For the last few weeks, Bryony Gordon has been holed up at home writing her latest book about, amongst other things, body image. She’s written openly about her struggle with bulimia, and making the decision to stop loathing her body – now, with a daughter of her own, she wants to pass on some of what she’s learned.
For example: “the other night, I sat in my bed and I watched Sex Education, which I just love, and I ate a whole big tube of Pringles and a grab bag of Doritos. And I was like: ‘I’m the most disgusting person in the world.’ And then this little voice in my head went: ‘Bryony, you have done far worse things in a bed over the years – get over yourself! This is an improvement. So what? You ate some crisps and watched some Netflix; the world’s still spinning.'”
Age 38, she’s learned to ignore the size label and wear what looks good, to avoid fitting rooms, to take a compliment when it’s given, to wear her hair how she likes (it’s currently pink). But her relationship with fashion hasn’t always been straightforward.
“For so long I felt dictated to by it – my body doesn’t fit that type of thing, or I don’t think I look good in that look; and as a larger lady, fashion doesn’t appear to have been made for people like me.”
“When I was growing up there was one type woman who was portrayed in the mainstream media,” she says, “and she was thin, and she was white, and she was pretty, and she was straight. Those kinds of women are perfectly valid; the problem is that if you don’t happen to be that woman, you feel like you somehow don’t fit – and even if you are that woman, you’ll think that you’re not thin or pretty enough.”