Last week, a dear friend ended up in the intensive care unit with, among other things, septicemia. (She is much better now and at home again, before you worry, but thank you!) So I spent several days in the ICU, mostly with her, but also seeing all the other people who were in there, and it makes you think. Then, when I opened my computer today, I found this half-finished rant about magazines and body talk and it seemed the right time to share it. I’m not a prude. I like a nice bum as much as the next woman and I don’t want us to stop looking. But can we talk about something else?
It’s not me, it’s you.
Anyone who knows me will know that I love a good mag. I love the frocks, the recipes, the ridiculous life advice, the articles about makeup that I am never going to wear, the book reviews, the crosswords and yes, I admit it, I am as much of a sucker for celebrity goss as the next person. (Although with regard to the last item, I long ago stopped buying magazines that don’t even bother trying to disguise that they are making stuff up.)
I can even put up with the photoshop, if there are enough beautiful frocks (although, as Meghan Trainor would say, ‘we know that shit ain’t real; c’mon now, make it stop!).
But I have had it with this nonsense about bodies.
Seriously, people, I am NOT INTERESTED IN HEARING THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH MY BODY OR ANYONE’S BODY.
Do not be telling me one week that it’s all about the new curves and health, then the next trumpet about someone getting fat, then the next plaster your cover with people who are ‘scary skinny.’ Your hypocrisy is showing and I have had it.
And especially, stop it already with this nonsense about someone having a ‘new body’.
Is there any headline more asinine? More ridiculous? More patently wrong?
Allow me to let you in on a secret. She (because, let’s face it, it is 9999 times out of 10,000 a she) doesn’t have a new body. She has the same one she had last week. And last month, and last year, and next year, should she live that long. The same liver, the same spleen, the same bones (although some of them might be a little flaky now, if she’s been crash dieting to please you). The same brain and the same heart, (not that you care about that) and I resent the implication that there was anything wrong with them before or that they are better now because their housing looks a little different.
The person in that body is the same. They might be happier about this particular part of their life now, but how much of that happiness, especially if they are a celebrity, is due to the fact that they know they are being judged for their appearance every time they wake up? And they may feel healthier now, but if they do it’s because they’ve changed their habits to healthier ones and that would have worked whether it had changed their outsides or not.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could really order up a new body? I know several mothers (and fathers, for that matter) who want the one with the extra arm. And my friends who have bung knees and allergies and cancer and Parkinsons would probably be in the market for a new one too.
But we only get one. Bodies are really important things – to the people who own them. They allow us to live our lives in a corporeal world, to work, to play and to give and receive pleasure and these are wondrous things. Sure, one of the many things we can enjoy about them is how they look. But, magazines, until you start treating bodies as part of people, or even as complex, wonderful machines that we have barely begun to understand and not just objects for my leering at, I will not be buying you.
I know, I know. You wouldn’t publish it if people didn’t buy it. You’re only responding to the market. If there is to be change, it has to start with the public. Well, let me start it. Leave the body talk off the cover and out of the pages and I’ll consider your product. Until then, I’m not buying.
Sadly, I think my money’s safe.
Copyright © Imelda Evans 2016