark hole and hide? Is she not allowed to use filters like every other girl in America because she has a big following and that would be “unfair” to everyone?
There is a very commonly repeated sentiment by those attacking that “you should know when you put yourself out there, it comes with the territory.” Well, no, I don’t agree there. When I created my blog, it was to share and connect with like minded girls that enjoy the same things I do. I put myself out there for those girls….you guys. I did not put myself out there to be picked at by the 35 year old guy who thinks my ass is too flat and feels the need to tell me I should do some squats (yes, it’s happened). Nor did I “know” that came with the territory when I began blogging. None of these girls did. And news flash to him and the thousands of other men and women like him, I don’t exist to be your ideal of beauty, sex appeal, and perfection. I did not sign up for your critique of my body (or my life) when I “put myself out there” and I really don’t care if you don’t like it so you don’t need to tell me. Sorry, not sorry.
I’m not usually so worked up about things like this because I’m a very confident person, and I can firmly say that with no apologies because I’m really proud of it. I’m proud of it because I worked for it, and I earned my self- esteem (and still do everyday) by achieving my goals in this world. But, I wasn’t always confident and self-assured as a gangly, skinny 10 year-old tomboy. Far, far from it. And there are a lot of other unconfident young girls out there who see this shit and believe this is what’s important and what they have to worry about because this is what’s being put out there on huge sites like The Daily Mail that they see every day. And that makes me really sad/angry.
I want to quickly say that I DO NOT advocate extreme photoshopping/editing that creates an unrealistic distortion that is just not real life. I am spotlighting this particular instance because I’ve seen this girl with my own two eyes less than a foot away from me. She was wearing a bikini the entire time I was talking to her – no filters, no facade. And you can see the candids right here, that show a really bangin body. She looks great, filtered or not, and if she’s being criticized by the media in her natural state, then I guess we’re all fucked.
This post is not meant to be a rant. I’m not trying to blast anything or anyone. I’m just trying to make and keep a discussion relevant and alive that needs to be happening in our world of social and digital media right now. We are all people. We bleed when we’re cut, we cry when we’re sad. It’s so easy to say terrible things about people we don’t know because they’re big bloggers or social media figures that become a persona to us. But it’s really important to remember behind that persona is a blood and flesh human with emotions. I have been completely turned off of and will no longer read The Daily Mail with my morning coffee as I have for many years because I just don’t want to contribute to this cruelty in an industry I am part of and subject to any longer. It’s not ok and by clicking those links, I say it is and I refuse to do so any longer.
I’d love to hear how you guys feel about this. Love you all so much, and thank you for keeping this space full of kindness and love from the very beginning!