Millions of women around the world grew up watching and loving the iconic film Bridget Jones's Diary, but a newly viral Instagram post, by body confidence advocate Alex Light, has made some majorly important observations on the "problematic" weight loss storyline.
In a series of posts titled 'Bridget Jones was never overweight', Alex breaks down the plot of Bridget's quest for 'thinness' and how she internalised those messages as a teenager. Looking at the massive response it's amassed since (almost 1000 comments), it seems she's definitely not alone either.
"I was 13 when I first watched this film, and I weighed at least a stone more than that. I remember feeling a hot flush of panic and disgust when I realised this, and silently vowed to stick to my diet better," wrote Alex, to her 120,000 followers.
"Because what other message was I supposed to take from it? One of the film’s primary - and very problematic - plot points is weight, notably Bridget’s quest to shed pounds and hit ‘ideal weight’ - 8st 7 stone. She calls it ‘a miracle’. Because, apparently, 9st 7 stone was not acceptable. In fact, at one point in the film, she writes: “9st 4 (terrifying slide into obesity - why? Why?)”.
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Continuing on, Alex then explains that following watching the film (which came out 19 years ago), she then had a very specific benchmark in her head for what was and what wasn't an 'acceptable' weight.
"It’s ridiculous and dangerous in equal measure. Ridiculous because 9st 4 is very slim (someone on Twitter pointed out that she would come in at 21 on the BMI scale - even though the BMI scale is very problematic and fairly arbitrary but let me tackle that another day).
"Yet she’s portrayed as ‘plump’ and ‘overweight’. Dangerous because I saw that and internalised that and believed that 9st 7 was the cut off for ‘fat’. Reaching that was disastrous - never mind going above it. I was to avoid it at all costs."
She then shared that while the film wasn't the only reason that she went on to develop an eating disorder, it was very damaging for her personally. "I want to point out that while I can’t speak for others, it’s absolutely not the sole reason for me getting an eating disorder. It was, however, very damaging, and fed into weight-related pressures for many.
"I’m sad that that happened to us, but happy that we are all changing the world so that something like this isn’t allowed to happen again, and teenagers aren’t subjected to lines like this: 'Unexpectedly repulsive notion: never-before faced reality of lard splurging from bottoms and thighs under skin. Must return to calorie-counting tomorrow'."
Since the post was published, many other women have shared similar stories in the comments. "I remember reading this at 11 or 12 - not sure I should've been at that age but found it at the villa we stayed at - it carved the way for how I viewed my teen body. Not OK," said travel and lifestyle blogger, Francesca Newman-Young.
Another body positivity and self-love digital creator, using the handle @sherryivy_ also added her thoughts to the post, giving another take on it. "I appreciate what you're trying to say here and appreciate the sentiment, but this caption and comment section is a bit of a mess. There's a lot of fatphobia going on here," she said, before explaining that Bridget's weight should never have been a focal point of the film at all.
"It should never have mattered what weight she was, if she was 3, 4, 5, 10+ stone heavier, she would still have been beautiful, valid and worthy of love... the point of the conversation should be that it doesn't matter what you, Bridget or anyone weights, that weight does not determine worth at all... and that being fat isn't something to be afraid of."