We live in age, much to many people’s annoyance, in which image and appearance are both valued and scrutinised. In a society that claims to hire and fire based on your appearance, how superficial are we? The continuous flow of magazines showing provocatively dressed women, no longer reserved for top-shelf men’s ‘health’, show our society the ‘average’ woman: tall, gorgeous, non-existent hips and legs longer than humanly imaginable. All this, and men still insist we relax and just embrace our natural figure?
The 21st century celebrity world is packed full of A-listers whose job it is to ensure they remain youthful and thin. Everyday glossy magazines across the country bombard us with weight-loss secrets and tips on getting the perfect flat stomach, so is it really any surprise that we feel just a little hard done by? Such is the state of ‘normal’ everyday life, that many people have now begun buying into this bizarre -and highly unrealistic- image of women. Women themselves are no exception to this; whilst acknowledging the extreme dedication this takes and the stupidity of it all, most of us are still guilty of at the same time secretly envying their beautiful bodies. Of course there is also the insecurity of men. Most women want to physically appeal to a man in their lives, and the success of doing this seems possible only by losing half a stone.
No matter what male friends, boyfriends or husbands reassuringly tell us though, there is still the element of fear and doubt in women. And why not? Let’s not deny that most young men are mesmerised by the sight of Jessica Alba or Megan Fox. During a recent episode of Pointless with a group of 19-21 year-old men I found this to be painfully true. The question was based around FHM’s 100 sexiest women of 2012. Predictably, the group were thrown into chaos as they quickly attempted to name between them every famous woman they found attractive and why. Awkward. Names agreed on by most were Cheryl Cole, Pixie Lott, Beyoncé, Rihanna and Mila Kunis. All young, sexy and flawlessly skinny. Yet these same men talk negatively of the image conveyed by magazines to young women on a daily basis. How exactly does this work? Sorry guys, but you can’t drool over it and condemn it at the same time.
So it’s not just the distant land of celebrity that yearns after this unattainable perfection. Because as much as men complain about women who can’t enjoy themselves properly when out for dinner, or who obsess over calories constantly and compare themselves to other women around them; really what they want is the end product without all the behind-the-scenes gross stuff. Men want to be able to look at pictures of sexy women in magazines and enjoy it for what it is, not have to think about how long she spends at the gym or how boring her daily diet must be. Unfortunately ladies, this is the harsh reality for most of us.
It’s not just men that are the problem though. Many people –including women- are quick to point the finger at men who find these skinny women attractive, however they’re not the only ones. It’s us, the women that cause the damage here too. Because men will think and fancy whoever/whatever they want regardless of our opinion, but it’s our constant efforts to try and fit in with their desires that have turned this from an innocent fantasy of an attractive celebrity into a realistic desire that seems suddenly attainable.
So maybe we do all need to relax and learn to feel comfortable with ourselves, leave the gym to the celebrities, and curl up with a family-sized mince pie.