Yesterday evening's Love Island: Aftersun was the gift that kept on giving with Georgia Steel finally revealing why she left the group’s WhatsApp group, the so-thick-you-could-slice-it tension between Samira and Frankie, as well as Eamonn Holmes popping his head in to say hello to his biggest fan Laura Anderson. However right before the Love Island cast were reunited, a pretty powerful Megan Barton Hanson Instagram post caught my eye.
Megan took to social media to leave an important, lengthy message about the “vilification of women in the media” and called for it to finally end. Speaking from experience, the former glamour model has been criticised for everything from her choice to have plastic surgery, her former job as a stripper and the Love Island slut-shaming fallout after she asked her partner Wes if she was “wife material” on the show.
The former Love Island contestant wrote, “Today I really feel that I need to address some of the stories out there about me on behalf of women in general. I support all women, regardless of the choices they make about what they do with their bodies. My dad always told me unless you’ve walked in someone’s shoes then don't judge them.”
She could be referring to numerous stories around her plastic surgery, where countless outlets have speculated about how much she has spent on cosmetic procedures. Photos of her allegedly pre-op have also been making the rounds on Twitter, with one accompanied by the caption which reads “Petition to get this picture of Megan sent by pigeon mail to all the boys in the villa”. (The tweet has since been removed, but a screenshot can be viewed here.)
The negative obsession with Megan’s plastic surgery is an utterly toxic and also a pretty insidious one, as it seems to champion this idea that her operations are somehow shameful because she seems to be lacking in self-love or isn’t body-positive. That in itself is a strange spiral to fall into and is basically hypocritical IMHO, as plastic surgery is a choice that many people take as a first step on that journey.
Those who believe that Megan is fake or less deserving of respect because she has chosen to change her appearance are doing more damage than good to the body positive movement. Body positivity is about celebrating bodies of all types and Megan’s just happens to be one of them.
The circulation of old photos of her before surgery also feels voyeuristic and sexist, like an attempt to tear apart a woman on the path to living her life in a way that makes her happy and is authentic to her. The Megan we see today is the person she has chosen to become, and that is something we should all accept and support.
Megan continued, “It’s 2018 and it’s time we stopped allowing the vilification of women in the media. Thank you to all of the amazing women that have and continue to follow my journey. Your messages of support mean so much to me. I won’t allow stories like these to stop me from be a free thinking, confident, independent young woman striving to make a better life for myself and my family.”
The caption accompanied an image of a quote by Madeleine Albright, the first ever female US Secretary of State, which read, “It took me a long time to develop my voice and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.”
It’s a pretty apt quote for the situation, as it seems like a lot of people have been making major assumptions about why Megan chose to have plastic surgery, projecting their own opinions about it and shouting over her. In reality, these are choices that Megan made herself as a “free thinking, confident, independent young woman” and they should be accepted as a mature adult decision that we don’t really need to fixate on.
She said herself to Cosmopolitan, “I don’t think [plastic surgery] should be a massive negative thing. If you want to do something to make you feel more comfortable and you can do it, then why not? I didn’t take these decisions trying to be a role model. I did it for me. I’m not ashamed of it. I’ve done what I’ve done because it made me feel comfortable."
Speak your truth, girl. I'm here for you 100%.