Dear Rebecca Adlington
In light of recent events I feel the need to write to you. You are currently in the reality TV Show, I’m a celebrity Get Me Out OF Here and unlike many of your team mates and comrades on that show you are someone we have heard of, look up to and see as a role model.
I cried with you this week as you described your insecurities about your looks, I remembered how horrible a place Twitter can be as you told of the bullying (yes Bullying) you encountered on Twitter by people who haven’t a clue what you have been through and do not appreciate your achievements.
I was once a swimmer, obviously not to your standards, but I swam at a good level, I got up at 5 am to swim before school, I had blood taken to measure my lactic acid to see how I was performing and my capabilities, I swam at Kelly college and endured land training as well as the hours upon hours every week in pool. I have an understanding of what it means to dedicate your life to a sport, but I didn’t have what you had, I didn’t have the talent and attitude to make it to that elite level.
Me and my swimming friends beamed with pride as you brought home the gold in the Olympics and Worlds. We looked at you in admiration.
And we still do.
Rebecca, can I call you Becky? Let’s be frank, if you were a man you would be distinguished and proud, but no, you are the weaker sex. The weaker sex that gets all emotional about stuff, and has ‘times of the month’ and also the weaker sex that endures such pain and endurance many men could not imagine. Yes, you are the weaker sex that is woman and as a woman you are not judged on your accomplishments but your bra size and waist size.
Becky, you are human, super human, but still human. You are a woman, you have feelings and I understand that. I understand how it feels to be judged on your looks, I understand the need to be slim and perfect and look at other women and compare yourself to them.
I swam at a high enough level that it has given me a swimmers physique, strong shoulders, large chest, and strong thighs. When I was your age I too was insecure about this, but I am a little bit older now, a little bit more secure in who I am and a little bit happier with my lot in life. My physique tells a story of my life it says I can swim 25 meters in under 14 seconds, it says I can do butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and crawl, but most of all it says I have lived, I have worked hard and I am strong. I am not a skinny woman but a strong mother that can lift her toddler above her head and cradle her baby with no problems. You haven’t got children and if you do you have children in the future you will be grateful for strength over skinny; but your achievements are inspirational, you have a chance to inspire women and change the way the world looks at women.
Your beauty shines through, you have achieved so much more than this ex swimmer and ex model, so please try to look at yourself approvingly, every day look at one thing about yourself that you like, and if you don’t like a part of you, like the reasons you are as you are and be proud of yourself.
Every woman has some insecurities, it is down to the misogynistic society we live in, but you have done something many only dream of, you have succeeded in winning not only medals but gold medals worldwide.
There is a meme that every mother earns their stripes;
But every woman earns her body, apart from genetic disposition, it is the choices we make and the way we treat ourselves that determines how we look, I would not trade in my laughter lines for the memories they made and you should be proud of the body that achieved so much.
I would not be surprised if your body fat was lower than many models, you have a strong, beautiful body, we are all shapes and sizes, please continue to show my daughter what a strong woman looks like and be proud.
Strong is sexy
Sadie belle x x x
Footnote added 25/11/2013
This post was written mostly in response to an article I read telling Rebecca Adlington to get over her body image issues and be a role model, but also out of frustration for the way other newspapers where portraying her. I did not expect it to get as many views as it has and it is not a carefully considered article,d as many people viewing this do not know me I thought I would add this note to clarify a few things that are subjective.
- I have nothing against slim people, my issue is with the media telling women that there is only one shape that is attractive, I think both Rebecca Adlington and Amy Willerton have enviable figures. But we are all shapes and sizes and all shapes and sizes are beautiful whether you are a slim size 8, a statuesque tall women, a curvy 18 or a strong defined woman I can guarantee someone will be jealous of how you look.
- This article is from a woman’s point of view and is no comment on men, more the media and the way we treat each other, men and women. I feel the majority of men although may have insecurities are less likely to be called ugly or fat than women and therefore less objectified. It is the objectification of women’s looks over accomplishments that makes me sad
- I wrote this article in particular, rather than another celebrity, because I can relate to how Rebecca Adlington feels, this is because I share a similar background in swimming and I mention this to get this point across. Not because I wanted to tell the world I used to swim. Like any athlete the hard work that goes into creating these bodies is amazing, and I wanted to make a point that I understood that to an amateur level at least, and still felt those insecurities. This is why I understand that just getting over it, is not as easy as it sounds, especially when encountering bullying on social media. Kelly Holmes got a lot of abuse for having muscles during her term on strictly, and this is an equally bad situation but I found it harder to relate with my flabby belly . However, this is my personal blog and as such may at times come across narcissistic and self indulgent, sorry but I am writing for me on here.