I’ve never been petite or fragile looking, and I’m more soft then toned or slender. But I have been able to remain reasonably happy with my body – even through the tortuous high school years. Apart from not having the will power to not eat, I enjoy food. And food obviously enjoys me, or at least my stomach area. The bugger.
I have a little pouch. It’s not of beer belly standards or suggestive of being in an unfortunate condition, but it’s there. And I don’t like it. But I’ve never hated it enough to do much about it. You see, I’m lazy. I love sleeping and napping, reading books and watching TV. Pass the popcorn please.
Yet, I have still succumbed to the opinion that thin is beautiful. And that any extra centimeters, or God forbid inches, around my waist are paramount to failure as a woman. I used to believe that part of the allure of being skinny and slender was that it was easier for you to be rescued. If you’re in a burning building and a tall, dark and rippling fireman burst through the door to save you, you need to be relatively light to be swept up into his arms and carried effortlessly down the stairs to safety, your inevitable marriage and happy ending. If you’re a heavy girl your daring rescue became slightly more unseemly and may end in your unfortunate demise. Who knows, one less muffin and you might have had it all?
If people ask me what I think about the media’s continuous promotion of the ideal female form, I answer (in a very serious voice) that the modern woman needs to reject this ridiculous standard and embrace the body that she has. But at home when I stand exposed in front of the mirror and see what most others don’t, I know I’m a liar. As ‘modern women’ we are the receptors of two very contradictory messages. The magazines which place size zero models on their covers contain articles on the horrors of anorexia and bulimia in the modeling industry. We read articles on healthy eating plans and balanced diets which sit opposite advertisements which feature the model’s hip bones more prominently than her clothes.
In the sixties women burned their bras in rejection of the expectations that society placed on them. That generation is remembered for throwing off and burning their bras, but our generation’s women may also be remembered for their relationship with their lingerie. Our ladies too are burning their bras; however they just have forgotten to take them off first. We are not innocent victims – rather masochists. We oppose unrealistic standards from society when our friends, children and colleagues are listening. It is of course the PC thing to do. But when we are alone and naked we so easily slip. We falter and our gaze is no longer embracing or forward thinking. It is harsh and cruel and everything that we fear others think.
Ah, we are complex creatures. We so want to be secure with bodies, but we are our own saboteurs. And being hypocrites we’ll continue to point fingers and blame the media, men and the modeling industry as the smell of smoke lingers tellingly in the air.