Our body shape and size is nobody’s business

Ever since I first interviewed actor Pierce Brosnan for the Irish premiere of his third outing as fictional spy James Bond in ‘Die Another Day’, I’ve been a huge fan of his. I have to admit I quite literally made a show of myself by not just fan-girling and drooling all over the poor man, but, when he introduced himself and shook my hand, I actually forgot my name and the publication I was representing, and instead, shamelessly grinned like an idiot.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of the Bond franchise per se. I mean, yes, while I do like to indulge in the exotic, the extravagant and the decadent aspects of these movies, I tend to find the scripts to be mind-numbingly tedious, with the tongue-in-cheek humour ridiculously cheesy.

Mind you, none of these shortfalls were down to Brosnan himself, rather they’re the fault of the production company; nevertheless, given the way in which he recently hit back at trolls who mocked his wife’s weight, Pierce is not just one of my favourite interviewees, he’s also one of my favourite humans.

Let me explain: A social media post featuring a ‘throwback’ pic uploaded alongside a more recent image where the pair naturally look different, elicited a slew of remarks from morons who disgustingly ‘fat-shamed’ the beautiful Keely Shay-Smith, forcing husband Pierce to react.

I don’t know about you readers, but I certainly don’t look anything like I did three decades ago. And, given some of my dodgy hairstyle choices, (one of them a cringe-worthy home perm, another looked like I’d used the same hair stylist as Donald Trump), it’s fair to say I’m glad I’ve changed. I’m sure the ignorant clowns who made those disparaging remarks about mother-of-two Keely’s physical appearance don’t look as youthful as they did back in the ‘90s either, yet, in all of their sanctimonious glory, the cretins saw fit to comment. How rude. How hurtful. How dare they!

Who gave them permission to try and humiliate this woman, nay any woman, with their inappropriate, derogatory comments regarding her body size or shape?

Why is it anyone’s business what body shape we are? When did the aspect of our physical appearances, in fact, our supposed ‘ornamental worth’ not just become a phenomenon, but also evolve into a weapon of choice, used to psychologically batter us by those who clearly believe they’re paragons of perfection? And, why did Pierce Brosnan have to defend his wife’s physical attributes by posting the comment “Friends offered her surgery to reduce her weight. But I strongly love every curve of her body”.

Unfortunately folks, we’re now living in a body-conscious culture where sadly our physical appearances appear to override our personalities! Truth be known, by taking heed of individuals like  those thickos who criticised Keely Shay-Smith, we’re allowing ignoramuses to force us to live up to their ultimate body-shape standards. Not just that, we’re also empowering them to generate within our own heads a series of harmfully negative emotions regarding our self-worth. This is something which can, if allowed to fester, turn into feelings that could potentially lead those who’re vulnerable to experience some seriously negative health issues.

Body-shaming comes in many forms, and whether the terminology used is ‘fat’, ‘skinny’, ‘chunky’, ‘anorexic’, or ‘obese’, etc., the fact remains so long as  weight and body shape biases remain within Irish society, the crass comments and the derisory insults will continue.

Pierce, like any loving partner, became naturally protective when he witnessed the woman he loves becoming the target of vicious and hateful individuals, and fair play to him. He was, as we say in north Dublin, ‘havin’ none of it’ when she was criticised for being conventional as opposed to trying to turn herself into a surgically enhanced size zero Barbie doll.

While none of us, whatever our gender, should ever feel the need to have external validation in order to provide us with confidence and self-belief, nor should our partners ever feel forced into dignifying a hater’s comment with a response; I admire Pierce all the more for stepping up. By doing so, he has shown his unyielding devotion and passion and, more importantly, he’s put his wife, his queen, on a pedestal.

Those who’ve been on the receiving end of my tongue can confirm my ability to stand up for myself; however, if someone tries to body-shame me, I know that he-who-worships-the-very-ground-I’m-going-under will leap to my defence.


Tallaght: A nation grieves

The true horror of what occurred last Saturday night at the house on the Rossfield Estate, Tallaght in Dublin will no doubt unfold over the coming weeks.

It was while driving back to Roscommon from Dublin in the early hours of Sunday morning that I first became aware of the news-breaking incident, as it was reported across all radio stations.

Described by attending Gardaí as being ‘violent, challenging and traumatic’, the triple killings of Lisa Cash, 18, and her eight-year-old twin siblings Christy and Chelsea Cawley, have sent shockwaves not just through the capital, but right across the entire country. I’m sure readers will join me in sending sincere condolences to the bereaved family, friends and the community, which, I can tell you, is a close-knit one who will likely never be able to come to terms with this traumatic and tragic event.

I know this community quite well. For many years, myself and himself, as volunteers, ran the Dublin SPCA mobile veterinary clinic in the area, providing the good people with affordable veterinary attention, routine pet health checks, vaccinations and microchipping services, etc. I would also have delivered numerous training courses for the teachers and students of St Aidan’s Senior National School on the estate, and liaised and worked closely with members of the local Gardaí. In my line of work, I have also dealt quite a bit with their local Sinn Féin councillor Dermot Richardson; a lovely, proud community-spirited gentleman. I can tell you it was not just a pleasure to work closely with these locals, it was also a joy; even if, (I won’t lie), on occasion, it also proved to be pretty demanding.

However, knowing these people and the area as I do, I would imagine the pain they’re feeling will be insurmountable. It is going to take a very, very long time before any of them can process – never mind come to terms with – what happened to these three beautiful and much-adored siblings.

The sense of grief, loss, numbness, emptiness and pain the children’s mother will be experiencing must surely be present in every single beat of her poor tortured heart. I imagine it’s the type of anguish that can never be described by words alone. However, perhaps this poignant quote from writer Ernest Hemingway might come close to gently touching upon it:

  ‘I didn’t want to kiss you goodbye – that was the trouble – I wanted to kiss you good night – and there’s a lot of difference’.

May the gentle and beautiful souls of Lisa, Christy and Chelsea rest in peace.


Dr Russell’s CervicalCheck comments were callous

According to the Irish Times, the head of CervicalCheck, Dr Nóirín Russell has ‘apologised’ for the ‘inconsiderate and hurtful’ remarks she made two years ago about women making ‘claims against the service’.

According to excerpts from a transcript of a conversation she had with Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín, (published by The Sunday Times), Dr Russell, callously, (in my opinion) claimed that some women affected by the screening scandal ‘know in their heart and soul that they haven’t been wronged’. In addition, (according to the report), she also insinuated that some women were hoping ‘they might get some money’ by using the tribunal’s process which was set up in 2020 to provide an alternative to court proceedings. How callous! I mean what was this woman implying? Was she saying these unfortunate women – traumatised by the CervicalCheck scandal and now re-traumatised by her comments – were effectively holding the State by the ankles, and shaking it for loose change?

Given these alleged remarks, it’s my opinion Doctor Russell is most definitely not an advocate for women’s healthcare; therefore, she should suffer the consequences of her disgusting remarks and immediately resign her position.