Losing weight is a big goal for me this year, although to date I’ve done nothing about it (putting down the chocolate brownie right now).
It seems I am not alone in this goal and women’s magazines everywhere are taking the whole new year resolution of getting slimmer to new heights. You can’t find a magazine that doesn’t offer a new diet, training program or before/after weight loss story at the moment.
In the meantime women are getting into arguments over how these magazines are portraying the whole body issue.
Goodness me, the debate has been heated, particularly over the covers of two of our local women’s mags.
First up, The Australian Women’s Weekly featured a naked 50-year-old woman on the cover and admitted a little photoshopping of some freckles and sunspots. A row erupted over how she wasn’t a typical 50-year-old and it was wrong to photoshop her. Now Deborah Hutton, the 50 year-old in question, is a model. Modelling is her career so I guess she starts out with a genetic windfall and works it to her advantage, I’m guessing she’s probably more familiar with the inside of a gym than I’m ever going to be.
While I am jealous she looks that good at 50 I have to accept that I didn’t look as good as Deborah Hutton when I was 20 let alone now. Even if she wasn’t photoshopped and I was I still wouldn’t match up.
I was however, surprised by some of the on-line comments the cover generated. There was the issue of whether we should have photoshopped covers but there was also a lot of comments that became particularly vitriolic toward Deborah herself and claiming she doesn’t represent a true 50 year-old. I’m pretty sure she feels she represents the 50 year-old that she happens to be. Does she represent the majority? Nah. Does that matter?
Now another argument is taking place over last week’s New Idea who did put a non-model on the cover. Julie Goodwin, winner of Masterchef and now author of cookbooks. In a gutsy move Julie donned a swimsuit and stood next to some stick thin creatures wearing bikinis. The article was on “best bodies at every age”. Ros Reines a columnist for the Sunday Telegraph took the magazine to task saying the “message to love our bodies whatever their size and age is inspirational” but that it was “irresponsible to pretend that it’s fine to be overweight” and suggested that a waist measurement of more than 80cm meant Julie was putting herself at risk of “type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers”.
Julie responded with her own blog on the issue which has been featured on a number of prominent media sites. Happy, and obviously comfortable in own skin why should Julie want to change her shape?
The whole kerfuffle got me thinking about a number of issues. Firstly, what do we want to see represented in our magazines? Do we really, truly want to see people just like us or do we want the fantasy image? I know I get frustrated sometimes with the perfection on display in the magazine world but would I buy magazines that featured folk just like me? In all honesty, I’m not sure I would.
Secondly, although Reines comments may have been misdirected her point is correct, being overweight isn’t good for you. So why do so many of us struggle with it? What does inspire and motivate women to get moving, eat right and shed the unwanted kilos?
Thirdly, why are we all obsessed with bodies?