Are high heels shackles?

2 Apr

Twitter’s not enough to explain the real rant I just touched on with the lovely Caryn Franklyn re women’s body image, the pressures/harrasment women in public life are under to be thinner and prettier and thinner and prettier. So here it is…

This time it started with the whole SamCam/Kate/Posh article in the Sunday Times suggesting they use being thin as a control mechanism in otherwise out of control lives where everything they do is controlled by the media. But all the judging then becomes on how they look, preened and rumple-free. Woe betide a grey streak, wrinkle or case of bed-head, it becomes a media scoop.

It is a terrible image to be presenting to our children and one I’m so frightened of for my little girl. At four, she’s already been brainwashed by the Disney princess mantra. Where are her role models and aspirational figures in which looks don’t figure?

Apart from me of course, handily my non celebrity status and hands-on lifestyle means my boobs look like spaniels’ ears and my tummy a Cadbury’s Flake – she call’s it a floppy cushion. I don’t mind – in fact I tell her I love it – and to a certain extent that’s true because it’s where she came from and that’s what I say.

So along with my changing body has come a change in body image and clothing. Now with my jeans and converse firmly in place, a looser top to flatter my rippling tummy, I find I’m actually much more liberated than before. High heels hurt and you can’t run or jump in them (unless you’re a pop diva, which I most certainly am not). I can do all those things in my new uniform. That’s the bottom line.

We all have a responsibility to our children to fight these aspiration-limiting stereotypes and show them that we are their role models. If I prance about in a perfectly groomed state 24/7, that’s what she’ll see as the norm. I’m not suggesting we all turn into slobs, but there has to be a happy medium. Little girls need to see that mummy works just like daddy, that she can run and jump and argue about politics and do maths and play football. We can none of us do all of it, but we can all try to do some of it. We have to, or the barbie doll aspiration will take over completely.

And back to SamCam, Posh and Kate M – I can only guess how hard it must be to live in such a goldfish bowl – but they would do better to be real women and a little less perfect if they really want to challenge the glamour-stereotypes that bind women in our world today.


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