“The definition of the world ‘punish’ or ‘punishment’ is a penalty inflicted as retribution for an offence.”
Carrie Hope Fletcher is known for addressing important topics on her YouTube channel as well as various social media platforms. Recently, she was travelling on the London Underground and saw an advert for a gym that used the phrase ‘PUNISH YOURSELF BUFF’ and she initially took to Instagram to voice her opinions on the advert.
Ive been going to the gym recently. I had a very unhealthy 2017, in which I drank more alcohol in the space of six months than I have ever drunk in my entire life, I ate all the good food the UK had to offer and I did zero exercise to balance it all out. Basically, Addams Family was the university experience I never had as a young adult! So now, I’m making up for it and exercising properly to balance out the vanilla lattes I drink and the Gu pots I eat. BUT I am going to the gym because I LOVE my body and the more I love it, the more it’ll love me back. 🖤 And sooo…BECAUSE my reason for going to the gym is that I 🖤 my body, I need to talk about this poster that I saw today because it’s made me quite angry and uncomfortable. I’m not a small girl. I haven’t been since the age of 14. I’ve always been buxom. But no matter what size or shape I am, I should NEVER be made to feel like I have to “punish” myself into being something different. Being bigger or less “buff” than those around me isn’t a punishable offence. It’s not an offence, FULL STOP. Exercising regularly should be something you do because you LOVE your body and you want to care for and nurture it. It should be about self care. Not punishment. 🖤 I do have moments when I look at my body and don’t feel satisfied by it’s appearance but I have to remind myself that…I am not just my body. I am not just my appearance and anyone who judges other people purely based on how they look isn’t worth your time or tears. I am not just my body. I am my brain, my voice, my talent. I am my kindness, my creativity, my big heart. I am my passion, my courage and my determination. I am not just my body. And so my worries are often short lived because I know that I am long loved. By those I choose to keep close who love ALL of me but most importantly, I am loved by me. 🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤
The post started to circulate around social media and was eventually picked up by The Mirror, resulting in quite the response, both positive and negative.
At first, she was “in two minds” about making a video on the topic but, following the news report, Carrie made the decision to keep the conversation going and release a video explaining why the advert has affected her personally.
She explains that the wording used in the advert is the main reason she was affected, “because the picture, when looked at on its own, could be hugely empowering.” She adds that “the definition of the word ‘punish’ or ‘punishment’ is a penalty inflicted as retribution for an offence.”
Everyone has their own insecurities, including the YouTubers that we watch daily. As Carrie says in the video, “I still have insecurities about my size because my appearance plays a lot in the industry that I’m in. I get judged on how I look every time I walk into an audition as much as I get judged on my talent.” She goes on to say, “it made me feel like being slightly bigger than those around me or not working out as much as I should is a punishable offence.”
With it being fairly early into the new year, a lot of people are still putting New Year’s resolutions into effect, and going to the gym more regularly is one of Carrie’s resolutions for 2018. In conjuction with this, she points out that “the reason I’m going to the gym is because I care about my body and I love my body and I want to nurture my body, and get stronger.”
As a Youtuber, she says that she understands that companies need to advertise, “but when those adverts are plastered across the tube and are up publicly for thousands of people to walk past, every single day, I feel like we need to be a bit more careful about what that advert says.”
In response of the advertising style being used, which could potentially make members of the public feel terrible about themselves in order to bring in business and get them to use a service, she says “I don’t think that’s a good way to advertise. I think that’s quite unhealthy and quite damaging.”
The large number of people in the comments talking about their own insecurities and personal experiences with this topic just goes to show how language like this can affect people.
“Exercising regularly should be something you do because you LOVE your body and you want to care for and nurture it. It should be about self care. Not punishment,” Carrie sums up. We completely agree and think she’s great for continuing the discussion!