Tuesday, March 24, 2009

This Body is Just Right

Victoria Beckham is looking a little thick around the middle lately, isn’t she? Posh seriously has lost control of herself and should lay off the cheese doodles and get her fat ass into the gym. It is seriously pathetic how she is just stuffing herself into size 00 clothes; like squeezing ten pounds of potatoes into a five pound sack. She’d better watch that weight or her husband David might turn his eyes elsewhere. How can she even go out in public looking like a two-ton heifer?

Making any reference of the twig-thin Victoria Beckham having even an ounce of body fat on her is nothing short of ridiculous. Promoting that Posh Spice has a figure any woman can or should strive for is just as ridiculous yet magazines publish her diet and fitness secrets with such enthusiasm you think they found some lost scriptures. Her ultra-skinny body and obvious disordered eating are not healthy; her diet lacks diversity and includes calorie restriction mimicking malnutrition. Mrs. Beckham’s reported lettuce, strawberry, and edamame diet, standing at a dangerous 900 calories a day, is not something that women and girls should attempt but they do, following dangerous celebrity diets like they were prescribed by their doctors.

Even worse then the promotion of a “thin at all costs” culture is chastising women publicly who do not fit within some impossible mold created by fashion giants who would rather dress shapeless girls then women. Jessica Simpson is the latest celebrity falling victim to public scrutiny about her weight. She joins other strong, healthy, beautiful women like Tyra Banks, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jessica Simpson, and Drew Barrymore who found themselves on the cover of magazines after committing what is apparently the worst offense in Hollywood; packing on a few extra pounds. Celebrity mug shots for inexcusable offenses get less press then celebrity “fat” pictures sending a poor message to the world; it is more acceptable to commit a felony then to eat a cheeseburger.

Canonizing waifs and crucifying curves is mentally and physically damaging to the millions of people who suffer from, or on the brink of developing, image and eating disorders. In recent years many tabloids started publishing stories on women who were too thin, almost in an “effort” to appease eating disorder awareness groups. These “efforts” are nearly as damaging to the human psyche as publishing “fat” photos. Celebrity women can’t win the weight game and in turn all women and girls learn that they cannot win. We are either too fat or too skinny. We are either too tall or too short. We are either too happy or too sad. We hear the old adage that you can never be too rich or too thin but are then ostracized for being too successful or to skinny. No where in these messages do people learn how to be healthy.

We are in the midst of an eating epidemic where people who fail at starving themselves to nothing give up for a life of obesity and its related diseases; hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, cancer. In between too fat and too thin is just right but how do we understand what just right is in a culture that actually calls that fat? When newspapers and tabloids attacked Jessica, Tyra, Jennifer, and Drew their weights did not classify as overweight or obese but were in the healthy “just right” range. Rather then declare “this is what healthy looks like” newspapers and tabloids sent a loud and clear message that healthy is fat.

Celebrities starting fighting back, commenting positively on the bodies of the media’s latest fat scandals but the fight needs to continue. About the worst thing that can happen from Jessica Simpson’s “fatgate” is for the celebrity to come back ultra-skinny in record time, sending a poor message that women’s talents are worthless unless they are also thin. Jessica Simpson is a gorgeous woman with a beautiful voice who is currently sporting a figure reminiscent of the most iconic woman in our country’s history; Marilyn Monroe. I hope she doesn’t go on some crazy crash diet, revealing her "new and improved" body to generations of women who will receive the message that starving yourself is healthier than maintaining a healthy weight. She and the media have the chance to promote healthy but if healthy doesn’t sell magazines we’ll likely see another woman sellout to societal pressure to be too thin.


husband said...

If it wasn't for her makeup and fake boobs, Posh would look like a concentration camp victim. She doesn't even look like the same person she was in 2000.

As for Jessica Simpson... there is no denying that the choice in wardrobe was terrible, but the media coverage to me just reflects the tastes of those who devour that trash. Some people only find joy in the tearing down of others. As long as there is a market for hate and envy, you'll continue to see more stories like this.

You write: "No where in these messages do people learn how to be healthy."
I would argue that you'll never see those messages about being healthy and nor should you expect to. There is no money in it. Those messages start at home. Only a reformation from the bottom up with change anything... or we completely trash the fashion world who in my opinion is worse than any media outlet...

litchic said...

"Canonizing waifs and crucifying curves is mentally and physically damaging to the millions of people who suffer from, or on the brink of developing, image and eating disorders."

So true, and SO well written! Great entry! I also think that Jessica's stylist should have been (and probably was) fired for putting her in that outfit. Us curvy girls so cannot pull of the high-waisted jeans thing. If she had been in a flattering outfit it would have been a non-story. Not every woman can wear every style, except for Posh that is. Who is the size (and weight) of a human clothes hanger.

Explosive Bombchelle said...

Here’s another example of how the media, not just the tabloids, measures women not by the content of their character but by the size of their hips. Meghan McCain, the daughter of John McCain, came under a recent fat attack for her perfectly healthy size 8 body and wrote a response on the matter.

Imogen Lamport said...

Great piece! Why can't women be curvy? Why do they have to look like emaciated children to be beautiful?

How is looking like an emaciated child in the least bit sexy?

I hear a lot from clients that they want to come and see me, but want to lose weight first. I tell them it's not about weight, and that putting off looking after yourself and buying yourself clothes that you actually enjoy wearing, rather than just buying clothes that you wear so you're not naked, is saying that you do not value yourself, and that you only value people under a size 6,8,10 (insert number here).

Explosive Bombchelle said...

Imogen- Thank you for visiting and commenting on my writing. I went out to your site and wish I lived in Australia to get your help with my personal style (Okay, that's not the only reason. I also have a terrible hankering for Doyle's Fish and Chips and some hokey pokey ice cream).

You might also like the piece I wrote on style and sterotypes. Enjoy!

Nursedude said...

I, for one, would not throw Jessica Simpson out of the bedroom because she was eating crackers in bed...

Victoria Beckham and Keira Knightly both look like death camp survivors.

Yet, in the Alice in Wonderland world that is the media, Jessica Simpson is the one who gets ridiculed? It makes no sense.

And yet the media wonders why young American women are such a mess with their self image?