Interview with Megan Jayne Crabbe AKA bodyposipanda

Wednesday 17 May 2017

Among young people, body positivity is a growing concern and a concern we need to tackle much more than we are at present. Our generation has been exposed to media and the unrealistic beauty ideal much more than the generations of our parents and grandparents. Self-hatred and self-loathing isn’t a physical condition, it’s a mental one and we need to start changing and altering young people's way of thinking...

I was lucky enough to interview Megan (aka bodyposipanda) for Tag Magazine 2017, as apart of my media course at Sussex Downs College. I am so proud of this interview and I just had to share it with you here on my blog. I hope you enjoy reading this super uplifting interview!

Megan Jayne Crabbe is a body positivity advocate who spreads ‘bopo’ and self-love messages to her 500,000 Instagram followers. Megan is just 23 years of age and is from Essex. Megan works as a carer for her older sister who has cerebral palsy as well as helping many other girls to love their bodies across the world, she is a true inspiration and the perfect role model for any young person.

When Megan was just 5, she thought she was too fat, at 10 years old she began to diet and by the time she was 14 she was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa. “I’d spent my whole life at war with my body” she told us. After recovery she spent years crash dieting, binge eating and hating her body every step of the way. Until one day when she discovered the fabulous and inspiring world of Body Positivity. “When I found body positivity, I realised that maybe there was another option to starvation and self hatred. I started following all these incredible women of all shapes and sizes, unapologetically loving themselves and inspiring others to do the same. Soon I started posting my own body positive content and @bodyposipanda was born! The aim of the account is to show all the people currently at war with their bodies that they are good enough as they are, and so worthy of self love and happiness. Body positivity is for all sizes, all ages, all genders, all abilities, all shades - our diversity makes us magical, and it's about time we all realised that.”

Mollie: Do you believe that the media and photoshopped 'perfect' celebrities contributed to you and many others developing anorexia?
Megan: Anorexia is a complicated, multifaceted illness and so many things contribute to it - personal psychology, physiological elements, and socio-cultural factors. While it takes more than photoshopped images to push someone into an eating disorder, we need to recognise that we are living in a culture praises thinness above all else. Every day we're inundated with images of unattainable 'ideal' bodies alongside millions of adverts selling weight loss as the cure to all our problems. We exist in a diet culture where shrinking our bodies is seen as the ultimate goal. That culture isn't entirely to blame for the ever rising numbers of eating disorders, but it is playing a massive role.

Mollie: For any young girls (or guys) who admire celebrities whom are constantly glamourising dieting, posting super photoshopped images and promoting the unrealistic beauty ideal, what do you have to say to them?
Megan: I would encourage them to think about how those influencers make them feel about themselves. When they scroll through their social media pages filled with celebrities and fitspo models, do they come away feeling better about themselves? Or do they feel like they're hideous and flawed and not good enough? We have the power to cultivate our social media feeds, and we should all be creating spaces that boost us up, rather than tear us down. Get rid of the sources of negative comparison and fill your feed up with diversity and empowerment instead. What we see changes how we see ourselves, and I promise you'll feel the difference.

"If you weigh more than your boyfriend, you're too fat". That's something I learned while we were still on the playground, back before any of us had even been near a boy. I don't know where it came from, TV, magazines, overheard conversations - but it was fact. Beautiful women were always light and graceful, the men strong and solid. So that the boyfriends could lift you up and swing you round, you his feather light princess. As I got older that image became one more reason I was convinced that my body made me unlovable. And it isn't an image that only hurts women, it hurts men who can't reach the strong, solid expectation, it hurts people who don't fit the gender binary, people who don't slot in the limited boxes our culture puts gender into. It hurts queer people who are only given heteronormative images to aspire to. It hurts us all, the idea that only certain bodies are deserving of love. But the truth? The truth is that every single one of us are worthy of love, whether our bodies are light, strong, soft, bigger or smaller than our partners. Whether we believe that we're worthy or not. We already are. That means you too. πŸ’œπŸ’™πŸ’šπŸŒˆπŸŒž #bodypositivepower
A post shared by Megan Jayne Crabbe 🐼 (@bodyposipanda) on
Mollie: Many people loathe their bodies...
Megan: Realise that this isn't your fault. Your body image issues aren't things that you just invented and decided to torture yourself with. We've all been taught to see our bodies as problems that need fixing, when really the only problem is how our society teaches us to see ourselves. Your body is not a problem. Those parts of yourself that you hate are only 'flaws' because our culture has convinced you they are. And you are capable of unlearning those messages. If I can recover from anorexia and years of self loathing, and still go on to embrace my belly rolls and celebrate my cellulite, then you can too.

Mollie: What advice do you have for a young person who may currently be dieting?
Megan: GET OFF THE DIET SLAM THE DOOR AND DON'T LOOK BACK. Seriously, crash diets 1) don't work 2) are terrible for our mental health and 3) are dangerous. I know that right now you believe that losing weight is the only thing that will make you feel better about yourself, or make you happy, but that's a lie. There is currently a $60 billion diet industry in the US alone profiting from making you believe that your body isn't good enough. ALL of our body image issues have been created for profit. And the reason why that industry makes so much money is because diets don't work. We keep coming back for more because 95% of our attempts to lose weight fail, and in the meantime we do serious damage to our mindsets and our bodies. Screw dieting. Go and research intuitive eating instead.

This article was originally posted in Tag Magazine 2017, see the online version here.

Check out my blog post all about my experience working on Tag Magazine 2017 here.

The photographs featured within this post and Tag Magazine 2017 itself of Megan Jayne Crabbe were taken by photographer, Becky Long for the project 'The Beauty of Imperfection'.

Let me know what you think of the above interview with Megan. She's such an inspirational young woman and I honestly admire her so much - she's just a beacon of light! πŸ’œ 

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