Lies We Are Told About "The Body Beautiful" (Or - Why I Am Becoming Proud Of My Scars!)
I feel I should do the same as the Mainstream TV Media would do in instances like this blog post. So - here goes;
WARNING - This Blog Post contains images some readers may find disturbing!!!
It is funny how you sometimes can look at something a million times yet not really see it unless someone points it out to you. It is also funny how people can be offended by the strangest things.
After all - apparently photos of scantily clad (as in naked or near-naked) photos of women can be printed in mainstream newspapers and hardly anyone complains. The minute someone shows photos like the ones below - people start getting a bit squeamish and disturbed.
Yes - this blog post is about a recent phenomenon I am calling "Scar-shaming".
Please note - all the scars in the above photos (whether or not they are blatently obvious or you need to peer really closely to see them) are the author's own. Not only that - they have been on my person for as long as I can remember. The faint one on my torso is almost as old as I am.
As you can imagine I am slightly sick and tired of there appearing to be one rule for people who have "earned" their scars - be it as a result of a life-threatening injury (stabbing, etc), as a result of fighting for their country, or as a result of illness like meningitis - and another rule for those of us who have scars as a result of life-saving surgery.
The scars I have shown you in the above photographs are on "public display" most of the time (unless I am wearing something which hides them - as in - socks, a long sleeved top, a jumper, etc) and the chances are - if you have seen me - you have seen at least one of them. (Most probably the one near my collarbone.)
It may surprise you to realise that there are very few parts of my body which do not look like someone has practised their embroidery on me for whatever reason. You may have to peer closely at me - or catch me when I am wearing different clothes - in order to locate some of the needlework.
I count myself as extremely lucky that my scars only became an issue shortly after I had started secondary school. I think I have told you about the time when I was getting changed for a swimming lesson and one girl pointed at my front and said "Ugh, what's that???"?
I am now going to show you what she was pointing at.
(You have to imagine the rest of the scar from near my collarbone going down to meet the top of the vertical scar - I didn't want to get arrested for putting pornographic photos on here!)
Forget the idea of "Page 3" photos giving me an inferiority complex due to my scars - that girl got in way before I had heard of "Page 3".
Quite a few years later I managed to shock my Mum by telling a public audience about how the three scars on my torso made me feel. (I had kept my feelings to myself before that point and she had thought I had found a way to cope with them on my own.) I still don't like looking in the mirror when I am in what some might describe as "a state of undress".
So - in future - please be a little more respectful towards those of us with scars from lifesaving operations (be they scars which have been around for a lifetime or from recent operations for things like cancer). After all - without the scars - the people they are attached to would not be alive today.
I am not asking you to go for the sympathy vote - as in "Aww - you poor thing". Look if you want to (don't stare) - and ask me about them. I am happy to tell you about them (as much as I can).
And if you meet a child (or your children meet another child) with serious scarring on their body - please please don't make them feel ashamed of their appearance. They have got enough to deal with when they are subjected to fashion and media photos of the "perfect" (unblemished) body.
I must admit this is yet another of those blog posts I really wish I didn't have to type. You can pass comment on whether or not you think I should have written it or included the photos - but - remember - this is an issue I have dealt with for most of my life in one way or another. Just please don't call me "brave" for doing it. If you want to do something constructive - get angry at the people who make the decisions as to what is "palatable" for society to see in photographic images and complain about the fact that there are not more photos of scars which are presented in a "positive" way.
I am scared for the next generation of children who will grow up with serious scarring for whatever reason and feel forced to hide themselves away as a result of them - and the lies the Media tell about them not being "perfect" because of them.
We are all special and we should all be allowed to present ourselves in whatever way we like - scarred or unscarred - without being judged by people who do not know the full story.