Urgh, January. Everyone’s put on a stone over Christmas and is starting to panic about it, but it’s so cold that we just want to sit inside eating buckets of suet and watching Hollyoaks under an extra large slanket. Everywhere you look there’s adverts for low fat ready meals, TOWIE exercise DVDs and, if you’re a little more desperate, plastic surgery clinics. We look down at our pasty mottled skin, our ham hock thighs and rippling stomachs and sigh, before eating 5 Muller Lights in a row (it’s OK because they’re low fat!).
Chief among the chirpy sculpted fitness brigade is Davina McCall. She’s got a mixed rep but her workout DVDs are actually quite good- not gimmicky, and bloody hard work. At around 300 different times in my life I’ve decided to get healthy and thinner, and I’ve managed Davina Fit for 3 days before giving up, dry heaving and shouting ‘slave driving bitch!!’ at the telly. Then I tried to go running in the park, taking a scenic route past the junkies and through swathes of dog and goose shit, which ended up with me crashing into a bench and wondering if I was actually dying. I hate being healthy and it hates me. But I’m 25 and not getting any younger; gone are the days when I could eat 2 packets of chocolate digestives a day and stay at 7 1/2 stone. So what should I do if I want to stay thin? The internet would have me believe that plastic surgery is the way forward.
It’s practically impossible these days to illegally download a copy of The Notebook (at 5am, when you’re pissed and lonely) without seeing a million adverts for slightly seedy looking plastic surgery clinics like ‘Transform’. You can have whatever you want done these days, and everyone’s got a secret list in their head of what they’d have if they went on Extreme Makeover. Mine is teeth, nose, and maybe boobs, but just a little bit as they’re pretty banging already. But when does it stop? Do I get my dimples filled in? My lips filled out? My neck botoxed and my arse inflated (or deflated, as the case may be)? I worry about what I look like, and people that say they don’t are either hippies or liars. If money was no object, or if I accidentally put on 4 stone, would I be able to say no to having my face sliced open or the fat sucked out of my legs? I don’t know that I would. Hopefully I’d manage to stop short of looking like ‘It’s Jaarquiee’ Stallone, who looks like a dying cat that’s had an allergic reaction to some peanuts.
Extreme Makeover is a pretty hardcore makeover show, but minus the surgery, fat shaming programs are everywhere. You can see stuff like Supersize Vs. Superskinny or Embarrassing Fat Bodies almost every night. Those poor fat sods, waddling about, showing their rashes and chafing and folds to the camera, spotty chins wobbling as they eat yet another McMuffin. So we’re told fat=disgusting. But we’re also told by Gok Wan and women’s magazines, to ‘Celebrate your curves! Embrace your beautiful bodies!’ (vomit) and that what counts is on the inside, even if they start having a go at Britney Spears on the next page because she’s been pictured with 1cm of fat on her hip. So which one is it?
The answer, my friends, lies with Lena Dunham. SORRY, sorry, I know, she’s been overexposed to death; but therein lies my point. Season 2 of Girls has just started on TV, and with it has come yet another round of discussions about her weight. Every single article about her I have read includes something about how wonderful it is to see a ‘normal’ sized woman on screen, how brave it was of her to get naked for scenes, and the waves that her normal nakedness has caused. My question is, where was this ripple? I think it must have existed only in the minds of TV reviewers and the journalists that work for the weekend paper’s magazines. Because when I watched the program, I didn’t even notice her body. It is not my business to notice her body in those terms, and neither is it the business of the people that have been writing about her. By drawing attention to it- even if you’re trying to do it in a positive light- it makes it a ‘thing’. I doubt Dunham sat down and thought right, I’m going to spend 6 months writing this script, but none of it will actually matter; no one will have noticed because they’ll be so blind sided by me getting my bum out. And FYI, she’s what, a size 10? Why on earth is it news, or ‘controversial’, or pushing boundaries when a size 10 woman shows her tits on the telly? I feel like filming a 30 stone man in a fez and high heels windmilling his dick right into the camera and then sending it to a few of these columnists who’ve praised Dunham like she’s some sort of cellulite martyr.
Sometimes I think the only way to get away from all this shite is to go a bit mad, Howard Hughes style. Lock myself in my room without internet or TV, pissing into bottles and growing my toenails. I won’t be able to exercise but I won’t be able go to Sainsbury’s and buy 4 different cheeses for my tea either. Unfortunately that won’t be happening as I’m fucking starving. Best get my trainers out eh Davina?