Body image stripped bare

I wasn’t going to blog about the Jennifer Hawkins nude marie claire cover because I thought we’d covered that topic before. But then I started thinking about specifics – what change do I want to see?

I should preface this by saying I don’t buy fashion mags, or Cleo or Cosmo or maire claire or NW or Who etc. But I do look at the pictures when I’m at the hairdressers (I don’t want to get dye on my glasses, so no reading for me). I’m not speaking on behalf of their readers – perhaps their readers like the unrealistic images presented to them (that wasn’t meant to sound so sarcastic). After all, fashion and beauty mags are about presenting a fantasy.

When I say I want to see images of ‘real women’ in the media, I mean images of what they really look like, without all the fucking airbrushing. That’s not the same as saying models should be out of a job. Like Corpulent, I don’t buy into the ‘real women have curves’ bullshit, because it’s insulting to women who don’t have curves and is exactly the same as saying ‘all women should be a size eight’.

I’m not an expert on body image, but I know my own experience. I didn’t think about how my body looked compared to other bodies until I was in year 8, and then spent the next 17 or so years feeling too fat/ugly. And that was before the crazy perfect body media saturation that we have now, so I can’t imagine how hard it must be for young people these days. Now in my 30s, my relationship with my body is more about friendship, but waiting until people grow out of their body image problems isn’t good enough. So how do we fix this? What one action do you think will make a difference?

2 responses to “Body image stripped bare

  1. You are so smart not to buy fashion and beauty magazines. Research shows that whenever a woman (or teen) looks at one, they get more depressed. I am a licensed mental health counselor and have had the honor of walking with people through struggles with body image. Now I am writing a book and blog on how to fight the body image bandit and win. I would love to get your thoughts…Thanks, Cherrie
    Fannies: Reflections on Cookie Dough, Life, and Your Derriere

    • Thanks, although the reason I don’t buy them isn’t because they’re full of unrealistic images and exhortations to buy buy buy, but because I’m not much of a girly girl so I don’t care about the latest dresses and heels. Perhaps they are linked, I don’t know.

      As for my thoughts, I think yours are more important. Do you think the Jennifer Hawkins cover is the start of something good, or just a tokenistic effort from a magazine that has been complicit in creating body image issues? And will it make any difference?

      (The name of your blog made me chuckle. In Australia, fannies are vaginas, and a blog named vaginas is pretty awesome!)

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