I’m in a Facebook group that in essence styles itself on being a supportive and non judgmental space. A lot of the posts start with TW (Trigger Warning).

Personally I always found this a little off, I mean I get why people do it and it obviously comes from a good place, and god knows there are subjects out there that trigger me. I equally feel however that we can’t completely avoid things in real life, you are going to come across things that can unsettle you. Whilst being to walk away from things that trigger a trauma response in you is always an option (and therefore I do see the value of someone saying something could be a trigger for others), even that could trigger a response, therefore being able to handle and process that feeling is important. This is especially the case because in reality you can’t always avoid certain things, people who don’t know your background will say things unaware, you will come into contact with strangers etc.

Anyway beyond that what happened this week is someone posted something and someone else said you should have put a TW on that and that person said no why should I and it essentially escalated into a sh**t storm of people saying how terrible she was and others saying how ridiculous it was that people couldn’t accept that some things on the internet might trigger them and they needed to work on internal responses and not rely on others to keep them safe.

Essentially what it showed me was what I’d kind of thought about this page for a long time. People like being in a supportive, non judgmental group when everyone has the same opinion as them and they get backed up by an echo chamber of support. That non judgmental stance becomes a lot harder when people don’t agree with you.

For instance, one person had posted they had put weight on over lockdown and it had knocked their confidence so they wanted to lose it but were struggling to get back into the gym (I thought god that sounds familiar lol). The first four of five responses were all along the lines of ‘don’t focus on your weight, think about fitness benefits not your size or shape.’

Now to be fair this page is big on anti diet culture, fitness for feeling good and strong, not being thin or fitting societal norms and being allowed to decide what you look like and what feels good for yourself.

Absolutely cracking- I am all about that. But excuse me one moment, this person said they currently DO NOT FEEL GOOD IN THEMSELVES. So hang on, if you aren’t stick thin and don’t want to be and want to stay as you are you are all about empowerment and should be celebrated because everyone has the right to feel good in whatever way they want to (no disagreement here by the way) BUT if you want to change your shape and lose a bit of weight to feel good in yourself suddenly you don’t have that right to decide what feels good for you?

It’s like we just can’t get the balance right. Of course for so many years women in particular have been told what they should look like, sound like, act like, hence the movements for women to be accepted for how they re and not judged or shamed into being, acting or looking a certain way. In doing so though, it feels like sometimes we’ve gone to far the other way, so now if a women does actually want to do something that previously would have been deemed a norm for women (lose weight being the big one here) they are now classed as some form of traitor to the cause and instead should change their wants and desires to fit more in with a new narrative.

Isn’t that just doing the same thing to people though? Telling them they should now think and feel a certain way instead of the previous way, but still imposing ideals on them? I feel like the idea of a non judgmental space is you have your view, someone else has theirs, and unless they are racists, sexist, violent, oppressive or dangerous views you just accept that they re different to yours.

I guess I feel like this week has shown me that as much as we all think we are progressive and open minded, in reality we tend to surround ourselves with like minded people so that ideal of no judgment rarely gets the chance to be challenged but actually confronting views that drastically differ from our own and learning how to disagree without throwing a hissy fit, telling the other person exactly why they are wrong or getting upset because they unwittingly said something that triggers you.

All we really need to know is it is true that you should not do anything because you feel like you have to. That includes losing weight, but that equally means if you want to lose weight you can. If you want to count calories you can, whatever the anti calorie tracking movement says!

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