When it comes to beauty ideals today, there can be no denying that the general rule of thumb is that the thinner you are the more attractive you are, which, at twenty-one, is fairly easy to adhere to, at fifty, not so much.
Because, the reality of life is, that being on a diet for a few months is obtainable, much longer and you either need a shit load of money and an entourage of nutritionists, personal chefs and trainers or the willpower of a gladiator.
It made for welcome viewing then, to see the pictures of Linda Evangelista, the famous nineties supermodel, in the press yesterday. Described as ‘incredibly youthful’ she was papped making a rare appearance in Tokyo, but we all know why she really made the news – she’s put on weight.
She was labelled ‘unrecognisable’ which seems to be the go-to word for tabloid newspapers for getting fat and now she’s all over the internet for not maintaining the size six figure she had in her twenties.
Has she put weight on? Yeah sure, she’s far bigger than she was in her modelling heyday – does she look bad for it? Not at all. I wouldn’t say she looks better – she looks real and, with those cheek bones, still a damn fine woman.
But yes, she has put on weight.
The shocking part about her weight gain however, isn’t that she’s piled on a few pounds, but that we all seem so shocked that a middle-aged woman in the public eye isn’t a size zero – that she doesn’t spend her life adhering to what she *should* look like, (according to the media) but opts to shun the expectation of the ‘female ideal’ and just chill the f**k out.
Compare her to Victoria Beckham – reported, recently, as having survived on spinach and the odd bit of sashimi for much of her adult life.
Of the two women, one may have a more desirable body (though that is highly debatable) yet when it comes to self-confidence and assurance, it’s a no brainer who wins, and isn’t it that which makes a woman sexy, not her ability to say no to a bread basket.
But sadly, we continue to be more shocked by a woman in her fifties filling out a bit (and still looking great for it) than one who has clearly had an eating disorder for a decade.
I understand that it is part of Victoria Beckham’s brand to look like a prisoner of war and that her self-worth would unlikely survive putting on half a stone, but for all her fame and wealth, can she really be living a genuinely full and satisfied life (literally and metaphorically) being so grossly underweight?
To make it clear, I’m not criticising being skinny, hell, I’d sell my grandmother for a fast metabolism, but that we are more accepting of a woman spending her life in a state of semi-starvation than of putting of weight.
Linda Evangelista shouldn’t be applauded for putting on weight (who cares!) She should be applauded for sticking two fingers up at starving herself and having a splash of olive oil and a glass of wine (because, let’s be honest, she’s hardly obese).
It’s not weight gain which should be celebrated but the fact a woman, such as her, has finally found *real* control.
Sure, she might have less control around a cake but she’s gained something much more admirable for a person in the public eye. Control over her own life, the freedom to relax and value herself for more than her resistance to carbohydrates.