Arriving at Kings Cross yesterday, I wondered into WHSmiths, Burger King in one hand and Diet Coke in the other (I prefer this to normal Coke, not for the calorific content, but for the fact that Coke would kill me. I’m diabetic, it’s not a lifestyle choice) and browsed the tacky magazine section, looking for something to read on my long journey oop north.
And this is where my mind started to wander. I looked at the covers, adorned with skinny women in skimpy two pieces, and felt, for the first time in my twenty-four years, genuine disgust for society. These women look emaciated and skinny, pure skin stretched over bone and muscle in some sort of sickening homage to the skeleton you used to take apart at school; first the muscles, then the bones.
Although I have recently embraced the gym, my body will never be a Porsche. Its more a Volkswagen camper van, if im honest. Slightly squishy round the edges, a bit worn, but does the job. The reason is this: I like food. Horror. I’m quite fond of my tummy, which is currently a great shelf for the jammy dodger that I will pause to dunk in my tea. I love cocktails and dinner, and would never sacrifice this for the unattainable waspie waist and bony look.
I honestly feel that magazines do nothing for the younger generations; coming up to womanhood and feeling they are too fat, too short or too white for society’s model. I am blessed in having a strong group of friends who stick two fingers up at society with me, and who are comfortable enough in their bodies to not be influenced by size 0 models parading their tight tummies across the world, but for the tweens and teens coming of age, a good role model is hard to find.
It’s just not attainable! Celebrities have time each day to spend training, and someone to prepare healthy and balanced meals for them. Sadly, I have a job which means I have about three times as much work as hours in the day, so the most healthy thing I will opt for in the week is a small packet of crisps instead of a grab bag, and I might get to the gym every other day, but unlikely for more than half an hour. And it worries me that my baby cousin, who is eleven and clearly going to be one of the most beautiful women in California, may be reading these mags and feeling inadequate and ugly.
So girls, think about it. If you had someone airbrushing every photo that was taken of you, the bags under your eyes may look smaller, your bum may look tighter and your skin more glowing. But it would be fake, wouldn’t it?