Right, I’m not going to base this blog on any published research or official studies – I’m basing it purely on how I feel today (and a lot of days – but I just chose today to write about it). (Maybe coz I just ate a huge bit of cheesecake).
I read soooooo many articles debating whether images of skinny celebs lead us women to developing eating disorders, inferiority complexes and the desire to nip/tuck/botox the hell out of ourselves. Some ‘experts’ agree there is a direct correlation. Other ‘experts’ are less decisive and put it down to a combination of factors.
I am no expert but today I have come up with a formula, which I think many women will identify with:
Pictures of perfect women + a huge slice of cheesecake at lunchtime = feelings of dissatisfaction with one’s own body
There, who needs science boffins when you got me?!
No, seriously – here’s the thing. I’ve just had a little think back to what media I’ve seen and browsed today. Here it is in a nutshell:
– Showbiz stories from the daily prep sheet that we use for our radio show
– A good old scan through the Daily Mail Online for any other bits we can talk about on the show
– A look through a few more showbiz websites
– Constant browsing of my twitter feed, all for research purposes you understand
– A thumb through OK, Closer, and Now magazines – because they get sent to me through the post at work
– Another look through showbiz and lifestyle websites whilst researching bits for tomorrow’s radio show
Just a quick guess-timation here, but today I reckon I’ve seen at least 50 pictures of celebs in bikinis – and at least 49 of them had great bodies. Better bodies than me. At least 45 of them were included in features about bodies – ‘who looks great on the beach’, ‘who looks less great on the beach than last year’, ‘who wore the itsy bitsy £2,000 bikini better – celeb A or B?’ …… you get my drift. I even saw a piece about celebs and their ‘body hang ups’. Apparently Taylor Swift hates having no curves, and Jessica Wright from TOWIE is depressed about her tummy not being flat. For a start – how does any editor know that these celebs have these body hang ups?! Do they have a direct line into their minds like in the film What Women Want? And Jessica Wright hates her non-flat tummy? Looks pretty good and pretty darn flat to me.
I do think this constant body scrutiny DOES have a negative effect on us girls, whether we’re conscious of it or not. The stream of perfect body images is so constant that it drip drip drips into our minds, gradually making us feel under pressure to look ‘perfect’. I personally know that I am not under pressure from any other people but myself. My boyfriend has nothing but compliments, and apart from being called ‘Skinny’ by a rude man the other day (I’m saving that for another blog) no one ever really comments on my body. But the pressure is still there. After my slab of cheesecake this afternoon there was definitely a voice in my head, telling me off for eating something so calorific. Especially on a Monday. Tut tut. But maybe if I hadn’t also seen all those bikini-clad beauties everywhere I looked throughout my day, it wouldn’t bother me? My boyfriend on the other hand scoffed down a larger piece than me, and bounded out of the house to work happy as anything. Bet it hasn’t crossed his mind since.
I know just from being female that even the most confident and body-comfortable among us have daily thoughts about our bodies. About being overweight or underweight or not toned enough. Every single girl I know hates something – thighs, arms, boobs, legs. For me it’s my stomach. Hate it, ugh. And go to great lengths to hide it. I reckon a part of this is the way we’re built emotionally but I really think the media’s obsession with talking about women’s bodies and printing pictures is a huge contributing factor. We aspire to be ‘normal’ and ‘normal’ has somehow become pert boobs, great bum, no cellulite, toned tummy, firm thighs, oh and a cracking face!
I’m learning that whenever I write anything from the heart – I get the same predictable comments (usually from men) telling me to ‘get over myself’ or something equally as intelligent and constructive, and I am sure I will get the same from this. But I don’t care really; I just wanted to share my honest thoughts.
So the cheesecake formula, see if it applies to you today, or another day. Bet it does.
As for me, it’s pouring with rain so I think I’m gonna go have a cup of tea and a biscuit. No doubt I’ll feel bad later. I just won’t put a bikini on afterwards 😉