The Body Gossip book is an anthology of more than 300 body stories written by people of different shapes, sizes, ages and races from all over the UK. It has a foreword by Gok Wan and contributions from the likes of Alesha Dixon, Jermain Defoe, Craig Revel-Horwood and Anne Diamond.
But, enough of the sales pitch. What makes the book worthy of note?
Well, the first thing is that it turns a spotlight on the neglected masses. In today’s ridiculously body-image-conscious climate, we are obsessed with the extremes. We’ve taken people who inhabit medically astonishing bodies and reincarnated the Victorian freak show. Hoards of people are left feeling that their own body struggles and triumphs and opinions are unworthy of note, by comparison. This simply isn’t the case.
‘Body Gossip’ is a book written for the nation, by the nation. Imagine you could hear the thoughts of the public as you walked along the street. All their insecurities, their humour and wit, the inspiration of their endurance, laid bare for you to digest and enjoy. That’s what this book is.
The second reason is the lengths Body Gossip went to in order to include male stories. Oh, how they toiled. The result is what can seem,
on the surface, to be a slightly tokenistic ‘men’ chapter within the book. That’s until you realise not only have Body Gossip specifically turned down funding in the past in order to transform themselves into a women –only campaign, but also that, given the choice the male contributions would have been present throughout the book. The inclusion of the ‘men’ chapter is a reflection of the fact that simply not enough men wrote to Body Gossip with their stories in the run-up to publishing.
Body Gossip hope that the men chapter with galvanize other males who have an opinion, a thought, or a story relating to body image to commit their thoughts to paper and contribute to the campaign. After all, as Co-Director Natasha Devon said in her recent TED talk “body image is not only the remit of young women. Everyone has a body. No one is a floating head”.