Friday, 20 August 2010
A weighty issue: Signs of a neurotic culture!
I wrote this piece some time ago, on my original blog. Anyway, I felt that this subject needs to be addressed properly, if we are to value people for who they are rather then the size and shape of their body, so here is a revised article.
I took the above photo from the web site of one of our more trashy tabloids. Those papers love to carry endless features on women’s bodily issues. But, I like this image as it really puts into perspective the fact that no matter what shape a woman is, she can still be radiant and beautiful.
The media have an almost neurotic fixation on body size, and through the power of the sick, ‘celebrity,’ culture that predominates these days, many women are lead to believe that only by having a certain look and body appearance, will happiness, success and fame be possible. So we are treated to the ghastly spectacle of images of paper-thin women (and it’s usually women), who look like they have existed on a starvation diet for the past 6 months, paraded before our eyes
When I originally posed this piece, I received an interesting comment from someone who has the opposite problem, she is underweight, and she felt I was criticising thin women in general. I wasn’t of course, and as a ‘thinny,’ myself I know well, the problems those of us who are underweight, can go through. I am saying that weight, not matter what size we are, should never, ever have any bearing on how we perceive someone.
I have not the slightest interest in celebrities, but even I cannot avoid them always. I saw a copy of the Radio Times a few months ago, which carried a photo of the singer Cheryl Cole on its cover. As she appeared so underweight, I thought it was to advertise a programme about women’s health issues, before reading that she was to be featured in an entertainment programme. Many impressionable females will look up to Ms Cole and her like with almost god like reverence.
Here is another photo; its subject is the present holder of the Miss America Beauty (?) Contest. Whatever ones views are on such events, I would hope this photo will induce a feeling of unease within you. Unease that it has to come this, that a human being, who is clearly unwell, could be celebrated and rewarded in such a manner. What this person needs is someone with a kind heart to take her aside and tell her that she doesn’t have to risk her health to such a degree, to gain approval.
Such images of women are a symptom of a society fixated on very limited definitions of beauty; and where celebrity and materialism win out over sanity, compassion and indeed reality. Everywhere we go nowadays, we are assailed by images of thin, bean pole shaped females, who are displayed for their so called ‘sexual appeal.’
The media is full of such images, images that send out all of the wrong messages to young women out there. We’ve all seen and read reports of the problems many girls suffer, with eating disorders. How we, as a so-called mature society, can tolerate such madness, let alone celebrate it, is beyond me!
The fashion industry must shoulder much of the blame for encouraging such negative behaviour amongst women. And for encouraging the notion amongst thousands of vulnerable young girls that thin is good! They excuse their use of anorexic models, by claiming that their clothes hang, so much better on thin women, and that women ‘like looking at images of thinner females.’ I read an article in the Independent newspaper a while ago, where the writer was arguing similar points to those raised here. He went on to suggest that magazines like Vogue should be shut down, on grounds of gross indecency!
It’s time now that we stopped applauding such images of women, that we stopped buying fashion magazines, and that we vocalised our disgust at the way, the female body has been hijacked by popular culture! It isn’t just that such images are responsible for an outbreak of anorexia, amongst a generation of young women, but such emphasis on excessive thinness does nothing for the coincidence of most of the female population. I don’t think I have ever met a single woman who has been 100% happy with her body! I can well understand why. If as men we were subjected to such a narrow defined ideal of what is considered as desirable, then we too would suffer from inferiority complexes. At last these who