Body Image

Saturday 22nd October

We watched a programme on TV last night about body image.  It was presented by the ever-sardonic Anne Robinson, a presenter of a certain age who has apparently used many devices, (surgical?) to appear to be younger than she really is.  And maybe in this wonderful new age of “Youth” extending into one’s Sixties and possibly even Seventies we are all subject to varying degrees of age-deception; hair dye is probably the most common and maybe the most innocent of deceptions.  Anyway, the programme, as all such ‘reality’ documentaries tend to do, possibly concentrated on the most extreme forms of body image consciousness.  We saw a young thirty-something man who applied every lotion and potion ever invented each morning to try to achieve some sort of Perfection, and another young man who had had surgery to give him what he considered the perfect nose.  On the other side of the coin we had Miriam Margoyles, joyfully chubby and eating her way merrily to a perfect size 22, while Anne herself picked on a couple of sticks of asparagus and a salad for lunch.  There was also a perfectly healthy older man, whose ‘regime’ consisted of a seven minute tooth-brush and wash and shave in the morning with absolutely no conditioner, moisturizer or any other unguent applied.  He was perfectly happy with his slightly craggy looks.  There were also two young women from Liverpool who spent £100 a week on clothes and make-up, and who would rather be dead than seen in the same dress ever again; incredibly these girls happily wore clubbing clothes once only.  They also had tattoo-ed their eyebrows and lips.  Why????

I kept asking myself why? Also incidentally how they could either justify or afford £100 a week on their looks.  If I spend £10 a month I have overspent drastically. Although when I was working I did tend to buy more clothes which I am now gradually using up.  I tend to have two pairs of jeans, or shorts in the summer, one in the wash and one I am wearing – and a handful of cheap tee shirts.  And it doesn’t bother me at all if people see me in the same clothes: I rarely notice what anyone else is wearing myself.  But more concerning is why our (mostly) younger people feel so compelled to ‘look good’ or not even good but ‘perfect’ all the time.  Are the pressures from their peers so great that imperfection is frowned on, or is it the fashion and ‘beauty’ industry conspiring to persuade these youngsters that their lives will be so much better if they look like “this”.  The over-riding feeling one got from the programme was how stupid they all were and also how unhappy.  No amount of ‘perfection’ would please them.  But, as we know, these are real concerns for many, bulimia and anorexia just one side-effect of our increasingly “Celebrity” culture.  Let’s face it, we can’t all be perfect.  As I shave every morning I just shrug at the image before me, because I for one achieved it long ago and the rest of you are far behind, you will never catch up…..hahaha