Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Can we remove the 'model' from 'role model', please?

And I think that I might have an inverted-comma abuse problem...

A discussion on facebook (as per usual) has led me back to an issue which is at major risk of giving me an aneurysm.
The observation that there seems to be a worryingly high proportion of the female population out there who believe that their worth comes down to one simple calculation - the net worth of their face, boobs, and arse.

It's been 17 years - SEVENTEEN YEARS! - since the episode of The Simpsons where plucky young Lisa took exception at the drivel spouted by the talking Malibu Stacey doll.  And nothing has changed.

We have a culture where 'reality tv' stars are the nation's role models.  I would once-upon-a-time have said that this applied purely to the ‘mainstream’.  But in recent years it’s been sneaking into so-called 'alt-culture' too.  The rise of figures such as Dita Von Teese, and the ubiquity of ‘alt-modelling’ has meant that a scene which used to be known as the bolt-hole for those who felt they didn’t fit in anywhere else (bear in mind the standard joke of the ‘fat goth’) now also has these ideals of beauty without substance thrown at the individuals on a daily basis.  Ultra Vixens, Suicide Girls, etc etc have brought into what was supposed to be a punky, ‘fuck you’ culture another element where the pursuit of a prescribed notion of beauty is key.  Do you look good in PVC/latex/leather?  Then you don’t need a personality, m’love.

And so whilst the masses are busying themselves calorie-counting, plucking, waxing, painting, measuring, nothing else matters, right?  NOTE:  This does actually apply to men as well as women – you lot are getting it as bad as us these days, and you have my sympathy.

But.  While this stuff irritates the hell out of me, I do believe in personal freedom for us alleged grown-ups.  And so the step by a University’s Students' Union to have ‘modesty covers’ is a bit much, and will likely cause the knee-jerk reaction of ‘bloody feminists’.  I would hope that by the time people are of University age, they should have their attitudes pretty well formed, and the sight of these publications is unlikely to make them want to pack in their particle physics course, get cosmetic surgery, and start applying for places on ‘reality’ tv. 

However.  Without wanting to get all 'won't somebody think of the children?!', I did find it depressing when I noticed in a high-street newsagents that the ‘lads mags’ such as Zoo, Nuts, etc (and also the equally questionable ‘women’s mags’ which thrive only through their ability to feed their readers’ paranoia with all the ‘helpful’ articles on losing baby weight, keeping your man, getting a bikini body through sitting on your arse and watching Jeremy Kyle) all prominently displayed at the approximate eye-level of a 7-year old. 

Meanwhile, on the very top shelf, right next to the porn, were Private Eye, The Economist, Times Higher.  Dangerous stuff, clearly.

Stay gorgeous, honey.  Don't worry about anything, or think too hard, it'll give you wrinkles and then you'll have to have some poison injected into your face to rectify it.

And always remember:


  1. Top shelf wise my favourite so far is the local corner shop which has a Cat magazine next to the porn

  2. Brilliant. I think we need to have a competition where we snap pictures of the most contrasting publications on the top-shelf of a newsagent's.

    Of course I would struggle with this, being as vertically challenged (read: shortarse) as I am ;-)

  3. Think Sheffield University's hectoring is bad? Compare them to this bunch of offensive clowns.

  4. *blinks* well excuse my white privilege, but I am most offended and enraged...

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