We met with body positive fitness expert Louise Green, who was in the UK promoting her new book Big Fit Girl. We had a great time talking to her and learning about how plus size women and men can start getting active and begin improving their fitness without focusing on losing weight. However, one shocking truth emerged which just highlighted how far the UK has to go when it comes to body positivity.
Before our meeting, Louise had appeared on ITV’s ‘This Morning’ to talk about the truth about being fat and fit, where presenter Phillip Schofield was less than accepting of Louise’s advice, leaving Louise to question if there was a body positive movement in the UK at all!
“In North America, we kind of all know each other, but I’m just not that familiar with many people in the UK. And the response to some of the interviews I’ve done has been kind of like “is there a body positive scene going on here?”
Today the ITV interview was decent, but people were like what’s up with Philip? He was kind of like, patronising I guess. And I was thinking is this a thing here, are people embracing the body positive movement?”
This Morning’s views are predominantly stay-at-home mothers and women over 40. Many of these are the women who make up the nation’s average size 16 dress size, who would often be considered plus-size – the exact people that Louise is trying to reach with her message of body positivity. Phillip’s condescension and disregard for the work that Louise is doing isn’t just fat-shaming her, it’s fat-shaming a large percentage of the UK’s female population.
Louise later went on to write in the independent about her experience with Schofield,
“I was so taken back by Phillip’s opening question, “so you think you’re fit” in a condescending tone. [And] his fixation on what I eat and his asking if I “still” eat donuts like there’s an assumption I’ve only consumed donuts most of my life.
Phillip proceeded to read out negative Tweets that supported his disdain to my claims of being healthy or fit. Yet, after the interview I mostly saw positive Tweets in my support. Phillip was committed to putting me in my place in a very public way.
Here’s the thing Phillip – I know for certain, I can out run you, out swim you and out bike you, any day of the week. You should never judge a book by its cover.”
The interview took place on live television, and so didn’t give Louise the chance to share a decade’s worth of knowledge and experience working as trainer to plus size women. She wasn’t asked about her accomplishments as a trainer or athlete, or her experiences taking part in half marathons, triathlons and endurance cycling events.
No, instead Phillip asked if she still ate donuts, reducing what could have been a positive and empowering segment, to a novelty spot that afforded him the opportunity to poke fun at the plus size community. Louise began our interview talking about why this kind of occurrence is still so frustrating.
“A lot of people take from face value that you can’t be fit at size 18. They don’t anything about my health, they don’t know anything about my life. They just take the size or the weight and assume. I feel like I’m constantly having to defend it.”
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