I attended a showing of the body positive documentary Embrace on Wednesday evening. I was a little awestruck as it was being held in the Odeon in Liverpool city centre. One of those modern, glossy and noisy cinemas I try to avoid. Oh well.
I assumed that all those attending had made a positive effort to get tickets – this film is not on general release – and had therefore an understanding, or at least an interest, in the topic of body positivity.
How come then I was subjected to a conversation between the two women sitting in the row behind me which focused on diets, eating restrictions, food moralising and the desire to look young and healthy (aka thin).
It was difficult not to listen – I was on my own and basically trapped in a cinema seat. Serves me right for turning up on time I suppose but we had been warned that there would be none of the usual ‘what’s on next week’ or advertisements.
So there I was waiting for the start of a documentary which tells of how we have, as a society, become obsessed with our visual appearance – particularly the size and shape of our body – and how this causes misery and can thwart the strongest of us in our attempts to live our lives. I tried to distract myself with my phone, I ate a fruit bar and I tried to meditate. All just to block out that ridiculous conversation.
Got me thinking about how much time and effort, how much potential for fun and frivolity, how much mental stimulation women can forgo in order to talk about being naughty with a slice of bread, succumbing to a piece of chocolate or discussing the relative merits of different fruits and deciding which amongst the carbs are good and which are the baddest of the bad.
I know this is not new thinking. I suppose that I was just shocked that this conversation, of all conversations, should be happening at a body positive event.
Unless it was satirical performance art and I just missed the point.