Size 12 mum who tried to wear Victoria Beckham has powerful message for trolls
Sunday Mirror reporter Grace Macaskill last week put Victoria Beckham’s new high street fashion range to the test for our readers to see.
But what she got in return was a deluge of insults about her body from online trolls.
As a dress size 10-12, she is well below average size for a British woman. Yet she was treated like a pariah by vicious keyboard warriors.
Now ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week she asks: if they could make a 47-year old woman feel so awful, what are online trolls doing to our kids?
As a shoolgirl I was bullied for my liquorice thin legs.
Even my dad would teasingly ask me if I was a good whistler… because I had legs like a budgie.
Fast forward 35 years and two kids later, and being “too skinny” is no longer a consideration.
But neither do I think I have a weight problem.
So after writing about Victoria Beckham’s fashion line for last week’s Sunday Mirror, I was stunned to be mercilessly hammered on social media for being “fat”.
As a dress size 10 to 12, I am well below the average size for a British woman.
Yet I was treated like a pariah by vicious keyboard haters.
I had squeezed into Victoria’s new collection to prove the clothes were ill-suited to most women.
But Facebook trolls told me I had lied about my size, that I was too big to fit the designer numbers and that I looked like a T-Rex.
To be honest, after looking at the photo of me trying to hold up the shoulders of a red VB dress, that dinosaur comment was probably fair game.
But other FB users obsessed about my dress size.
Dozens of comments poked and prodded at my figure.
No way was I a size 10 below and a 12 on top.
I must be at least a “huuuugee”14.
And why on earth was a woman my shape daring to try on VB clothes?
Even men got in on the act (eyeroll).
I have a wardrobe full of size 10 and 12 outfits from favourite shops like Next, Wallis and Mint Velvet. And, let’s face it, Victoria’s designs would make a skinny 90s model look shapely.
So do I care about these jibes?
Absolutely I do.
But not for the reasons you’d think.
I’m 47. I don’t wear a bikini on holiday and I’m very accepting of the fact my figure has changed over the years – I have two beautiful boys to show for it.
But after a few hours of trolling I started to feel pretty bad about the way I look. A couple of days later I was Googling diets.
So on the eve of Mental Health Awareness Week, I was wondering, if they could make me feel so awful, what are online trolls doing to our children and vulnerable people in general?
I was curious to see who was behind the most barbed comments.
A quick check of Facebook profiles followed and, sorry ladies (and some men), but if I was the type to dole out advice on appearance, I’d have a field day.
The difference is, I’m not that type. Instead, I thought about the impact this kind of hate would have on a teenager – someone at that vulnerable stage, forging an opinion about who they are.
I also thought about how devastating it must be to be trolled by people meant to be your friends.
If you don’t believe I’m being truthful about my size, then believe these facts instead.
Around 10 per cent of young people self-harm. You go ahead, troll, make them cut deeper.
One in eight children has been bullied online. Glib comment worth it, troll? A quarter of kids have seen hate or racist comm-ents. Seriously? I have no words.
You could argue that as a journalist I deserve all I get. Fair enough, I’ll take it on the chin.
Yet the same people who criticise the press think it’s fine to invade a stranger’s privacy and make comments about how they look.
Kids still learning the basics of human interaction see grown-ups getting a kick out of taking cheap shots at strangers. We should be teaching them it’s who they are that is important, not how they look or how much they weigh.
Facebook, Twitter , Instagram and the like try to regulate the monster they have created, but it is out of control.
So here’s a suggestion, Mr and Mrs Troll: If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
And try to be happy with your own circumstances instead of looking at the lives of others for your inspiration.
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