'Body shaming causes mental health problems', says Irish plus-size model Rachel Murphy
Plus-size model Rachel Murphy is encouraging Dublin women to be "proud" of their bodies ahead of a fashion show in which she is taking part as a move against "fat shaming".
Rachel (28), from Clondalkin, is a size 18 to 20 and feels that many women are suffering in silence about fears around their body image.
She and a host of plus-size models are set to take part in the Live Out Loud charity fashion show on June 25 in Waterford city, to highlight mental health concerns in plus-size women.
"I've had friends who have been through depression and taken their lives, and body shaming causes mental health problems," said Rachel.
"Women are affected through social media because of all these images of so-called perfect women.
"Some men also throw comments at women on nights out: that they shouldn't be wearing that because they're too big.
"It's really damaging to some women and it is not OK."
The fashion show is being organised for the Live Out Loud Charity, which raises awareness about depression and suicide.
Body shaming is just another form of bullying that can lead to major issues.
Luckily Rachel, who is also a third-year veterinary student at UCD, has the confidence to walk tall and ignore the negative comments she receives.
#earlymornings made better by getting some shots back Photo by Mark Leddy. #mua Katelyn O'Reilly #celticcurves...Posted by Rachel Murphy - Curvy/Plus Size Model on Friday, February 24, 2017
"Growing up as a teenager, skinny teenage boys would throw comments at me and I remember once a girl asked if I was pregnant," she said.
"There's still so much to do to make women feel comfortable with their body image in Ireland.
"Most shops don't even stock plus sizes and, when you try a size that's meant to fit you, it still doesn't.
"My friend is in the States at the moment and she said clothes fit her in every shop.
"Here, clothes are made for mannequins and most women have lumps and bumps and men should love them for it."
Early mornings #upandatem #bbcream #lashes #browsonfleek #girlswithpiercings #modelscout #m1curvescout #curvygirl #tiredeyesPosted by Rachel Murphy - Curvy/Plus Size Model on Monday, February 6, 2017
Rachel says she has always dressed to show off her body and doesn't care about the 10pc of negative comments she receives.
"I never had a problem dating and I always turned heads when I went on nights out," she said. "I want to instil that confidence in my daughter too."
Rachel's daughter Talia (5) is already following in mum's modelling footsteps.
"She's signed to Assets [Model Agency] and my attitude is, if she wants to do it, then fine, give it a go, but I'll only let her do what she's happy doing," said Rachel.
"She looks just like me when I was her age and her teachers even say she's the image of me.
"I will always encourage her to be the best she can be and life is short, so it's worth giving it a shot."
Log on to eventbrite.com for information on the fashion show.