It’s an age-old debate that’s probably gone back for longer than we can imagine; the back-and-forth that surrounds what is considered to be aesthetically pleasing in a woman. For most of my life, it’s been targeted at fashion magazines and the media in general for touting ‘as-skinny-as-possible’ as the ‘ideal’. I’ve seen many a story about how this designer or that designer is using walking skeletons in their runways shows and how we’re creating generations of kids who refuse to eat.
Just recently, I’ve noticed social media getting in on the act with several photos doing the rounds concerning body shape and body image. Here’s a couple of them:
The image on the left is being posted with captions like “I wish I lived in a time when this was attractive” and the photo on the right speaks for itself. Another example of this latest trend is the focus on actresses such as Christina Hendricks who, if you don’t already know, looks like this:
The lady in the top left and Christina Hendricks are both gorgeous, there’s no denying it. But, do people really think that this is in ANY WAY more achievable than the skinny girls at top right? Let me tell you this – it’s not. Both of these women are voluptuous but that’s not down to diet or exercise (okay, it might be a bit down to diet and exercise). What you’re seeing here is GENETICS. Do you know how rare it is to find a true hourglass figure? Christine Hendricks and the lady above are both blessed in that they both have an ample bosom and a round bottom. Neither carries any weight on their face and very little on their arms or mid-sections. Unless they both spend hours in the gym doing only arm exercises or sleep with a facial Slendertone on, it’s doubtful that they managed to do this on purpose.
Now, let’s talk about the skinny girls. How about, they’re just naturally skinny? Granted, the one in the middle is very thin, but there are people in the world who just are, no matter how much we bitch and moan about it. The problem here isn’t the fact that some people are skinny and some people are curvy, it’s the pedestals they’re placed on. I read recently that Christina Hendricks is so fed up with interviewers asking her about her body, that she actually has her assistant pre-warn them that she won’t answer any questions on the subject.
I haven’t seen any magazine stands in the past few days but I’d bet my last tenner that every single one aimed at women has a headline featuring some sort of ‘New Year, New You’ ‘How to Lose 15lb in 10 days’ diet and exercise plan, and I bet they’re all coupled with a photo of a 21-year-old model who’s been in hair, make up and styling for hours then airbrushed to within an inch of her life.
I supposed I’m thinking about all of this because I do have a lot of changes to make in the New Year. I need to lose a considerable amount of weight and, most importantly, I need to get healthy. But, no matter how hard I try, I’m not going to look like a 50’s pin-up. I’m not going to look like Christina Hendricks and I’m definitely not going to look like a runway model. I’m hopefully going to look like a slimmer, healthier version of me, a 28-year-old woman whose belly has carried a baby, whose hips have been used for balancing a toddler on, whose arms have lugged a million loads of washing, whose face has the beginnings of laughter lines and who would be happy just to be able to play netball again.
I’m not aiming for magazine perfection – I’m just aiming for a better version of me and I think if everyone did that and ignored the so-called ‘ideals’ we’d all be a lot happier.