“When we constantly see the same thing over and over again in the media, it affects the way we see difference in everyone. I don’t know when we started seeing difference as something bad, and why we think everyone needs to be the same, look the same, and act the same… I think wanting to be different is actually what propels society forward. So when we see difference in the media and on the screen, it helps us understand that all beauty and the unattainable idea of unrealistic standards are completely made up. The more that we see different bodies in the media, the more that we’re going to (hopefully) not discriminate against people who don’t look the way we think people should look, whether that’s their weight, their skin colour, the things they’re wearing. If the ideal is just made up, then we can change what that ideal is.
I don’t think that I ever looked the way the people on screen, in ads or in magazines looked, and I never felt there was something wrong with me. But being really tall affected the way other people looked at me and treated me. I mean, I was 5’9” when I was in grade six! But I never felt like there was something inherently wrong with me; I always felt like there was something inherently wrong with the system. For example, I was recently looking through some old pictures and I found this photo from my grade six graduation dance. There’s a lineup of all of us slow dancing in a row, as you do when you’re in grade six. Everyone is the same height and I’m towering over them. I look back and I’m like, ‘oh my God you were so tall!’ And then I think it’s amazing that I didn’t care or notice. There are so many things now that I notice about myself; why can’t I go back to that 12 year old who was just happy and didn’t notice or care that she was towering over everyone? Almost 20 years later, I’m trying to be that brave 12 year old.”