‘Fat is a Feminist Ishooo’ ran the old joke. Many a true word spoken in jest.
It is no secret that I have long believed Lynne Featherstone to be the only Liberal-Democrat worthy of being allowed anywhere near Government, so it was a disappointment this morning to read her latest offering on the subject of ‘body image’ and her reasons for supporting government intervention in the images we are allowed to compare ourselves to.
Every day people are confronted with images of the ‘perfect’ body that just don’t reflect the diverse society we live in. These unrealistic images set an impossible standard, potentially damaging self esteem and crushing confidence.
People have been confronted with idealised images since man first figured out how to paint on a cave wall. Some were daft enough to paint their dark skin with lead in an effort to conform to this idealised image – others quietly buried them and learnt the lesson. It didn’t require Government intervention.
Probably the best thing this Government has done is NOT to offer to replace all those Silicone breast implants. A salutary lesson is being absorbed out there in teenage land. But Lynne is swimming against this tide of sanity on the subject of body image. She believes:
that ‘as a government minister it is my responsibility to address them’.
She wants to see an updated Governmental control of cave paintings, presumably depicting dark skinned women for the light skinned to risk their lives roasting themselves to conform to, light skinned women for the dark skinned to continue painting themselves with lead in a similar effort, and a scattered few depicting leprosy so that some daft bint can chop off her nose to emulate.
I want to see a wider spectrum of body shapes represented in popular culture, to include all ages, all shapes, all sizes and ethnicities. This is something that we need to work with industry to achieve.
It’s not just confined to women of course, ’10% of boys said they would start taking steroids to build muscle if they were unhappy with the way they looked’. Noooo, how are we going to counter that? Are we going to insist that every Premier league football match has at least three overweight middle aged men puffing round the pitch so that teenage boys shouldn’t be confronted by a ‘relentless diet’ of images of bodily perfection? Shall we have Formula One cars adapted to hold the Paraplegic so that those in an iron lung are no longer forced to solely gaze at the snake hipped and nimble miniature men best suited to sitting astride a mobile petrol can?
Where are you planning to stop Lynne? Repainting Ruben’s idealised women in every stately home? Banning the reprinting of Victorian adverts showing women with impossibly small waists? Or is this just a back door attempt to introduce censorship into modern publishing?
What puzzles me is that you claim all these surveys show ’50% of women feel under pressure to look good at all times and 46% of women feel under pressure to lose weight’ and yet each time I turn on the Television I am confronted by acres of rolling flesh in every direction belonging to the 54% who obviously don’t feel obliged to lose weight. It would seem that the great British public is only too well equipped and dealing only too successfully with ‘the pressure to lose weight’. Is somebody forcing them to eat against their will?
All the major clothing manufacturers are stealthily increasing their idea of the ‘standard sizes’ – with the result that if you order something in a size 12 on-line it turns up fully equipped to house a family of Kosovan refugees.
I want more people to recognise that emotional qualities – character and individuality – are equally expressive of beauty as narrow, physical appearance.
That would seem to be happening very successfully already. Every time I see one of these lard mountains, male or female, they appear to be accompanied by a raft of children – suggesting that more than sufficient people of the opposite sex are overlooking their lack of compliance with ‘idealised’ beauty.
Jo Swinson MP has added her ten penn’orth. “Low self-esteem, depression and eating disorders are all increasing, along with unhealthy behaviours: half of young people have been on a diet”
Could that be something to do with the increase in Government interference in what we eat, when we eat, how we eat? The constant ‘nannying’ adverts telling us what children should have in their lunch-box, how many green vegetables we should eat every day?
I see no evidence that this Commission is looking at Governmental behaviour as the defining influence on alleged body image anxiety – merely seeking a back door route to apply
Feminist censorship regulation to the Advertising industry, Health and fitness sector, Media, Youth organisations, and the Fashion and beauty sector.
Do find yourself something useful to do Lynne, there’s a good girl. Stop meddling. We elect to buy goods from manufacturers because we like the way they advertise them – if we didn’t, we wouldn’t buy. Do you really think I’m likely to buy ice-cream from the two pictured above this post? Really?