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Free Speech: Body Beautiful Special

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James Emtage James Emtage | 13:32 UK time, Tuesday, 27 November 2012


BBC Three Body Image Season

Unless you’ve been hiding under a body shaped rock lately, you will have noticed that this month on BBC Three is all about the Body Beautiful.

The past ten days have seen a brave bunch of body-conscious people put their life in front of the lens as they reveal all about their bodies and their bits.

From young people wanting to go under the knife, to guys wanting want to bulk up, the season has raised a lot of questions around today’s obsessive body image culture.  And in the spirit of Free Speech, for every question raised there’s a good debate to be had.

Cue the Free Speech Body Beautiful Special, live from Newcastle on Tuesday 27th November at 8pm.

Over the hour we’ll be focusing on the following big issues:

- Cosmetic surgery and its global popularity
- Obesity and its health and social consequences
- Body image issues from a man’s perspective
- The media and its role in creating the body beautiful image

Getting the debate going is a top notch panel of industry experts who all have specific knowledge around the issues being discussed. Introducing:

Panellist - Rosi   Prescott

Rosi Prescott: Head of the YMCA and was part of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image.



Panellist -   Venice Fulton

Venice A. Fulton: personal trainer, dietician, and author of this year’s controversial diet book Six Weeks To OMG: Get Skinnier Than All Your Friends.




Panellist   - Sabrina Mahfouz

Sabrina Mahfouz: a poet, playwright and feminist with a history of campaigning against Page 3.



Panellist -   Grace Woodward

Grace Woodward: a fashion stylist, TV presenter and reality TV judge known for her no-nonsense comments and outspoken opinions on beauty and fashion.



Of course, there’s another side to this debate: you guys. Free Speech is the only show that doesn’t just let you shout at the TV, it lets you change it. Using the Twitter controlled Power Bar you can tell the panellists exactly what you think of their points, right as they’re making them. Just use the following hashtags to say whether you AGREE (#YesName) or DISAGREE (#NoName) with them:

Rosi: #YesRosi to agree and #NoRosi to disagree
Venice: #YesVenice to agree and #NoVenice to disagree
Sabrina: #YesSabrina to agree and #NoSabrina to disagree
Grace: #YesGrace to agree and #NoGrace to disagree

It's as simple as that.

Free Speech Power   Bar

Finally, bringing your debate at home into the heart of the Free Speech zone is our Social Media Jockey Sam Naz. She’ll be injecting your points from Facebook, Twitter and this blog in to the spotlight for the panel and audience to mull over. But, you’ve got to make those points first. 

So, to kick the debate off let’s ask you all this question:

Should cosmetic surgery be banned?

Over to you...


Related links:
BBC Three’s Body Beautiful Season page



  • Comment number 1.

    This generalisations, fruit of all the -isms out there (I am looking at you, feminists) are what fuels insecurities in society. The only people that "feel pressured" are does who feel insecure and inferior. There is a difference between being yourself, and trying to be someone else.

  • Comment number 2.

    You cannot ban cosmetic surgery. It doesn't matter if you agree with it or not, you can't take away someone's choice when it has no affect on your life. Who cares if a girl wants a nose job? Does it affect you in any way shape or form? No, then let them, it's their life not yours. I don't particularly agree with it but it's not my life, so it doesn't really matter how i feel about someone else's plastic surgery choices. However it shouldn't be on the NHS because the tax payer shouldn't be paying for someone's unnecessary plastic surgery. By unnecessary I mean it isn't life saving surgery i.e. burn marks etc.

  • Comment number 3.

    Dieting and losing weight is a "symptom" of anorexia - a psychiatric condition that has a myriad of causes. Dieting, in itself, does not result in anorexia.

  • Comment number 4.

    I'm 31 and have suffered from low self esteem for over half my life. I took the decision to have my breasts enlarged as I thought this would make me more confident, and it did to a certain extent. Unfortunately I then stated to pick on and control my weight and have done for about ten years and I have never been happy. Its only more recently when I've met my current boyfreind that I have started to put back into practice what I learnt in CBT many years ago (because he has made me understand how silly this all is and given me my confidence back) that I realise how much time and energy I've wasted all these years being unhappy when I have always been a size 10 or 12! Its crazy how our minds work and I think they key is to look at how this can be tackled- CBT works but you need to put as much effort into it as people might do now on looks & diet!
    My boyfreind has taught me that being beautiful is being happy and content inside which then really shows on the outside (who like to look at a miserable person?).

  • Comment number 5.

    Everyone should read Venice's book! From working on hospital wards as a Physiotherapist, obesity is a MASSIVE problem and on a rise! We need more staff and bigger equipment and manual handling the obese patient out of bed is extremely difficult for all involved! The cost of these patients to the NHS and all public services is an outrage! We need to get these big models off the telly and off the billboards, people need to control their own weight and take responsibility for it!

  • Comment number 6.

    The food manufacturers are ,more than any one else,to blame for obesity and eating disorders in our society . Currently food is generally manufactured , packaged and marketed with a view to making us buy more than we need and therefore eat more than we need, and to cater for the nations sugar addiction.

  • Comment number 7.

    I think we have a free ticket in life to change any part of our body or use straighteners we are who we are and we shouldn't change that for anyone who thinks different

  • Comment number 8.

    Since when has being a gay man been about being feminine and acting like women?? Ie high pitched voices

  • Comment number 9.

    Regulation needs to be done for a good reason with specific aims in mind. Knee-jerk regulation to promote health will be ineffective. Regulation will have loopholes, people will get away around it, and even then, it won't solve deep-rooted cultural issues. The fix isn't a simple one, but we need to think what the role of the regulation will be, and not an aim as vague and unquantifiable as "to make people healther".

  • Comment number 10.

    Doesn't the buck stop at the fashion designers themselves? Why do they always design clothes that only fit flat chested, skinny size 0 women?

  • Comment number 11.

    The thing is, if women feel self-conscious and want to change - who's fault is that? It's the media; always trying to make women feel insecure. It's also their choice of friends and celebrities. But I think banning it is stupid; women have to understand the consequences of what they do! They have to learn from their mistakes. On the other hand, every woman has the right to feel beautiful; so if plastic surgery is the best way then fine. But no-one should ever make choices for any woman!

  • Comment number 12.

    Sorry but I completely agree with the whole issue with cosmetic surgery and why it is wrong because you are creating and manipulating a desired image for yourself which does suggest you are fake. Yes, the surgery should be kept for medical purposes as it can save their life and make them feel better about the way they look. I do think it is ridiculous when people go too far with cosmetic surgery. But the point I am getting to is why should we care what those particular individuals do with themselves? Everyone has a choice. If someone wants to choose to change the way they look, be fake etc who cares? As long as their not affecting any one else why should it matter. Because they will suffer the consequences.

    Looks do matter, looking good does matter but you can do it in a natural way. If you want your tits tucked up or a bit of botox or a bit of tummy tucking why not? But when people go to far it just looks ridiculous and it shows when people go too far with cosmetic surgery. There is a limit to it. People do feel better looking attractive but if you have a horrid personality then your no good.

    Everyone is free to do what they want with themselves. Everyone should be happy with their own self and the way you look. Think positive and do what you want to be happy.

  • Comment number 13.

    I have been told I am anorexic by the doctor on a few occasions but I don't starve myself! I eat healthy and I am a dancer! I am just a naturally skinny person but I get mocked and bullied for being so skinny! You get a label as fat or skinny but as long as your healthy what does it matter ?

  • Comment number 14.

    Fair enough let bigger people wear some clothes but I don't want to see a fat person wearing leggings and a tight top, some looks don't look right on some people! If a celebrity was to put on weight the media would suddenly slate them and make them feel rubbish which then makes us feel the same!

  • Comment number 15.

    And I would just like to point out that the presenters on this show all have there hair done and make up on, so how can you talk about something and tell people not to use it when your there looking perfect on tv!

  • Comment number 16.

    Just missed your programme but i wanted to send this comment,
    I am 37 and classed as morbidly obese.
    From when i was very little i was actually a normal weight (well whats classed as normal)
    I started gaining weight when my over treating grandmother kept giving me sweets as treats, up until that point my treats were fruit and i'd never had sweets or chocolate or even crisps. I used to love munching on a carrot.
    Combined with this sweet point was school and other children picking on me, yet i point out i was still at 'normal' weight for my age and height etc.
    After getting addicted to sweets and being picked on for some time, my weight just kept creeping up gradually all the time every year of my life, age 11 (11 stone), age 12 (12 stone), need i say age 30 - yes i was 30 stone.
    My highest weight got to a massive 34 nearly 35 stone at around yes the same age.
    I have been on different diets from the age of 13, as i looked fat at 13 stone when i was 13.
    Diets included, protein diet, low calorie, carb diet, any diet i could try i did, but none worked.
    I now get to the point i want everyone to hear ringing in their heads,

    I used to get glares and even adults picking on me for my size and god forbid i may be somewhere and eating something, i'd get rude comments as though i was eating non stop or stuffing my face or gorging, even if i was eating a salad and i hadn't eaten another morsel all day, this got me scared to eat.

    My eating went to eating once a day on a side plate size plate, which could be just sweetcorn, or tomatoes on toast or anything but very small.
    My weight still went up.

    The only thing that has helped me, is my current husband (the love of my life).
    He got me eating, and i mean eating like i'd never eaten before.
    Eating breakfasts, lunches, even snacks, fried foods (that i tried to avoid), mac donalds ( the cardinal sin, i thought if you want to loose weight).

    My weight started coming down.
    Wow, i was so shocked.

    I eat now, but am still so afraid to eat in front of people (as i still get nasty comments, even abuse and i've had people be violent towards me because of my weight) so i eat takeaways, drive throughs, pre packed meals, but various food prepared in various ways.
    In one year i lost 3 stone, it came off steady, just as it had crept on, so i'm hoping it will stay off, as it's not a fad diet.

    I am now 37 and 27 stone, but my point is fat people aren't necessarily fat because they stuff their face, it may be because they don't eat properly, i don't mean quantity, i mean regularity and times (like not after 8pm, eat something ten minutes after you get up, to kick start your metabolism) all things i never knew till now.
    And i can honestly say, the more i eat, the more weight i loose.

    People need to just stop being judgemental over appearance big or small, fat or thin, short or tall, name brand clothes or rags.
    None of these things make the person, you really have to see the person within and give that person a chance.
    The most brilliant, nice, people you want to know are behind a deformed face, fat body, goofy teeth, bottle bottom glasses etc.
    People just don't make an effort now, they take the easy short route on nearly everything, and like i proved with all the quick fix diets i tried, the longer slower option is actually the one that works.

    I hope this story gets to many to read and to some small minded people, to maybe change some views, but when you read this, read again and you will hear through the words used, the fat girl still screaming to be cared for and the growing thinner girl shouting for joy at loosing weight but her tears that say "but i'm still that same girl deep down"

    Thankyou xxxx

  • Comment number 17.

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