Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Wellness > Mental Health

#HCAwarenessWeek: Prove Them Wrong – Talent Comes in all Sizes

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at WVU chapter.

“You don’t have to be skinny to be beautiful,” this seems to be a commonly expressed phrase nowadays, and many people are living by it; however, this positive energy does not make criticism any easier to handle. It’s true: people should know not to judge others by their appearance, but unfortunately, this just isn’t the case, because negative comments continue to surface daily, especially in the world of social media.

No one is safe from judgmental comment–even Olympic athletes. These Individuals, who are considered the fittest and most talented, face hurtful critiques, and sometimes they are the ones who receive the harshest critiques of us all. According to the National Post, Leisel Jones, an Australian swimmer who competed in four Olympic games, was called out for looking “heavier” before her meet in the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The Daily Mail states Jones was “fat-shamed” on the cover page of an Australian newspaper. The article’s content suggested she was too out of shape to perform up to standards. The same newspaper published pictures of Jones, encouraging readers to judge her body in a poll, “asking if they thought she was fit enough to compete.”

Seeing your body criticized publicly and hearing hurtful comments like this would damage anyone’s self-esteem. In response, Jones did the most important thing anyone could do in today’s hypercritical environment; she proved the critics wrong.

Jones was hurt, but according to the National Post, she proudly clapped back with this statement, “I swim in the pool, I don’t swim in the papers”. Jones had competed in this sport for 12 years, so nothing catches her off guard anymore. She explained it was “pretty hurtful to have comments like that coming from someone from my own country.”

Jones explains further that these comments put her under pressure and forced her to show off what she has the talent to do.

Jones expressed her thanks to “the journalist who decided to write not-so-nice comments about me because you’ve never made me feel so loved in my life,” according to the National Post.

Although massive social change has come within the past decades, people continue to judge the value and abilities of an individual on appearance, and it is difficult to brush it off. If you feel insecure, no matter if it stems from someone else’s comments or your own standards, it is important to remember there are many people going through the same thing—even Olympic athletes. So, talk it out, write it out, do anything you can to relieve the stress, because with a determined mindset, anyone can be proven wrong.


Mary Madeline is a junior at West Virginia University majoring in advertising and minoring in interactive design for media. She works for the university's Arts and Entertainment department as an Artist Services Intern. Mary Madeline enjoys reading, creating and is especially in love with Morgantown's chilly fall weather.
Her Campus at West Virginia University