I would consider myself a confident young woman, content with my capabilities and the skin in which I live. However, as a lot of individuals do, I struggle a little with my weight. It does not help that I have one of those boyfriends who eats food like Noo-Noo from the Teletubbies, and somehow transfers those excess trans-fats over to me instead of him. I also have terrible commitment problems with exercise. It is not my friend. This morning I decided to go for a ‘run’, 20 minutes later I was back in the sofa eating a cookie watching ‘How I Met Your Mother’. I fully acknowledge that my NHS proclaimed overweightness is due to my own doing and regardless, as previously stated, I remain confident in myself.
The problem comes when individuals are not so confident, and who can blame them when we are all constantly being attacked by ‘fat haters’. While it is noted that men are also bombarded with anti-fat campaigns, I feel that women are the undeniable targets of body-related nastiness. Every magazine cover spouts tricks for being the perfect size, and photoshops the excess anything off their cover ladies, whilst somehow still maintaining that you should love yourself in matter what. My computer screen is abused daily with miracle (sometimes scary) weight loss methods. These adverts are nearly always portraying women.
So it is not surprising that young girls and women are turning to radical methods in order to become the same weight as the role models of our days. Superdrug has even produced special weighing scales that conveniently inform you when you are same weight as your favourite female celebs. This is ranging from teenie tiny Cheryl Cole past Beyonce onto the voluptuous Adele. It does not, however, take into account the different body shapes of these celebs, and (of course) does not mention the fact that most of these ladies have day-to-day training and nutrionists.
And if you think that is bad: NEWSFLASH!! Bulimia is ART! A 27yr old woman called Millie is producing art that (in my opinion) should cause the greatest artists (or any artists) to rise from the grave and convene in mass protest. Her method is as follows: (1) starve self for 2 days; (2) drink coloured milk; (3) proceed to stick fingers down throat and make self throw up onto a canvas; (4) do not aim, improvisation allows the piece to come together on its own. It must be good… she has even appeared in one of Lady Gaga’s videos ‘doing art’ all over Gaga’s white dress. Now I am no doctor, but that cannot be a healthy pastime, and seeing pictures of the girl, she looks knackered. But what kind of message is this supposed to send? Granted, I am more or less the opposite of an artist and I struggle to really ‘get’ even the greatest pieces, but celebrating a style of art like this seems little more than dangerous.
I understand that we live in a world now where obesity is a killer and a drain on NHS resources, but I get the impression that where men are told to lose weight for health reasons, women must do it to look good. And of course the latter carries with it an (ironically) greater pressure. I could write pages on how women’s bodies are socially constructed and morphed into a variety of shapes; one only has to look at history and cultural differences to see that women change their bodies to how society expects them to look. And in the society we live in today, that look is super skinny, preferably with a reasonably sized ass, and boobs that are the size of your face and defy all laws of gravity! Now, I doubt that Millie is trying to tell women to deal with their weight through bulimia, but she is legitimizing it, in fact she is making it glamorous. The celeb scales are hardly better in their approach, 8 stone (Cheryl Cole) is not a healthy weight for most women and thus is not a target in and of itself.
Weight loss should be relegated to the health proportion of our lives only. As to how we look, that should be our prerogative only. If only it were that simple… I shall now return to my cookies.