Hmm, haven’t posted for a while. Should do it more, it’s good for the soul. Anyway…
One of my most favourite books is Good Omens, written by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. In it, Famine (yes, that one) is masquerading as a fast-food magnate, selling a range of meals, called MEALZ™, with all nutritional content removed and extra sugar and fat added. He explains his project by saying that it appeals to his sense of irony that wealthy people in the developed world with enough to eat could happily pay to become obese and die of malnutrition at the same time.
Last night I was reminded of it when, very unusually, I watched a programme on ITV, The Truth About Size Zero, in which Louise Redknapp volunteered to go on a size zero diet for one month to see what the effects were. What a profoundly depressing experience it was.
I’ve always had a liking for Louise and Jamie Redknapp. Jamie always seemed like a fairly sensible honest pro when he was still playing football and together they seem to have a sensible and “normal” life (whatever that means). She was gratifyingly righteously angered by it all and proceeded to pour scorn on much of this loathsome cultural embarrassment. The section where she was talking to Mel Chisholm about her time with the Spice Girls was particularly instructive. Telling how the press basically described her as a bloater when she got up to a size 14 made me damn near apoplectic, after all the average clothes size for a woman in this country is around a 12-14 now. So a whole load of normal women were effectively being written off as waddling lardarses. Nice when this is actually your customer base, numb nuts.
Looking at the list of women queuing up to torture themselves like this, I find it amazing, to return to the Good Omens theme, that they would willingly pay large amounts of money to other people to have the opportunity to starve themselves to death. It is quite frankly, obscene. It was made worse by the kind of glib explanation offered by the fashion industry as to why this state of affairs continues:
“Well, the clothes look better on thinner girls”
Well, get with the programme people: they don’t. If you want to look like a rag-festooned famine victim, then great, otherwise, don’t bother.
The other little irony that was not lost on me was while ITV were showing this programme, the advert breaks were filled with ads for magazines with the über-skank, Victoria Beckham splattered across their fronts. Why is this woman held up as any kind of example. Jesus, she is repulsive. Imagine taking a lolly stick and inexpertly sticking two lumps of roughly shaped plasticine to it; that’s what Mrs Becks looks like. She looks like an emaciated pig in lipstick.
I despair because is what my three-year-old daughter is likely to be exposed to during her childhood. I don’t want her to develop neuroses about her weight or about the food she eats. I want her to be fit, healthy and happy. Is that too much to ask?