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Rescue us from the tyranny of body image Body tyranny season is here again.
Fitness magazines are stuffed with ways to turn a burkini body into a bikini body, while celeb rags reveal which strategy D listers are employing to prepare for the beach and the paparazzi lens: will there be "no carbs before Marbs" or no solids before St Barts? We're probably only a few summers away from some reality TV "star" proclaiming the weight loss benefits of dysentery. Amid this diet related cacophony comes a faint voice, the hope in the Pandora's box of dietary torments: the Government. It's concerned about the effects of negative body image on the national self esteem. A report released yesterday by the Equalities Office warned that surprise! a fixation on appearance can give rise to depression and crash dieting. Many in power have long treated body image as trivial. They thought it too fluffy for the corridors of power, too let's all hold hands and talk about our feelings. Jo Swinson, the equalities minister, has had to fight to persuade other MPs that her mission is an important one. And it is, because teenagers particularly girls have it hammered into them that what matters most is the way they look. On the Tube, ads for cosmetic surgery imply a fast track route to happiness is to stick silicon mounds in your chest. And the physical ideal that is most often held up for women pandora charms kaufen that of a Victoria's Secret model, essentially is one obtainable to most of us only through starvation twinned with an extensive assault from a scalpel. Someone always counters that when obesity costs the NHS some 5 billion a year, should we really be so concerned about the pressure to be thin? But the fixation isn't on being fit and healthy, it's on being skinny. Just look at the "thinspiration" videos on YouTube. They celebrate a thigh gap. Ribs that jut out. Legs like those of fawns. Perversely, body hatred is often what makes the family sized bar of Dairy Milk seem so irresistible, anyway. It's the respite of charm necklace australia comfort food, before the renewed shame. Bodily insecurity seeps into all other areas of life too. As Susie Orbach wrote in Fat is a Feminist Issue, "Without a body that girls feel all right about, nothing much in their lives feels okay." How do you concentrate at school when you're starving? If you spend hours poring over pictures of celebrities in bikinis as many women I know do is this not a distraction from more important pursuits? And at any age, a good day shouldn't be defined by what the scales say. So one of the best things we could do for the young is to try to dismantle the pressure for physical perfection. For if they're too busy waging a war on cellulite, they'll have no energy left to make their mark on the world. The royal double standardWhy anyone would wish to be a royal consort is a puzzle. History (Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard) shows it is often a dead end job. Current experience (the Duchess of Cambridge) suggests you are pandora bead necklace reduced to a clothes horse and walking womb. Emily Davison didn't die for that. Now that Kate has done her duty and spawned, the spotlight has turned to Prince Harry's girlfriend Cressida Bonas. In clearly horrified tones, one newspaper asked yesterday whether Bonas was the "new Fergie", as though this was a similar stain on the character to membership of the EDL. Apparently, Bonas a 24 year old sometimes has a drink. Sometimes she goes out in fancy dress. Sometimes she has a laugh with her friends. Frankly, all that the "outcry" over her behaviour proves is the wisdom of Chelsy Davy in backing swiftly away from the royal fandango. Farewell to my dear old dog and friendAt 28, I have finally found the perfect response to those men on the street who proclaim: "Smile, love: it can't be that bad." As services to womankind go, this isn't exactly up there with cystitis eradication, but it may throw a tiny spanner in the sexist, street harassing machine. So simply turn to said stranger, bottom lip aquiver, and say: "Well, I've just had to put my dog down." Then watch them squirm. I discovered this the miserable way, for my companion of six months, Wilbur the Wonderhound, is dead. Adopting an 11 year old greyhound after both my childhood dogs died aged 12 always seemed a triumph of hope over experience, but it is still a terrible wrench. Daily comes the realisation on opening the front door that no long, wet nose will greet me. When I come downstairs in the morning, I expect to see a mottled head pop up from his bed. I even mourn the squeaks of a stuffed toy being savaged. A dog can have a powerful uniting effect on a family too and Wilbur glued mine together: united in love, in amusement at his belief that a 32kg greyhound could fit in our laps and in occasional horror at his malodorous emissions. He is much missed. Don't lose our 'plucky' labelChris Hoy, the cycling king with the hamstrings of a comic book hero, declared this week that the pile of golds our Olympians pulled in last summer had banished our nation's "plucky loser" label. As someone who naturally sympathises with life's underdogs London 2012's sculler from the Sahara, Jennifer Aniston when Angelina arrived on the scene, Nick Clegg I can't welcome such a shift in our national character. Surely our love for a laudable loser is partly what makes Britain great? Click the Adblock/Adblock Plus icon, which is to the right of your address bar.
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