Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Too fat for that, too thin to win. Welcome to The Era of the Body Fascists...starting with Britney

Ok, I’m fully standing on my soapbox again.

MTV VMAs 2007.

Britney Spears.

I heard about the performance before I saw it. I heard she looked ‘really out of shape’ and ‘overweight’, her performance was ‘lazy and underrehearsed’, ‘listless and disengaged’.

Is it just me or is the media making far too much money off poking fun at the girl? I watched the performance and I will definitely say I think she was ill advised to perform as she just didn’t look emotionally or mentally ready for it. I think she still very much in recovery and it was just too soon for her to perform at such a big show. I think it was brave but she clearly doesn’t have good management. If I was her manager, I’d have told her she wasn’t ready…and not pimped her out some more. Probably would have gotten fired on the spot, but so be it.

The girl is only 25 and has been through a complete and very public breakdown, a divorce with a messy ensuing custody battle, and is the mother to 2 kids under the age of 4. All of that is a hell of a lot for anybody to deal with and the vitriol with which the media attacked her performance has really pissed me off.

I know MTV is known for its crass humour and playing far too close to the edge but Sarah Silverman calling her 2 kids mistakes was a bit much. They’re children. They’ll hear that one day.

But the bit that by far pissed me off beyond belief is the media calling her fat. What. Are. They. Talking. About.

As you can see from the pic, Britney is far from fat. I think she looks pretty buff and I can only hope I look that buff after 2 kids!!! After everything she’s been through, I was very impressed she looked as good as she did. Granted, she doesn’t look like the uber-buff Britney we all knew, but seeing as we’ve all watched her world fall apart, I would have expected just a little bit more kindness. No?

And all those overweight journalists who are poking fun at her from the confines of their cookie jars, need to get a grip…or perhaps loosen their grip on the cookie jar.

And the same day, in London, models 1, one of the biggest international modelling agencies, hits the news for refusing to take on a size zero model. Dios mio, what’s a girl to do. Your damned if you’re not skinny and you’re damned if you’re too skinny.

At a height of 5 ft 10 inches and with a 22 inch waist I can only imagine Charlotte carter must look a little scary. She says she felt that she always had to be thinner to land the biggest jobs and in Europe, the thinner she got, the more she was booked. Its great that she had this to say:

I have to point out she's about half a stone thinner than this picture now.

"When Models 1 advised me to gain weight it was like a psychological wall coming down,' she said. 'It helped me to realise that I was too thin. I was impressed that an agency was actually addressing my well-being."

But while I think its commendable they are taking a stand against girls who are visibly underweight, I just don’t like the media OCD style fixation on the female body. Too fat, too skinny. Eating too much, not eating enough. Thunder thighs, visible ribs. Double chins, spindly arms. Big bum, bony bum. It just doesn’t stop.

We’re human, we’re not perfect. We’re not supposed to be. We’re all designed to be different. I’ve seen what goes into the airbrushing for magazines, press shots, album covers etc…and its nuts. They have teams of staff dedicated to ‘touching up’ the pictures. So the media is delivering images that aren’t real in the first place. Most weeks the cover of those crappy magazines (you know who you are) has something to do with FAT!!!! or SKINNY!!!! splashed across the front. It pisses me off, so I never buy them. They airbrush out ribcages of the skinny chicks, they amplify cleavages, they ‘slim’ down thighs, they ‘tuck’ tums…all in a bid to create an image of perfection that didn’t exist in the first place.

Is it any surprise eating disorders are on the increase? And its creeping in with younger and younger girls as well. It’s a mental disorder that’s prevalent in high achieving girls who strive for perfection and control in their lives. It seems to affect the upper/middle class girls more. And it looks scary, and heartbreaking. I lived with a few, with varying degrees of seriousness at school. And while I can appreciate that the media’s body fascism isn’t the only or necessarily the prime cause, it doesn’t help. Indirectly all this body perfection obsessiveness makes more and more, less strong minded people, feel less attractive. It’s the younger people I worry about. What does it do to them?

Will it ever stop?

What do you think?


papa said...

Think they're all warped. The whole thing stunk of some sort of planned Panza attack. But boy oh boy...she needs to sack her management...pulling out from the show even hours before would have been a better move...cause man, her dance moves and lip-sync were WACK. Truth is that EVERYBODY was expecting something mind-blowing. But, i kind of feel for the babe sha...but question is; is she 'bovtherd'? Probably hasn't got a clue....First we lost Whitney, then Lauyrn, then Ms Britney, then Amy's on the ropes and Britney's coming back...then...NOT!! Please Lord save Lily.....

And someone need to start a Mary Whitehouse campaign against the E! Channel...now that'll lead any young star to the crackpipe everyday.

Uzo said...

So well said.

I think Britney needs to be left alone. I agree that she wasnt ready for such a performance but she looked hot..again - ill advised choice of stage costume but she is good physical condition i think.

This obsession about the female form is so worrying and no matter how confident i am, every now and again, i find myself wrrying about not fitting the so called ideal...

Very very well said

Tiger Tem said...

Thanks Papa, thanks Uzo.

It is scary just how obsessive the media is with the female form.

A very clever form of repression of women if you ask me.