The Scottish referendum campaign has been passionate, robust and joyous.
The issues are big. On the No
side, there is a plea to remember the shared history of Britain; on the Yes
side a powerful celebration of the possibility of dramatically changing the
relationship between citizens and the state.
And yet in the midst of all the rallies, parties, concerts, demonstrations, canvassing, leafleting, singing, flags and inspiringly chaotic yet entirely peaceful stramash, it is curious that the one question that nobody has asked yet is: ‘Does my bum look big in this?’
Not only would an alien arriving on planet earth not realise how vast and empowering the Scottish Yes campaign is, but they might be mistaken in
thinking that politics is a completely marginal pastime anywhere. Turn on any T.V., internet, radio or look at the magazine section of any local shop and the one overwhelming message that is beamed out is this: Image and body shape is more important than anything else. Every day, everywhere, men, women and children are constantly exposed to toxic myths about food, weight and body image.
Central to diet industry is the promotion of false and facile images of the perfect human shape and image. Yet the fact that we, in our real lives with all their joys and pains and achievements and doubts, cannot ever look like those
images is not something to be ashamed of. It’s something to be proud of. We are real. Our faces and bodies are incredible. We frown, laugh, and weep; we blow kisses. We touch one another with tenderness or clench a fist in frustration. We stand up and cheer and whistle and demand our rights.
Being utterly human and utterly content in the body that Evolution or God or Both gave us is empowering, life affirming and joyous. It is also incredible dangerous and revolutionary.
If we free ourselves from obsessing about body image, then suddenly we have so much more time to think about friends, family, politics, art, studies, parties;
we have more confidence to fully fall in love; we can become more entranced in the smells and sounds of the changing seasons; and more open to changing the way our world is run.
Whatever way the referendum goes in Scotland, we should be thanking all Scots, Yes and NOs alike, for demonstrating what real, lasting and undefeatable beauty is.
Related article: Fat profits: how the food industry cashed in on obesity
NB The images for this article are from the following Yes campaign groups:
For more about the history behind the referendum, read my Social Justice & Scottish Independence
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Remember, if you have problems or worries you feel you would like to talk about confidentially, contact Cindy Dring, Health Promotion Officer for NUI Galway at 091-492048. Alternatively e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or just drop in to Aras Ni Eimhigh.
For more on how to look good, feel good and be in charge of your life as a student at NUI Galway check out Student's Services Health Promotion