TRYING to shield your child from toxic body image messages is an almost impossible task. I didn’t realise how obsessed our society is with fatness and thinness until I became a mum.

When I was younger, I don’t remember ever really noticing those bits in children’s films where the characters poke fun at the larger child for his size. I don’t recall the classic children’s books that I loved being so full of ridicule and scorn towards bodies and faces that were anything other than thin and pretty. I don’t remember when I took the beliefs that adults pushed on me and internalised them until they became my own.

But I do remember being younger than my daughter is now and feeling sad about my squishy tummy. I remember being older than she is now and viewing my developing body with something close to hate.

And I remember all the years that came after – an early adulthood peppered with silly diets and negative thoughts about the body that was mine but never seemed good enough.

READ MORE: Kirsty Strickland: Spiking reports are yet another reminder of dangers posed to women

Ironically, it wasn’t until having my daughter – when my body grew, changed, scarred and sagged – that I learned to appreciate it for what it is. Love might be stretching it a bit, but I’m certainly very fond of it now.

I was determined that I wouldn’t pass my body worries on to her. So she’s never heard me criticise any part of myself, even in a jokey way. She doesn’t know what a diet is. Food can be nourishing, tasty and warming but in our house it’s never described as “bad” or “naughty”.

But what we teach our children about their beautiful bodies and our own is only half the battle. Body shaming and fatphobia are rife across all areas of society and media and entertainment that is geared towards children is no exception.

I was angered, though sadly not surprised, to read about Strictly Come Dancing star Tilly Ramsay’s recent experience with body shaming.

During his regular radio show, LBC’s Steve Allen said of the 19-year-old TV presenter: “I’m bored of her already.

"She’s a chubby little thing isn’t she? Have you noticed? Probably her dad’s cooking I should imagine.”

Steve Allen is 67 years old. I won’t describe his own physical appearance and where it sits on the conventional beauty scale because it’s not relevant.

We don’t need a tiresome debate about whether those who appear on shows like Strictly Come Dancing are fair game for commentary about their appearance or weight.

We shouldn’t decide whether it’s appropriate to make comments about a young woman’s body based on how rich her dad is or how used to it she should be by now.

Targeting a young woman in this way is cruel. Her body is none of Allen’s business. She doesn’t need his opinion on it because it doesn’t belong to him. The fact that her body is draped in sequins and dances across our screens on a Saturday night doesn’t provide a get-out on the above.

In a statement, Ramsay said she tries not to read negative comments but that Allen’s remarks were “a step too far”. She said: “Steve, please feel free [to] voice your opinions, however I draw the line at commenting on my appearance. It’s such a shame that someone is trying to make such a positive experience negative.

“This isn’t the first and definitely won’t be the last comment made about my appearance and I accept that and I’m learning to accept myself. But please remember that words can hurt. And at the end of the day I am only 19 and I’m so grateful for all the amazing opportunities I have been able to take part in.

“And I understand that being in the public eye obviously comes with its own repercussions and I’ve been aware of this from a young age. However, I won’t tolerate people who think it’s OK to publicly comment and scrutinise anyone’s weight and appearance.”

Good on her. At 19, I don’t think I would have had the necessary grit and eloquence to respond in the way she did.

READ MORE: Scottish social fund aims to help get minority ethnic women in work

Ramsay is a beautiful and talented young woman. I’m glad that her journey to self-acceptance seems to be progressing much quicker than it does for many others.

Since the broadcast, there have been calls for Allen to either resign or be sacked. Thus far, LBC is said to be sticking by him.

This isn’t the first time he has used his platform to issue negative assessments of a woman’s appearance. Whether he remains on air or not, you have to hope it’s the last.

Whether a woman is walking down the street or dancing on TV, her appearance is nobody’s business but her own.

It’s no wonder so many people struggle with body image issues when you’ve got men like Allen trying to pass off cruelty as entertainment.