I’m writing this rant because I have been in a terrible mood all day for no reason whatsoever. This ridiculous article has tipped me over the edge to total rage but has, at least, given me a reason for my previously irrational anger.
For those too lazy to read it, it basically implies that Debenhams’ recent decision to introduce size 16 mannequins in their stores as well as size 6 ones is just as “harmful” to how women feel about their bodies as the stick-thin ones.
Now, I have as many body hang-ups as the next woman – I will never have a flat stomach; my knees are knobbly; my hips don’t lie. However, the reasons for these “quirks” are a combination of genetics, primarily, coupled with downright laziness on my part – I eat too much crispy duck and pancakes, I am a fond of a glass or ten of Prosecco, and, save, for running for the bus, I don’t do any exercise either. I only have myself to blame for the latter part of this and I accept this wholeheartedly.
Don’t get me wrong. Don’t for a second imagine that I wander around in a smug self-satisified haze because I am happy with my body, flaws and all. I’m not hugely happy with every aspect of my body by any stretch of the imagination. I shy away from body-con and mini dresses, because I know they will not suit my figure. I had a whinge last Friday night because I looked like a burst sausage in the dress I was going to wear. Similarly, I wish I could motivate myself to do some bloody exercise – I know my lifestyle is detrimental to my health. However, I can safely say that I have never walked into a shop and been influenced by the mannequins in my midst. Equally, whilst I may admire the majority of supermodels’ figures, I know that clothes will look just a tad different to them than they do on me, because that’s life, and because if everybody looked the same, we’d get tired of looking at each other, to paraphrase Groove Armada.
‘What they [the size 16 mannequins] represent is even more harmful, in fact, because they’re pushed on us as something “real”.’ writes Harriet Walker, the author of this tripe. Errr…sorry to break it to you, but some women are a size 16 and have flat stomachs, and therefore this body shape is real. One contributor to the comment section states that “a tall woman with an athletic build can easily be size 16 without fat rolls.” Quite. It might not be a commonplace occurrence, but such people are in existence, and equally some people featuring the dimensions of the usual mannequins in use i.e tall, size 6 and flat-stomached walk this planet too. I’m size 12 on top and a size 14 on bottom. I’m not represented in mannequin form anywhere. BOO-FRICKIN’-HOO.
My issue is with people like Kate Moss coming out with crap like “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” That’s damaging. My issue is with impressionable young girls witnessing the likes of Miley Cyrus morphing from the clean-cut wholesome Hannah Montana of old to a sex-crazed semi-naked maniac. That’s damaging. My issue is with the likes of ASOS employing a number of models that look like they are about to keel over due to malnutrition. That’s damaging.
My issue is with nonsensical articles, such as the one that inspired this diatribe, patronising women into thinking that any of us give a toss whether a mannequin in a shop has got a flat stomach or not. If a woman is truly influenced by the vital statistics of a shop model or a photo of Abbey Clancey’s stomach in Heat magazine, to the point that she feels bad about herself, then I’d hazard a guess that there are far deeper-rooted psychological issues that need to be addressed.
Instead of highlighting how unhappy all women supposedly are because they don’t fit into the body beautiful ideal, can we not focus on promoting healthy body image, and educating young girls that, as long as they’re healthy and happy, it doesn’t matter what size you are?
RANT OVER. (For now.)