As I was once an overweight teenage girl growing up in Lincolnshire you could say that I can very much relate to Rae Earl from My Mad Fat Diary. I’ve recently re-watched series 2 in preparation for the new series and it compelled me to write about 2 things that the program got absolutely spot on.
(I’d just like to point out that this may be a very rambly post as I’m essentially testing my own ideas and feelings on the subject. Also I don’t want to upset anyone close to me as I do mention family, friends and boyfriends so sorry guys I hope I don’t upset you or anything).
On a side note I would just like to add how great it is for Lincolnshire to actually be represented by the media as we are often left out! Also congrats to the cast attempting the accent, as it’s not the strongest and most well known accent out there so well done!
1. Feeling embarrassed for anyone you’re with.
Going out with someone who is a lot slimmer than you is pretty hard, especially when you’re 15/16 and what other people think seems so much more important. I remember I used to feel exactly as Rae does and question why the guy liked me and stop holding his hand in certain places. I thought that people would think (and they probably did) that I was the ‘fat girlfriend’. It made me so sad when Rae says ‘people must think I’ve won a competition’. These feelings sometimes reemerge with my current boyfriend but he’s very lovely and reassuring and I’m a lot older now so I can mostly deal with them well.
I think that teenage girls have this insecurity of not wanting to be bigger (or taller but I’ve not personally had that problem) than their boyfriends/partners because society teaches from a young age that women are supposed to be smaller/shorter/slimmer than men. Personally I long for silly things like to be picked up by my partner or to wear his t-shirts but in the real world why do these things matter?
To look at this issue from the other point of view I’m curious to know if men have these issues in heterosexual relationships. Do men feel they have to be the bigger ones?. (Completely off topic but still important none the less).
2. Eating in public.
Rae highlights such a massive issue when she cannot eat in public. I’ve always been able to eat in public but still have a lot of problems doing so. She points out the fact that if a fat girl eats unhealthy food in public people will judge her for not helping herself, but if a fat girl eats healthy food in public people will think ‘you didn’t get to that size by eating salads’ . I often go out to eat with my very beautiful salad-loving friends and I am always torn between 1. ordering a salad and the waiter or other people in the restaurant knowing that I don’t normally eat salads and 2. ordering something slightly unhealthy and being the only one who didn’t order a salad. I’m so grateful to have friends who are so supportive and lovely but not much of what other people do or say can change the way you feel about yourself – and it’s something I’m working on believe me.
In conclusion if you haven’t watched My Mad Fat Diary yet and you can relate to being a teenager at all (and everyone can) you should totally go and watch it! It highlights some very important issues that, even though it is set in the 1990s, are still very relevant today. I haven’t mentioned self-harm or the mental illness side to the programme in this post but it’s also a topic very brilliantly and delicately represented in the show! I’d love to hear what you guys think about the show and the issues discussed! To be continued?