Without doubt, one of the most difficult, painful and awkward aspects to living with extra weight is all wrapped up in the clothes that we wear. Clothes shopping for me is a little like walking on a knife’s edge, balanced between delight that I find something that I like and that fits me and that looks good and I can afford – and the opposite, where everything I look at is too small, too expensive, a dreadful colour, or more often than not, so old and frumpy I wouldn’t let my grandmother out in it.
The scientists might not know it, but our universe is actually made up of two different worlds: there’s the wonderful fantasy world of frothy make-believe, endless beauty and fabulous wealth which celebrities inhabit – and then there’s the real world the rest of us live in. For most of us, aspiring to that seamless, cool and exciting world is a given – especially when it comes to looks. I mean, who doesn’t want that set of perfect pearly oh-so-white teeth, or that marvellous cascade of glossy, thick hair? Of course, those celebrities always go on about having to put up with the paparazzi following them around – but that’s a small price to pay for looking so amazing all the time.
There’s a wonderful old peace-lover’s saying: the pen is mightier than the sword.
In this modern age of war and terrorism, it can sometimes be hard to believe that there’s anything out there more dangerous or destructive than a bomb. But history has shown us again and again that ideas – and the words used to express them – can have more widespread, devastating and profound consequences than any explosive.
Are you fat? Or are you obese? Are you simply a little overweight, or are you cursed with having a fabulous set of big bones? Do you think your bum looks big in this, or whether that makes your arms look flabby? Which of these terms have you used? And which of these set your teeth on edge or make you want to kick somebody?
It’s no secret that magazines alter images of women to make them look better. I’ve always found it amusing that whenever the debate about body image comes up, the magazines all shrug in innocence as though they don’t really have any control over it.
But regardless of who controls it, the simple fact of the matter is, when images of women’s bodies are altered to make them look slimmer and younger, it leaves an impression on anybody looking at it. And if you feel a little lacking in confidence, or if you already have a poor body image, seeing altered photos will make you feel bad about yourself. Even if it only happens on a subconscious level – which is, to be honest, where all the damage is done.