Back in June I had an email from Rosie Mullender, the Senior Features Writer for Cosmopolitan Magazine. She was writing a report on self-injury and wanted to know if FirstSigns could help her find a female in her 20s or 30s (the magazine’s target audience) who relied on self-injury. The article was to focus on the pressures on women today to be perfect and have everything.
Of course FirstSigns agreed to help (we always do!) and we sent out a media request straight away. We had a good response and Rosie came back to me to say she would be interviewing one of our members, Izzy, who had kindly volunteered. Rosie also wanted to interview me to get a feel for what FirstSigns does and to chat about our views on self-injury.
Rosie and I had a long chat and discussed many different areas surrounding self-injury, but considering the main focus of the article, I’m not surprised by the quote Rosie chose to publish. I feel the article clearly demonstrates the pressures people can face when they have such very high expectations of themselves, and how that pressure can lead to self-injury.
At FirstSigns we know that perfectionism and the pressure to maintain impossibly high standards is immense, and as nobody is perfect then failure is inevitable. Self-injury can release some of that pressure and provide a sense of relief.
There might be some who would criticise the article for focusing on women, for focusing on only one reason for self-injury, and for predictably printing a picture of Amy Winehouse(!) But although at FirstSigns we see the bigger picture on a daily basis, the important thing is that self-injury is being talked about; and in one of the glossies too!
Yes, we know that there are likely as many men who self-injure as women; we know that there are endless reasons why a person might turn to self-injury in order to cope, and we know that statistics can be questionable. But not so long ago the only media coverage of self-injury was in the tabloids and equivalent magazines, and it almost always focused on teenagers. And before that it was non-existent.
There’s nothing wrong with an article focusing on one area of self-injury, especially one that’s been frequently ignored in the past. So I for one am very proud to be quoted, and for FirstSigns’ web address to be printed, in a mature and awareness raising article, published in a quality magazine. Who knows, maybe it will encourage those male magazines to think about how many of their readers might be hurting themselves too.
Thank you to Rosie for taking the time to talk to FirstSigns and to our member Izzy for volunteering.
If you’d like to read the article you can find it on pages 85 / 86 of the September issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine (out today), and maybe you’d like to share your own thoughts and experiences with us. Your comments are always welcome.
Wedge founded our organisation over seven years ago; and we really are changing the world :)
Listen to Wedge talk about our new blog and our appearance in Cosmo.