HOT TOPICS: Why the body shaming of athletes like Eilish McColgan is not acceptable

2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships - Day One

Great Britain athletics star Eilish McColgan has been body-shamed publicly on social media and she has had enough of it. 

McColgan said she is not surprised as to why globally some women and young girls have less self-esteem due to social media 'warriors' penalising them for not living up to society's standard of beauty. 

The Eilish McColgan story is part of a massive epidemic of body shaming on female athletes.

Some sections of the media have called legends like Serena Williams a 'man.'

British athletics champion Anyika Onuora has been called 'fat,' and marathon athletes Lily Partridge and Charlotte Purdue accused of not looking "like marathon runners". 

In a society where the ideal body shape is almost unattainably curvaceous, athletes like McColgan don't stand a chance.

"Nothing pisses me off more than someone commenting that I'm 'too skinny'. I'm naturally small, always have been," she said on Twitter. "Some people are just slim.

"I doubt they would comment on someone slightly larger than 'average'. I'm a healthy athlete and human. Go body shame elsewhere!

McColgan, 28, a European Championship silver medallist, went on to say that athletes like her are denied big deals with brands because of the comments people make. They choose social influencers like the Kardashians and use them as the standard of beauty for all women when that is not the case in reality.

McColgan is not the first athlete to have discussed this issue. Last year, British athletics star Anyika Onuaro opened up about the treatment she had received growing up.


In an interview with GiveMeSport's Benny Bonsu, Onuora added: "I wanted to tell my story about my body image issues but also speak about other black females, who have also been scrutinised for having a different body – like Simone Biles, like Caster Semenya and Serena Williams, who has always been vilified every time she steps on the court."

Onuora has spoken openly about growing up in a predominately white school, and the lack of appreciation for women like her, who don't have society's ideal standard of beauty. 

Drawing from her own experiences, the sprinter explained: "I think the media have to do the job of actually listening to our stories but again, talking about the wins and the successes. Not everything is about being sexualised; we go through enough of that as women, we don't need to be sexualised every day or in any given interview that we do."

These comments can perhaps discourage female athletes from competing, especially on a global stage.

In a report by Unilever's Dove Self-Esteem project in 2017, over half of girls globally do not have high self-esteem. This is an extremely high number.


Surely our media platforms can be better used to inspire a generation of women and girls who believe in themselves and the bodies in which they own?

Eilish says she is "naturally small - always have been" and encourages others to ignore the negative comments of body shamers and accept "YOUR fabulous body."

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