Don’t ask me how I got here, but why not do as I did this morning while chronically writer’s-blocked and have a look at Glamour magazine’s website; specifically, this article under Health & Fitness called 16 Ways I Learned To Love My Body. (You can even look at it as a slideshow. Woo.) This is the thrust of the piece: 16 “body-image and weight-loss bloggers” who have learned to love their own bodies [not pictured, crucially] offer a tip each on how to do the same. What a splendid, inspirational idea in a world of body fascism, low self-esteem, size-sero angst and epidemic dysmorphia. I can’t say I’m familiar with Glamour magazine, other than it launched in the UK in a “handbag”-sized edition in 2001, which struck me as rather smart. It is aimed, I am led to believe, at women aged between 18 and 49. Anyway, let’s hear a few of these tips:
Step off the scale
“When I stopped letting the scale steal my happiness and be a gauge of my self-worth, I was able to really build a true love relationship with my body. Learning to love your body and be accepting of everything – excellence and flaws – is a process and a journey but one well worth it!” Stephanie Quilao, Back in Skinny Jeans
Realize [sic] that fitness is not about skinny jeans or skinny-girl stereotypes
“I never felt like I fit in, and I struggled with those feelings for years. Eventually I started looking at myself as a whole and realized that I am intelligent, funny, unique, and yes, I am beautiful. True beauty is not about fitting into a cultural stereotype but a quality that shines from within. That doesn’t mean we should stop trying to improve; it just means that our time is better spent focusing on building a strong, healthy body and mind rather than trying to fit into a cookie-cutter mold [sic].”
Diana Swallow, Scale Junkie
Dare to not compare your body.
“If I compare myself with other women, I can create a million reasons why I should hate my body. Comparing myself with others always leaves me feeling inadequate and unhappy about my body, so I choose not to do it. My body might not be perfect compared with a model or even my neighbor, but it is the only body I will ever have. I would rather accept this fact and love my body the way it is than waste my time hating any part of it.”
Mary Thompson, A Merry Life
And so it goes. There are 13 further tips, each one empowering, confidence-boosting, positive and dismissive of accepted body-shape tyranny, if a little gooey in sentiment. Either way: you go, girlfriend! Except, what do you imagine the women look like in the photos used to accompany the 17 tips? Lumpy, different, imperfect, odd, off-message, normal? Nope.
Each lady – a model, of course, not the laptop-bound dispenser of the tip – is gym-toned, skinny, muscular, tanned “cookie-cutter mold”, Special-K-advert perfect. Indeed, each one could be popped handily into a handbag. There’s even one of notorious fat gargoyle Gwyneth Paltrow. Well done, Glamour magazine – I ask you this, in the voice of Alan Parker Urban Warrior: are you part of the solution, or part of the problem?