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Skinny, Hence Beautiful?

April 20, 2013

I came across this article in Dailymail, quoting Joan Collins. More importantly, agreeing with her that women need to diet to stay thin and hence, attractive.

Nobody likes a fat woman and calls her beautiful, the article claims. The author also claims she routinely turns down chocolates (including hand-made French ones) and other such delicacies because she is so conscious of her weight. 

The author clearly states that “The logic is simple and irrefutable: any self-respecting woman wants to be thin, and to be thin you need to spend your life on a diet.”

This attitude would perhaps be acceptable in the Victorian era where women were expected to be slim and graceful if they wanted good marriage prospects. And marriage was necessary for sustenance for women, then.

But if we never argue, never fight against this concept of ‘thin is beautiful’ when would women ever be able to live the way they want? 

Every year we hear stories about younger girls being scouted from little towns in Brazil and such into the modelling world. These painfully thin girls perhaps will never learn the joys of chocolate, binge drinking, a big chunk of steak, a creamy butter chicken. And if your self esteem is so tied up in the size of your jeans, what kind of a life would you ever have?

Women are often their worst enemies. They judge harsher than anyone else can.

You are expected to be groomed a particular way. If thin eyebrows are the fashion, you are required to have thin eyebrows. Body hair is a strict no, even if every woman knows that waxing is a tedious and painful process. If you wear a revealing dress, you must be looking for action. If you wear a conservative dress, you must be prissy. If you are a businesswoman and dress flashy, you must have slept your way to the top. When would women give other women credit for being themselves? Why are we so desperate to define and slot people into categories? Why cannot a woman straddle two roles?

It is women columnists who beat up personalities for getting fat / having a bad hair day / dressing sloppily. And encourage women like Victoria Beckham and neuroses.

Having to compulsorily deny yourself certain things in life because you need to fit into other people’s narrow glasses just seems like an extreme form of self abuse. Australia tried to change this by asking designers and magazines to ‘normal’ models and not airbrush them. Not that it had much of an impact.

True, women’s weight might seem like a trivial issue. But this is just one of the many ridiculous restraints we impose on ourselves instead of actually focussing on the bigger picture.

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