The Body Gossip campaign has been moving for the past few years, and the Body Gossip book is the culmination of the efforts of the co-captains’ (Ruth Rogers and Natasha Devon) efforts to get the country talking about their body in different and positive ways.
Featuring stories on everything from childbirth to growing old gracefully, this is the perfect coffee table book for those nights when you feel rubbish and need cheering up. There are stories from celebrities, like Louisa Lytton, Jermaine Defoe, Alesha Dixon and Jo Swinson MP, as well as members of the public of every age group (some from primary school age). The section on men feels slightly tokenistic, but, as pointed out in the explanation at the beginning, this chapter was done out of necessity due to a lack of male contributors – it would be good to see more in future versions.
The Body Gossip book has lots of different stories written in many different ways. From poetry and quotes to full on prose, there is something different about each and every one. Each contributor should be commended for having the bravery to be so candid about their personal story. It is an excellent lesson in how we should all treat our bodies with a little more respect, as well as seeing the cognitive switch that makes people realise that they have a problem with their self-image and how they can go about getting better.
Problems arise when you start to read it all in one go – there are a lot of very upsetting stories amongst the ones that are in there, and some that are very disturbing. One that jumps to mind is the story of a man who discusses his gym behaviour in graphic detail, along with the drugs that he injects to make it easier for him to train. It can be very difficult to take, especially with the actual behaviours involved with eating disorders. Once you have got over that, however, it is easy to see the sort of bravery that is necessary to beat something like anorexia, and for some people to just feel comfortable in their own skin.
As Natasha Devon explained when she wrote a guest column earlier this year, the Body Gossip campaign is fighting against what the media portrays as beautiful, instead showing that beauty is not defined by a single look, weight or style. With the mixed bag of celebrities able to explain their own strengths and insecurities, the Body Gossip book allows us to see past the glossy magazine images and find out what the people in front of the camera think and feel about it all.
Inspiring, moving, and hopefully making way for bigger things to come, we love this book and want to see more of its kind coming to the fore.
If you want to contribute a story to Body Gossip, you can do so through their website
You can now buy the Body Gossip book on Amazon