"God, I wish somebody would’ve told me When I was younger that all bodies aren’t the same Photoshop, itty bitty models on magazine covers Told me I was overweight
I stopped eating, what a bummer Can’t have carbs in a hot girl summer If I could go back and tell myself When I was younger, I’d say, psst
I know Victoria’s secret And girl, you wouldn’t believe She’s an old man who lives in Ohio Making money off of girls like me Cashing in on body issues Selling skin and bones with big boobs I know Victoria’s secret She was made up by a dude (dude) Victoria was made up by a dude (dude) Victoria was made up by a dude
I wish somebody would’ve told me that thighs of thunder Meant normal human thighs The f—ing pressure I was under To lose my appetite And fight the cellulite with hunger games like every night If I could go back and tell myself When I was younger, I’d say “Hey, dummy”"
The above are lyrics from Victoria's Secret by Jax. My 11-year-old daughter introduced me to this song last year and I was completely blown away by it.
I developed an eating disorder (as did so many of us) when I was 15 and subsequently spent the next few decades battling with food, one way or another. The first seven years were spent starving myself, fainting and living almost exclusively off of alcohol, tea and illegal substances of one type or another.
Following the discovery, aged 22, that I was to become a mum with my first daughter, I started eating again, began running a couple of years later (which helped so much), quit the drugs and alcohol (the latter at least just while I was pregnant), and put on a couple of stones.
However, the tenacious and omnipresent niggling fear, and guilt-ridden, messed up associations with eating never fully left me. That's the thing with eating disorders - they love to hang around, even if they are no longer wreaking the same degree of havoc they once did.
The self-loathing, the huge pressure I felt to be thin and attractive, the constant berating myself over my poor body - it never really stopped until I hit my forties.
And that was why Jax's "Victoria's Secret" hit home so beautifully. What a star Jax is! What a fantastic message to be shouting out to our young girls and women, and how utterly amazing it is that we are now living in a time when these thoughts are being openly articulated - as compared with the insidious influences of thin being the (only) ideal body image; women existing purely for the titillation of men; eating disorders being brushed under the carpet and largely ignored.
With the Me Too movement gathering such incredible momentum, mental health issues increasingly being recognised as a normal part of life for all of us, and body image being represented in all different shapes and sizes, I think it's fair to say we are living in a much improved era for self-compassion and the way we treat ourselves, as human beings.
It's easy to focus right now on all that is wrong with the world (and God knows, there's a lot) but Jax's Victoria's Secret provides us with a little ray of hope that at least our young women are being exposed to a healthier, more empowering message about their place in society.