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Monday, July 26, 2010

Lynne Featherstone causes a flap

Lynne Featherstone is a Home Officer Minister in the coalition government. When male journalists want to be patronising about her, they refer to her accolades as "most attractive MP" (voted by whom?).Yesterday the Sunday Times reported how she wants action to combat the growing problem of body image for men and women. It quoted her as saying that Christina Hendricks from Mad Men, a size 14, is the sort of shape we should be emulating: not the skinnies like Victoria Beckham.

Today predictably a number of writers and broadcasters have been getting in a flap, misconstruing what she said. Featherstone says in exasperation "oh for goodness sake!" on her blog. She wasn't implying that we should all look like Hendricks as the new role model but that's where most of the newspapers have put the focus.

Watching the Gok Wan programme How to Look Good Naked, I've been shocked at how young people are conditioned to think about body shape from the age of 10 or even younger. On another programme, The Ugly Truth about Beauty, many said they would consider all manner of plastic surgery to get the body of a celebrity. The Gok  programme is trying to get the government to include body image in the national curriculum. And bearing in mind how many young people are depressed and bullied in the UK, we clearly need to deal with this. It's often to do with body image.

So I'm glad to see Featherstone taking up the cudgels. The fashion industry needs to get real and stop using size zero models. Magazines should role-model using "normal" sized models (those referred to as plus size, who are usually a size 12 - 14).  But I don't think we'll ever see an end to celebrities being airbrushed and Photoshopped, which Featherstone wants to see. It's too prevalent. Even magazines like Woman & Home do it. The difference is that when you're older and wiser, you know darn well that the various 40 and 50 something celebrities don't really look so radiant and wrinkle-free. When you're a youngster, you don't have that perspective and it's seen as normality. 


Maggie May said...

Don't really know Lynne Featherstone but I think the Gok Wan programmes are good because he does help people to feel good about themselves and I agree that more should be done to help people with self image.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Buggles Balham High Road said...

I love Gok but clothes sizing is very confusing now-is it called vanity sizing or something because I am having to buy a size or two smaller than I used to as my usual clothes size is too big for me.