It’s not because I don’t like reading. I love reading. I just don’t like reading something that makes me feel inadequate and has me worrying about life even more than I do generally.
I used to soak up magazines when I was younger. Mizz, More!, Sugar, Bliss…and then I moved on to Elle, Cosmo, and Vogue. It was the only source of information at the time – pre-Internet, pre-Instagram and pre-YouTube…how on earth did we cope?!
I loved the freebies you used to get with magazines – little pots of lip gloss and hair clips. Tips on how to snog and step by step guides to the recent dance craze…trying to learn to dance from pictures in a magazine…those were the days. When I escalated to Just Seventeen – or J-17! – and More! it was all about trying to hide them from my Mum and Dad. Did you know that they had a ‘Position of the Month’ in More! magazine…the boys in my class used to love reading that section but weren’t so keen on the period pain advice bits.
Ah – the good old days!
Of course things have escalated somewhat. The development of Photoshop and the need to be seen as ‘perfect’ means that we get a bit bombarded with ideas of beauty and perfection in pictures that aren’t really all that representative of the truth.
And when I say ‘we’ I am of course referring to men as well as women. The buff cover stars of Men’s Health magazine seem pretty unattainable to the average Joe and don’t do the wonderful gents in our lives any favours either.
Now I am not some kind of crusader on a mission to ban this kind of picture as there are far better crusaders out there than me. I am wise enough to know that pictures in magazines aren’t representative of a ‘real’ person. And by ‘real’ I don’t mean fat. By ‘real’ I just mean ultra smooth skin without any semblance of a lump or bump, or a face absolutely free of a blemish or a stray chin hair, or a pair of boobs that are perfectly symmetrical and pert, or the lack of a visible panty line!
It’s all well and good that I am wise enough to realise this. What about the younger generation though? I was talking with my seven year old niece recently. We were looking through a catalogue at clothes she liked. She kept talking about how beautiful and cute the girls were. I have to say that I am not sure how altered the pictures were, but I thought it a good opportunity to talk to her about the fact that sometimes what you see in pictures isn’t always accurate. She seemed to get it. It was scary though. A seven year old is exposed to stuff that I wasn’t…and I have enough ‘issues’ to go round a few people. What hang-ups are the children of today going to grow up with?
Anyway, I don’t want to dwell on that as I will get all angry and annoyed and start colouring in a placard and throwing eggs at a magazine headquarters somewhere…and you will have to bail out WLB!
This whole blog post was inspired by something I spotted on Twitter this week that made me smile wryly. It has hit the headlines since I spotted it, and I did write this on Sunday…but forgot to post it! For those TV fans watching the jungle at the moment, you will know that there are some very beautiful people in skimpy outfits vying for TV time. Reality stars and soap stars who are beautiful in their own right. They have bodies that I would be over the moon to have.
However, these very same beautiful bodies you see on your TV screen have also appeared in magazines. They don’t quite look the same on TV as they do in magazines…take a look:
As I have said, I would be fecking over the moon to have the un-airbrushed bodies. I think they look like perfectly healthy and beautiful bodies. So what’s with the ones on the right? I know that people lose and gain weight and that we all fluctuate, but I think this is more than simple fluctuation.
Why do we have people out there – magazine editors I am guessing – who feel the need to do this kind of thing?
Why do we keep buying these magazines and looking at these pictures?
Why don’t we demand the truth?
More importantly, why do the people in the pictures let this kind of thing happen?
If it were me I would want a touched-up picture for my personal collection to have a giggle over, but I would want the absolute truth out there. For example, I have a photograph of myself on a professional networking site. It’s me. I brushed my hair, I smiled, and they took the picture. I look a bit squinty and a bit red-faced and have a little crossed over tooth at the front that Mr WLB calls my ‘gappy-tooth’ even though there’s no gap…it is safe to say that the picture is fairly representative of me. However I have seen pictures of colleagues on this site and I haven’t fecking recognised them…and I work with them! I just can’t get my head around it.
I feel sad that people feel the need to sell us a dream that only exists in pictures. I feel sad that we buy it. I feel sad that people compare themselves to these pictures – we can’t help it, comparison is natural and it goes back to our primal instincts about survival of the fittest! I feel sad that some people feel sad when they look at themselves and then look at these pictures.
Be real. Be you. And above all else love what you see.
Your body really is an amazing thing. It has kept you going this long. It carries you around. It keeps you ticking along. For some of you out there it has nurtured a new life. It provides a lot of pleasure too! It houses your wonderful personality and your brain. If you treat it right it will keep doing all of these things for a long time to come.
So quit comparing it to the stuff you see in magazines. It is wonderful already. But if you want to improve it then go ahead. Be the best version of you though…don’t try and aim for the digitally altered version of someone else!
On that note, I am going to finish up.
I have had a lovely week that has involved a bit too much vodka and far too much chocolate. I gave in to the lure of Hotel Chocolat (feck…I bet they even airbrush chocolate…and I fell for it!) – I ate a LOT of chocolate over the weekend and went to bed feeling sick. I had a really uncomfortable night of sleep and feel a bit of a twat to be honest. But this kind of thing happens. There’s no point dwelling on it, so I woke up and made a nice breakfast and am putting my chocolatey madness behind me. The good thing is that I am no longer craving it and have no desire to fill my house it’s festive goodies!
We went to see Chris Ramsay – a great comedian – on Friday night with my sister and her hubby, and it was a fab evening…that involved vodka! Then I spent some time with an old foster placement of my Mums – and took her daughter to the toy shop…I couldn’t resist! She is such a little cutie pie and we had been out for lunch and she was so well-behaved…and Mr WLB and I are suckers for the toy shop. We don’t have children of our own so feel that we are allowed to spoil the children in our life on the odd occasion! Today has been nice and quiet and has involved me going through my Christmas presents and starting to wrap the ones that need sending around the country to relatives. Getting all festive now!
Thank you for reading,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx