This bugs me to no end. The “ideal” female body type that is relentlessly driven home then reenforced by popular culture is already completely unrealistic. Girls are taught from a very young age that if they’re not thin, they are unattractive. And when I say “thin” as I’m sure you know, I’m not talking about “fit” or “at a healthy weight for your height and body type.” It’s barbie or bust for American women, and with the immense pressure to be “sexy” and “attractive,” is it any wonder we’re a nation of eating disorders?
This story from Yahoo may involve one of the largest shark jumpings in pop culture history.
“She’s like a Page 3 girl,” Sophia Neophitou, who books Victoria’s Secret Shows, told the New York Times earlier this year referring to the half-naked women featured in British tabloids. “She’s like a footballer’s wife, with the too-blond hair and that kind of face that anyone with enough money can go out and buy.”
The blogger, “Skinny Gurl,” who critiqued Upton’s curves as “lardy” last week went even farther. Skinny Gurl’s blog, SkinnyGossip, is one of many so-called “thinspiration” sites that promote extreme diets and worship the bodies of extra-lean celebrities. In her June post on Upton, Skinny Gurl compared her to a cow, a “piggie,” and described the young beauty as: “Huge thighs, NO waist, big fat floppy boobs, terrible body definition–she looks like a squishy brick.”
The woman they are talking about is Kate Upton. You know, cover model for Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, model for Victoria’s Secret, and sometime actress.
Kate Upton. I’m not going to post any of her lingerie or swimsuit pictures, but if you don’t know who she is, here is a link to her official web site.
Claiming that Kate Upton looks like a “squishy brick” only shows that the blogger “Skinny Gurl” has the same grasp on reality as David Barton, Bryan Fischer, and Chuck Norris. It is insane, and it is harmful. Some teenage girl is going to read that, and either stick a finger down her throat after she eats or just decide that eating is a luxury she can not afford. Or worse. If you are telling women that Kate Upton doesn’t measure up on the “attractiveness” meter, what damage are you doing to their self-esteem?
For her part, Kate isn’t letting it get her down:
Although she hasn’t responded directly to haters like Skinny Gurl (contrary to some news reports), in a recent interview with the Sunday Times UK, she said, “My body is something that you have to work out and eat healthily for. I’m not doing drugs or not eating. I want to enjoy life and I can’t be enjoying life if I’m not eating and miserable.”
Which is a healthy attitude to have and an important message for teens struggling with their own body image. But remember, Kate is 5 foot 11 and measures 36′-25′-34′. Kate Upton herself has a body that is unrealistic for the vast majority of people to ever obtain.
Just not unrealistic enough for some people, apparently.
As a culture, especially with the obesity epidemic in the United States, we should be teaching teens to eat right, exercise, and be healthy, not to starve themselves in pursuit of the unobtainable. The media has already done enough damage to the self-esteem and health of millions by making Kate Upton the beauty ideal. To suggest that she isn’t good enough borders on criminal.