Promoting Happiness

There were two stories in the press today about being comfortable in your own skin that got me thinking.

The first was about The First Disney Gay Kiss which, potentially, is to be followed soon by The Second Disney Gay Kiss in the Beauty and the Beast cinematic release.  Needless to say, opinion has been split.

disney-same-sex-pix

On the one hand, people are praising the Disney for being progressive while some are concerned that kids now can’t just be kids without an over exposure to any form of sexuality.

Moving to the second story, then.  This one is of a blogger named Megan Jayne Crabbe who runs bodyposipanda.  Megan posted a side by side image on Instagram to show her transformation from two and half years prior.  Her picture, though, was a bit different to most of the transformation photos one sees on the platform…

On the left is me 2 1/2 years ago, just before I found body positivity, and on the right is me today. You’ll probably notice the most obvious thing I’ve gained between these two pictures: weight. But there are so many other things I’ve gained as well. I’ve gained mental freedom. I’ve gained self love. I’ve gained my life back after so many years of believing that I wasn’t worthy of living it because of how my body looked. I know the world wants you to believe that the less you weigh the happier you’ll be. I know I’m supposed to feel ashamed of this transformation. I’m supposed to vow to lose the weight, I’m supposed to spend my life chasing the body on the left and buying into the idea that I’ll be more valuable once I get there. But I’m not going to do that. Instead I’m going to tell you what I learnt from all those wasted years chasing washboard abs and dropping numbers on the scale: happiness is not a size. Weight loss does not cure self hatred. Mental health matters more than a dress size does. And we are all so worthy of self love exactly as we are. It’s time we took a stand and refused to keep hurting ourselves in the pursuit of a ‘perfect’ body that doesn’t even exist. It’s time for us to realise that we’re already good enough. It’s time for us to take our power back. 💜💙💚🌈🌞

A post shared by Megan Jayne Crabbe 🐼 (@bodyposipanda) on

Yep, Megan posted a picture to show her transformation from being slim to gaining weight.  I wanted to say “fit” to gaining weight, but I was making that judgement on the fact that Megan is wearing sports clothes and showing off abs in the “before” photos, and I would also be making the assumption that she is not fit now.

Just like the Disney story, there are two very polar opinions ranging from “Go girl! You’re so inspirational,” to, “You really shouldn’t be promoting being overweight and unhealthy”.

I don’t really want to venture an opinion on the two sides of either story.  Rather, my observation was this:

The positive side of both stories is the message of being comfortable in yourself and your own opinions and feelings.  That’s a sentiment that, when read, anyone can agree with.  However, when seen and prompted visually by either cartoons, films or Instagram posts, there can always be an inference (at least an inference) of undue influence in to what is normal.

Let me go to an extreme to try to explain a bit further.  If every film only ever featured homosexual romantic relationships, or every photo about being happy only ever featured over weight people, those two scenarios would be the norm.

Perhaps I’m overthinking (Oi, you! At the back! Stop nodding!) but I just want to go back to what I said before.  It is the visual cue that causes the polarisation.  Without the visuals, if one was having a doubt about what is right for them, they could explore an array of options not limited by anything that they’re seeing in the media being promoted as better than something else.

It might seem crazy what I am about to say
Sunshine she’s here, you can take a break
I’m a hot air balloon that could go to space
With the air, like I don’t care, baby, by the way

(Because I’m happy)
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
(Because I’m happy)
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
(Because I’m happy)
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
(Because I’m happy)
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do

Here come bad news, talking this and that (Yeah!)
Well, give me all you got, don’t hold it back (Yeah!)
Well, I should probably warn ya, I’ll be just fine (Yeah!)
No offense to you, don’t waste your time
Here’s why…

(Because I’m happy)
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
(Because I’m happy)
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
(Because I’m happy)
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
(Because I’m happy)
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do

(Happy)
Bring me down… can’t nothing…
(Happy)
Bring me down… my love is too high…
(Happy)
Bring me down… can’t nothing…
(Happy)
Bring me down, I said

(Happy, happy, happy, happy)
Bring me down…can’t nothing…
(Happy, happy, happy, happy)
Bring me down… my love is too high…
(Happy, happy, happy, happy)
Bring me down… can’t nothing…
(Happy, happy, happy, happy)
Bring me down, I said

(Because I’m happy)
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
(Because I’m happy)
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
(Because I’m happy)
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
(Because I’m happy)
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do
[x2]

(Happy, happy, happy, happy)
Bring me down… can’t nothing…
(Happy, happy, happy, happy)
Bring me down… my love is too high…
(Happy, happy, happy, happy)
Bring me down… can’t nothing…
(Happy, happy, happy, happy)
Bring me down, I said

(Because I’m happy)
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
(Because I’m happy)
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
(Because I’m happy)
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
(Because I’m happy)
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do

Happy by Pharrell Williams

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