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Give children back their childhoods. And give our body-image back to us.

March 2, 2010

David Cameron and Linda Papadopoulis are quite right to wave the banner for the de-sexualisation of our kids in the media. But let’s ride on the wave of their enthusiasm and spread the love. Let’s get behind the campaign for real bodies.

Responsible programmes like Embarrassing Bodies and How to Look Good Naked with Gok Wan are doing their bit by persuading real people to take off their clothes. I did it myself, desperately seeking symmetry and a nipple. As y’do.

What I was actually seeking, of course, was inner beauty.

Nah. Bollocks to that; I already have bucket loads of inner beauty. Trouble is, it’s invisible, and there’s also no way of knowing it from my behaviour…

No, what I was really after was an America’s-Next-Top-Model level of beauty. I haven’t got it, but I am happy to be relatively normal again, with two nipples and a fairly smashing pair of knockers.

But here’s the thing…. would I have had several painful operations following my breast cancer if I hadn’t been influenced by the media since I was tiny to believe that women have to look “like that”.

Would my asymmetrical breasts and my lost nipple have caused me so much secret angst all these years if I lived in a world where different shapes and sizes were not just acceptable but celebrated?

So…what if….oooh, here’s an idea…..what if absolutely everyone got behind the campaign for real women – nay, real people – since men are being affected by poor body-image issues now too?

Think of all the problems the creation of that Utopia would solve. Our children might stop prematurely giving up on their childhoods. Anorexics, bulimics and overeaters might stop destroying themselves. They’d no longer have any excuse to binge, purge or drown their sorrows in donuts if everyone accepted the I’m okay, you’re okay approach to physical appearance. (Well alright, people don’t need much of an excuse to commit slow suicide but it would be a start wouldn’t it?)

Let’s do it! And let it begin with breasts! Yes, I know, I’m obsessed.  But have a look at the real boobs on Wow, they’re weird. But reassuringly individual.

If you’ve come back from the breast site – and you probably haven’t – I was saying that we’ve seriously got to do something about the iron-grip of the media on our body image!

I eerily predicted in my book Getting it off my chest that plastic surgery would first become commonplace and then addictive. It has! I’m a seer!

What if the rest of it comes true? What if it does eventually come with a government health warning…

…and then with patches to help us all give up, which will probably take the form of large hoods with eye-holes…

…and finally become illegal…

…and go underground…

…and fall into the hands of charlatans…

…so we’ll all be walking around looking like the Phantom of the Opera.

Aaaaarghghghg! It is! It’s all coming true! Let’s stop now, before it’s too late. I’m begging you!

Wait though….I love watching the shenanigans on America’s Next Top Model. Hmmm. Let me see….

Maybe we could allow that series to continue as a sort of period piece or…

… we could present it in the proper way as a natural history programme: with narration by David Attenborough

…or we could screen it on Saturday afternoons and re-title it…


Yeah. Sorted.

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