There’s only one reason we should be talking about Jelena Dokic right now

Jelena Dokic is doing a world-class job of calling out fat-phobic slurs. And what a waste of her precious time it is.

Sure, we’ve come a long way in the fight for body diversity in media, but if you think we’re living in a body positive, post-fat-phobic world, I would invite you to draw your attention to any woman in media or entertainment living in a plus-sized body.

Returning serve: Jelena Dokic is at the very top of her game as a tennis commentator. Credit:Nine News

Dokic does a fantastic job of anything she attempts. She’s a woman at the top of her game. Her retirement from professional tennis only marked the start of a truly impressive career as a coach and author. She’s now gracefully managed a transition into commentary, yet another highly competitive field. And her accomplishments are made all the more extraordinary when you think about what she has had to overcome as a survivor of domestic abuse at the hands of her father and former coach, Damir Dokic. So why are we demanding that this remarkable woman spend her valuable time publicly discussing her body?

The comments Dokic has received as a result of her work at the Australian Open are as cruel as they come. They also reveal a blind devotion many of us seem to hold to two harmful myths about women’s bodies. The first being that they shouldn’t change under any circumstances, and the second, that weight gain is inherently a bad thing.

Women have learnt to excuse and apologise for the space we take up. And the kind of abuse hurled at those in the public eye, who deign to exist in a bigger body, works as a warning to the rest of us – “step out of line, and you’re next!”


Artist Lizzo is, unequivocally, one of the most talented musicians of our time. And yet, she’s constantly being dragged into conversations about her body. Our own Magda Szubanski has also experienced atrocious treatment from online trolls while just trying to do her job. Like Dokic, these women are forced to become advocates, railing up against vicious, and often terrifying threats to their safety and sense of self.

And for what? Because we live in a world that seems hell-bent on the belief that a woman’s body should never change, and if it does get bigger, that this is almost certainly a bad thing.

I’m an eating disorder survivor with two autoimmune diseases that both cause rapid weight-loss during flare-ups. And while I may be only a single case study, I’m representative of just a few of the many reasons why weight gain is, quite often, something to be celebrated. When my body drops weight, it’s because I’m sick. When it’s bigger, I’m well.

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