Liz Jones wrote a column in the Daily Mail last month that made me think “Wow, so freaking true”. The article was titled Super-skinny legs are sick not sexy but they are worryingly becoming the norm for young women. Okay, not the most enticing headline (I personally would have stuck with “Super-skiny legs – sick, not sexy” but that’s just me) but an article after my own heart.
As she writes:
These super-skinny legs are not attractive, or remotely sexy, but you can rest assured their owners always make sure their pins (and never has a word been so apt) are on display.
It is as if they were saying: “I deny myself every day to obtain legs like these. They prove how committed I am to fame, to being a fashion victim. I have starved and exercised my way to the top – and I am bloody well going to stay here.”
Never mind that two young Brazilian models died from anorexia-linked illnesses. Never mind that pro-anorexia websites – which display pictures of emaciated celebrities and models as “thinspiration” – have mushroomed.
Never mind that French MPs are to back a new law to bar the media from promoting anorexia; judges may punish those responsible for a magazine photo of a model whose “thinness altered her health”.
In an increasingly fat-afraid world, super-skinny is still (or more than ever) the ideal and normal is no longer applicable. In fact, what is normal? When a plus-size model like Whitney Thompson from America’s Next Top Model can be a size 10-12, what is a normal size?
Liz Jones writes:
One 26-year-old anorexic told me that, aged eight, she looked at her chubby thighs and wondered why they were “all joined together, which didn’t seem right”. She spent the next ten years in and out of eating disorder clinics as she fought to “get the triangle”.
The thighs “joined together” is supposed to be right – it’s freaking normal people and we’re losing sight of that ideal. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not advocating unhealthiness or obesity etc – I’m advocating a return to the ideal of normal. The ideal of a body that is as it’s designed to be. A body that is healthy and strong and one that doesn’t take deprivation and denial to be achieved.
Since I started my exercise adventure in earnest when I moved here in October, I’ve been fighting against the temptation to look at my body and disapprove. There are women at work who’s thighs have never met and probably need an introduction (“Left thigh, meet right thigh. You guys should hang out.”) and despite all my confidence and love of my body in the past, I find myself envying them.
And then I stop myself. I stop the disapproval and I make myself stand in front my bedroom mirror naked and appreciate my body. My body is stronger than it’s ever been. It’s healthier than it’s ever been. I have muscles that allow me to carry my groceries home without stopping for breath. I have lungs that are stronger despite my asthma and bronchiectisus (who the hell knows how to spell that anyway?) and I have more energy than ever before.
Damn, I’m a fine specimen of a woman and who cares if my thighs are good friends?