Sonya

Hide my unsightly cellulite? No thanks.

Despite knowing how bad they can be for me and my mental health, I am still a reader of fashion magazines. I am a bit of a consumer at heart. I get a little thrill when I open the pages and the amount of “WANT. NOW.” overwhelms my senses and I am enthralled.

What takes me out of my “Oooo shoes!” trance is reading icky body shaming comments disguised as “helpful advice” for the girls.

My own fault for expecting something different from a mainstream women’s fashion magazine, I’m sure, but I was still disappointed to read a column in the latest issue of Shop ‘Til You Drop (September 2010), especially after their recent body love issue.

A writer from Australian Harper’s Bazaar has been writing a regular column for Shop from the viewpoint of being a plus sized woman in the fashion industry. I expect working in the fashion industry, being surrounded day in and day out by fabulous clothes that largely exclude a plus size body would take a toll on a person’s viewpoint of themselves, no matter how confident they usually are. The comment made in the column (“No one looks good with cottage cheese thighs” [pg. 60]), made me sad.

Yeah, ok, it’s probably seen as a pretty innocuous comment. Innocent, even. But couched in the “just us girls” rhetoric and the attitude that whenever girls get together, all they do is gossip about the state of their bodies, what they ate, what they bought, who is a bitch, how hot that guy is, it seems problematic at the very least.

Not everyone is at the stage of loving their bodies. I don’t love my body 100% of the time, 24 hours a day. To expect people to do so would be unrealistic. Everyone has their moments.

But, I worry about the influence of these comments and columns in a mainstream fashion magazines on impressionable teenage girls (hell, impressionable women and people who identify as women). I worry that it convinces them that it’s expected of them to hate their bodies, that they’re expected to tear themselves apart.

I’ll admit that, for a moment, I focused on my cellulite, the dimples on my arse.

Until I shook myself out of it. Until I remembered that I like my thighs, my arse. I’m still not quite at the love stage yet, but I’m getting there. And I don’t care if “no one wants to see it”, I will be happy when I’m ok to see it.

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  • qbertina

    It’s not necessary to LOVE one’s cottage cheese or whatever the hell thighs — nice if you do, certainly, but not a necessity for full enjoyment of life and summer and fashion. What I do think is necessary is to be able to just not think about it one way or the other. One has such and such thighs. So what. This isn’t Planet Editorial, this is real life. Every single one of us including actual professional models has bits that wouldn’t make it unretouched into the glossy spreads in a fashion mag. That’s just reality. Whatever writer made that comment is a person who hasn’t come to terms with that basic and elementary fact of life. It’s like she didn’t ever quite make it to adulthood. The correct response to her bullshit is: WHO CARES NOBODY CARES. I mean if you can muster a full-monty NO, HEY, COTTAGE CHEESE THIGHS LOOK FANTASTIC in the face of all the cultural damage we all share that carves otherwise into our psyches, that’s outstanding and full body acceptance marks to you, but I just don’t even think you should have to climb that mountain to be basically happy and basically well defended against the bullshit.

  • qbertina

    It's not necessary to LOVE one's cottage cheese or whatever the hell thighs — nice if you do, certainly, but not a necessity for full enjoyment of life and summer and fashion. What I do think is necessary is to be able to just not think about it one way or the other. One has such and such thighs. So what. This isn't Planet Editorial, this is real life. Every single one of us including actual professional models has bits that wouldn't make it unretouched into the glossy spreads in a fashion mag. That's just reality. Whatever writer made that comment is a person who hasn't come to terms with that basic and elementary fact of life. It's like she didn't ever quite make it to adulthood. The correct response to her bullshit is: WHO CARES NOBODY CARES. I mean if you can muster a full-monty NO, HEY, COTTAGE CHEESE THIGHS LOOK FANTASTIC in the face of all the cultural damage we all share that carves otherwise into our psyches, that's outstanding and full body acceptance marks to you, but I just don't even think you should have to climb that mountain to be basically happy and basically well defended against the bullshit.

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