Nike’s Latest Campaign, Body Positivity and Dreaming Crazier.

Lifestyle

A few days ago in my usual pre-bedtime Instagram browse, I saw a story that blogger Callie Thorpe had posted – It showed a ”plus-size” mannequin in the Nike store wearing a sports bra and some fitted leggings. Nike continuously amazes me with its latest ads and campaigns. Their ”Dream Crazier” ad last year brought me to tears. The press had twisted and turned Serena Williams outburst at an umpire and headlines everywhere were painted with the words ”unstable” ”hormonal” ”erratic”. I am a huge sports fan, almost every game I watch a male player shout at the ref or an opposition player, but that’s passion right? No headline here.

“If we show emotion, we’re called dramatic. If we want to play against men, we’re nuts. And if we dream of equal opportunity, we’re delusional. When we stand for something, we’re unhinged. When we’re too good, there’s something wrong with us. And if we get angry, we’re hysterical, irrational, or just being crazy…So if they want to call you crazy, fine. Show them what crazy can do.”

It got me. Serena Williams, Simone Biles, Alex Morgan… iconic sports stars all saying a big fuck you to a slew of double standards and all through the medium of what was yet another fantastic Nike campaign. So, when I looked at that photograph of the mannequin my first thought was *clap, clap, clap* Nike does it again.

Now here I am, just over 48 hours later reading an article published by The Telegraph entitled “Obese mannequins are selling women a dangerous lie” by journalist Tanya Gold.

“An immense, gargantuan, vast. She heaves with fat. She is, in every measure, obese, and she is not readying herself for a run in her shiny Nike gear. She is, more likely, pre-diabetic and on her way to a hip replacement.”

Read that. Read it again because I can guarantee if you were annoyed reading it the first time, you’ll be outraged after reading it the second time around.

Let me first make myself very clear. I am a UK size 10. Sometimes I love my figure and sometimes I hate it. I play sport, I love sport, I live for it in fact. Do you know what is the worst part of participating in sport or fitness for me? The clothes. The activewear that I only ever see on a minuscule model or mannequin. I pull that Lycra up over my sizeable arse and to put it frankly, I feel like utter crap every time. I see it squeezing me in all the areas I hate. I feel it pulling up or falling down when I’m running. I feel it tighten the hotter and sweatier I get. Each time, I dread that feeling. All that, and I’m a size 10. A so-called healthy weight.

I watch each Nike campaign and want nothing more than to get onto the netball court, to go for a run, to start a gym session. They empower me. The diversity of their campaigns. The focus on power, strength, and determination. Regardless of your race, creed, gender, AND weight. I look at that Nike mannequin and it is yet another stride toward our focus on who we are and not what we are. It is a big middle finger to sports clothing labels that don’t go above a size 12. It’s a big middle finger to everyone, who just like me, whether you are a size 4 or a 24, feels like absolute garbage anytime they put activewear on because we are only exposed to one image of what working out should look like.

Tanya Gold’s main argument seems to be that by being representative of a ”plus size” woman Nike are encouraging obesity and bad health. I imagine that Miss Gold has not expressed the same opinions when seeing mannequins in the brightly coloured windows of Topshop, Oxford Street – mannequin after mannequin adorned in beautiful, tiny clothes, no bigger than a size 4 at best. Did she express her concern with promoting unhealthy habits then? Did she spare a thought over the growing cases of eating disorders in young women in the UK? I doubt it.

Nike is a brand that is now synonymous for its indiscriminate campaigns and ads. This latest move to use ”plus-size” mannequins is not a promotion of bad health. I would be a fool if I were to say that there is no direct correlation between weight and health, that correlation, however, is not strictly reserved for those that are considered obese. Health is not something you see. You cannot simply look at a person and decide whether they are or are not healthy. A few years ago I embarked on an absolute absurd diet in order to look my best for my trip to Santorini. It didn’t verge on obsessive, it was obsessive. I lived for someone telling me how skinny I looked, it only motivated me to eat less and less. I’m not really sure now looking back what stopped that mentality but I wasn’t healthy. I was starving myself, I was struggling with my body image, I had a huge eczema flare up because I was starving my body of nutrition, but boy, did I look good in a bikini.

Nike’s use of this new size mannequin is a promotion of strength, determination, and power. It’s a nudge to all of us that have felt disgusting in gym gear because we don’t have abs. Its a little whisper in your ear that you shouldn’t give up on sport or exercise just because you don’t look like Miss Gym Bunny 2019. It’s a Welcome to Nike as you walk in their store entrance because you aren’t afraid of someone pointing and laughing at you being there.

Miss Gold’s article has taught me one thing, however. I don’t know what dress size she is, I don’t know what she looks like, I don’t actually know anything about her. I won’t judge her based on her dress size or her image. I will, however, judge her on her words and the discrimination, prejudice and discriminatory behavior she has today promoted. I can do that, that is my right, as a size 10, as a size 6, as a size 20. It doesn’t matter. Discrimination isn’t for just the attacked to defend, it’s for all of us to defend and I’m glad to see a global brand do just that.

In a world where we are all discussing mental health and self-care more and more each day, how can we deign to put body types into categories – Healthy or unhealthy? As if it is something that we can see just by checking our clothing labels. I know other people will look at me and say ”she’s a size 10, what has she got to worry about?” but yet I still get that sinking feeling when I go to pull on my sports bra for my run. I still dread going to the gym because of how self-conscious I feel. I still buy my activewear online because I can’t think of anything worse than going into a sports store and trying anything on. All of that has to change. Sport is for us all, so is health, so is fitness.

So, Fuck you Tanya Gold. I’ll leave you with this.

Summer of Street Food

Cardiff Eats, Food

I’m pretty sure some of the best meals of my life have been from street food vendors. Those blue crab samosas from a vendor in Barbados, Jerk pork cooked on corrugated sheeting in Jamaica, Gyros from a small truck in Santorini. There is just something about street food that sets my world on fire (and usually my mouth because I’m too greedy to wait for it to cool down) but this summer there’s no need to jet off to an exotic location. You can get your street food fix right here in sunny South Wales.

Whether you are more halloumi fries or roti wraps there are so many options this summer for you to indulge in. Here are a few of my faves and a few tips to get you through the street food season.

Vendor recommendations:

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The Bearded Taco

I just want to know how I haven’t tried these tacos up until a few weeks ago. Seriously, lust-worthy. With both Mexican and American influences The Bearded Taco team, Sian and Jake, seriously know what’s up when it comes to good quality street food.

Recommended: Their Let’s Avo Cwtch taco really is the talk of the town. Gin & tonic tempura avocado with lemon & agave slaw, vegan chipotle aioli, and fresh coriander.

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Assembelly

In a sea of wraps, pizzas and burgers, Assembelly stands out of your usual street food crowd with its array of local, seasonal produce and beautifully fresh seafood. Toby Bradley-Watson is the brains behind the brand and he has more than a few strings on his cooking prowess bow – namely a stint at Rick Stein’s flagship restaurant in Padstow. This is a company who take their seasonal ethos seriously so don’t expect to see the same items popping up time after time. One thing I can assure you is no matter what the menu, the food is out of this world.

Recommended: If you are lucky enough to get your hands on this then go for the award-winning bacon & scallop roll.

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The Beefy Boys

I almost feel like a con artist listing this burger aficionado because there is no way that you don’t know about them already. Four amateur grillers turn grill masters. The Beefy Boys are firmly on the Worlds burger scene after coming second at the World Food Championships in Las Vegas and there is no sign of that changing anytime soon. Their burgers are 100% Hereford beef and served medium rare. No binding agent here, they are 100% beef.

Recommended: The Chipotle Boy. Served on their semi-brioche bun with a smokey and creamy chipotle sauce, bacon, Swiss cheese, American cheese, lettuce, onions and pickles.

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Events/Pop-ups:

Academy Espresso

The uber cool coffee bar situated in The Pumphouse, Barry serves up way more than lattes and a few cocktails, they also play host to the hottest street food vendors in South Wales. Most weekends you will find the likes of Puckin Poutine, Flour’d Up and Dirty Bird on their doorstep providing the perfect snacks to their ever-changing drinks menu. Keep a close eye on their Instagram page for their monthly street food line ups and any one-off special – My fave to date? Cereal cocktails!!

Cardiff International Food & Drink Festival

This one doesn’t really need much introduction. The hugely popular Cardiff International Food and Drink festival is scheduled this year for July 5th-7th. It’s an array of local, national and international produce that simply cannot fail to impress. This event gets insanely busy so try not to get there at peak times, i.e. lunchtime or early evening. If you are lucky, find a table in Roald Dahl Plass and sit and enjoy your street food with a cold beer and lots of free music & entertainment.

St Canna’s

I think probably my favourite place in Cardiff right now. James at St Cannas knows how to run a business, every month this little micropub has a fantastic line up of mini events. GoT screenings, Open mic nights, Theme evenings (Recently: Star Wars and a Eurovision night!!!!) and most importantly, Street food pop-ups from all of our regional favourites. Keep an eye on their Instagram page for confirmed dates.

Pembrokeshire/Aberystwyth Food Festival

Swansea Street Food Festival may now be in the past but there are still two more local festivals to look forward to. Pembrokeshire, 14th-16th June, and Aberystwyth, 19th-21st July. Both events are run by the fantastic team at Street Food Warehouse so it’s safe to say they will be events not to be missed! These festivals are a great opportunity to sample lots of regional food trucks in one day. Don’t show up with a full stomach!

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Tips:

  1. Don’t be a fool, Don’t eat a huge meal before you arrive. Grab a banana en route so that you can try out a few different street food dishes without vomming in your car on the way back home. If not, you will arrive stuffed after your greasy fry up and have total food envy once you see the incredible, colourful tacos your mate has just ordered that you now can’t enjoy because you’re too full from your foolish breakfast choice and a single soggy churro.
  2. Share. Convince your best mate/partner/dog to go halfsies with you on everything and try double the dishes! Note: Please don’t actually share with your dog, they don’t appreciate gourmet cheesecakes the same way humans do.
  3. Dress appropriately. I don’t mean cover up. If you want your cleavage on display whilst scoffing down a burger you do you, hun. Just don’t wear the tightest item of clothing you have and then feel uncomfortable all afternoon when you have a food pot pressing into your jeans button. Wear something loose and let your belly do its thang.

 

Happy Eating Loves ♥

Disclaimer: I hold no responsibility for weight gained or money spent on delicious snacks.

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