Body image concerns, either during teenage years and in adulthood, plague millions of people.
By Paola Bassanese
With Series 2 of My Mad Fat Diary on our screens now, and My Madder, Fatter Diary by Rae Earl just being published, I just wanted to reflect on some of the issues that both the TV series and the original books raise.
Body image concerns, either during teenage years and in adulthood, plague millions of people. From the more extreme reactions leading to self-sabotage all the way to self-harm, to the day-to-day insecurities about our bodies, body image issues are all too common.
Yet, a show like My Mad Fat Diary is not glamourising the life of teenagers; quite the contrary, it focuses on anxieties and, very bravely, mental health issues.
Unlike the original book, set a decade earlier, the TV series adds a new layer to the storyline by zoning in on the therapy sessions that protagonist Rae has. She even tries group therapy – it takes extra courage to be able to share your personal story with strangers. Kudos to script writer Tom Bidwell who fleshed out some beautiful scenes of one-to-one sessions between Rae and therapist her Kester.
Rae is surrounded by young women with perfect bodies both in real life and in the media and that exacerbates her own paranoia with the way she looks, so much so that her love life suffers.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why can’t we allow ourselves to be happy? And more importantly, why are we giving so much importance to our outer shell?