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If you are a regular follower of mine, you will be aware that I am a big supporter of the Duchess of Cambridge. I love her fashion, regularly purchase some wonderful British products that she has been associated with, such as Emma Bridgewater and Jo Malone, that I would not have heard of without her association and I like to think that I support her causes and work. Of course, I have heard of the Heads Together campaign, when the surprise video came out announcing that it was this year’s partnership charity with the London marathon I watched it, I loved the informality of the video and rushed to the J Crew website to buy my own breton sweater as Kate had worn in it. I knew the campaign had something to do with mental health. For the next twelve months, I eagerly awaited each appearance associated with the campaign by the Royals. However, it was not until well after the marathon had actually commenced that I had a real understanding of what the campaign was actually about. For today’s post, I am going to be taking a much closer look at the campaign and share my own personal #itsoktosay
Whilst I have come a bit late to party on this important campaign, the hard work that William, Kate and Harry have done in promoting the cause for the last year will be wasted if we all move onto the next issue and stopped having the conversation!
The Heads Together Campaign is the biggest project that Kate has tackled so far. She has spent the last year, along with Princes William and Harry spearheading the campaign to end the stigma surrounding mental health. The campaign brought together key charities from the trios work in areas such as homelessness, veterans and addiction, such as place2be, the Anna Freud center and contact.
The aim of the campaign was to change the national conversation on mental health and well being so we could all feel confident speaking up if we had any issues, without the fear of being stigmatised by admitting we had problems. Through a video made for the campaign and William and Kate’s recent radio interview with BBC1, we have had an unusually personal glimpse into the lives of Royals with Kate admitting she had a difficult time adjusting after the birth of Prince George and William and Harry opening up about the death of their mother, Princess Diana and how, despite the close relationship between the two, they did not talk to each other or support each other enough.
The #itsoktosay was created as a way for people to join in on the conversation surrounding mental health, by either sharing the videos and press releases from the Heads Together campaign or by encouraging their friends to reach out if they had issues or to use it reach out to others with their own issues when they weren’t sure how to start the conversation.
Which brings me to an important issue I would like to discuss which is online bullying. I don’t think there has been any replikater who has posted pictures of themselves in a replikate outfit who at one time or the other has not been targeted by trolls who want to criticise the person’s weight, their lack of own personal style or chastise them for what they see as a frivolous use of money.
At least twice a week I find myself targeted by online trolls who want to tell me I’m fat or would need to spend a million dollars on plastic surgery to come close to looking like Kate. Even the back handed compliment has come up a few times such as ‘you could be so pretty if you lost weight so why don’t you’. For the record, I know that I am overweight and should lose weight for health reasons, I have a long history of unhealthy yo yo dieting. I also don’t believe I look like Kate but I am highly influenced by her style and wearing an outfit, whether inspired by or directly copied from her gives me a confidence boost and makes me feel special and pretty so what’s the harm in that? I have turned down multiple online media opportunities in the past as I know the criticism will be mainly around my weight. I think its sad that I have let these online bullies influence my decisions in this way for what should be happy and exciting moments.
Whilst I am sure there are people who will feel that I have brought this criticism onto myself by posting a picture of myself side by side with Kate, it is the only way that a lot of us can reach out to find other replikaters or people who share our greater Royal obsession as I can’t think of many who have family and friends outside of the online community who support, encourage and understand our obsessions. Posting our replikates is a way to connect with others so we don’t feel alone, another important aspect in promoting good mental health.
I have also been criticised by one of the major Kate accounts for deleting derogatory comments and blocking the people who leave them. If someone came to your front door right now and started to call you fat or make other derogatory comments, what would you do? You wouldn’t invite them into your home, you would ask them to leave and if they didn’t you’d most likely feel threatened enough that you would call the police. Online bullying is such a problem as there is no escape from it, you essentially invite every bully into your home, your own private space, so I don’t feel there is any harm with deleting or blocking the people who are leaving personal and degrading comments. If you find yourself the target, you don’t want to constantly be seeing the degrading comment or giving that person the opportunity to come back and try to make you feel bad about yourself again so we should all encourage and support each other to block the culprits and even report people for their online bullying behavior.
The bullying has at times been so bad that I have considered shutting down both my blog and Instagram accounts and more than once I have been upset enough that I have stress eaten excessive amounts of sugar, which isn’t helping the weight issue the trolls take so much pleasure in pointing out that I need to do something about but on the flip side I have meet some great women who support and encourage each and inspire me to be completely myself. I would hate to think I wouldn’t be there to encourage or support a new Replikater who was going through the same issues as I had let the trolls intimidate me into shutting down my accounts or making them private. Please remember if you do find yourself a target in the future, the bullying says a lot more about the person making the comment then it does about you.
I have found this post quite difficult to write and I hope that by sharing the experience I have encouraged those going through similar issues to speak out and stand up for themselves and to start their own #itsoktosay conversation