How strange is life? Here we are in what is apparently the height of summer yet the Met office is issuing severe weather warnings and the majority of us are hiding under a blanket of cloud that is producing copious amounts of rain. It has become almost impossible to imagine slipping into that new summer dress that has been hanging in the wardrobe just waiting for its opportunity to shine in public.
All I want to do is curl up in front of an open fire with a large cup of steaming coffee watching a good film. Imagine my surprise then when opening my emails this afternoon I found one who's subject was "Get skinny for summer".
Now I am not suggesting that I am by any means perfect, and yes, as with many of us, I could shed a few pounds – but do I really want to be "skinny"? No, not really.
Much has been played out in the press about size zero women, and young up-and-coming models appear to be wasting away in front of our very eyes. Many fashion gurus, one of which has a regular Channel 4 programme, are challenging "real" women to bare all and "look good naked", which invariably they do. Magazines are continually being sold with perfect women emblazoning the front cover with not a hint of a laughter line, sagging jowls, eyelids or anything else but perfect figures and perfect teeth. Is that real life or are we all simply buying into the word "celebrity"?
On a more serious note – an email sent to a sceptic 40 something mother of three is not going to have the same effect as an email sent to a young impressionable 14-year-old who believes herself to be fat and ugly because she has a spot on her chin and she is not the magical size zero.
I recently watched a programme where a failing shop owner needed some inspiration on how to get to grips with her clientele. Easy enough to accomplish when being guided by a knowledgeable fashion icon with a good eye for business and a network of contacts. However, this particular assignment was proving to be uphill all the way. The shop owner purported to know what the "larger" lady wanted in her wardrobe; they were given huge garments in order to hide their shape. She was clearly unable to achieve two basic requirements to have a successful clothing shop: vision and the ability to talk to clients without patronising them. I would imagine a woman with a low self-esteem to begin with, after visiting this particular shop, would have no self-esteem left.
We are all human beings, but we are not all the same, as that would just be very boring. It seems that as a society we judge people by how they look – ideally are they tall, slim and attractive. Young girls are influenced by the magazines they read and what their friends and family say to them, and some will resort to extreme dieting and not eat anything. A person who doesn't eat will lose weight eventually, but with extreme weight loss comes the loss of periods, hair, teeth, looks and ultimately life itself.
We should be nurturing and encouraging our young people to love the skin they're in. Emails suggesting a miracle to get skinny for summer, or magazines filled with celebrities airbrushed to perfection, are detrimental, and in extreme cases can lead to the destruction of a precious and treasured young life.
Do you agree that the media is mainly to blame for poor body image? Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)
"Everyone is to blame. If everyone stopped buying the mags and they went out of business, they would have to rethink! Likewise, footballers (and wives), pop stars, fashion models who are paid too much for what they do... the list goes on!" - Lisa, Brighton
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