Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Lynne Featherstone's Big Fat Selective Condemnation

Lynne Featherstone's drooling was well-reported again yesterday.

Her hips are probably the most hypnotic on television, and now Christina Hendricks, who plays Joan Harris (nee Holloway), and is reportedly a size 14, has had her body officially endorsed by the British government.

"Christina Hendricks is absolutely fabulous," says Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone, who held up Hendricks' outline as an ideal shape for women.
The Guardian quoted more of this eulogy on Sunday (emphasis mine).

"Christina Hendricks is absolutely fabulous. We need more of those role models," she said. Instead, young girls and women were continually confronted with false images of incredibly thin women, which could create lifelong psychological damage. It was an issue that should worry "any of us who have children".

"All women have felt that pressure of having to conform to an unrealistic stereotype, which plagues them their whole life. It is not just the immediate harm; it is something that lasts a lifetime. Young girls are under intense pressure the whole time," she said, adding: "I was a young girl many moons ago."

Featherstone stressed the pressure to conform is also felt by men: "The pressure is on for everyone to look perfect."
We're right there with you, Lynne. The harassment of the more fully-proportioned amongst us has gone on far too long, as Dove soap highlighted in their hugely successful Campaign For Real Beauty.

You must remember it. You know, the one which asserted that larger women - or any woman, or man for that matter - should not be held up for ridicule and condescension based on their weight, size, looks or shape.

The ad campaign was successful for a very good reason. That being its popularity with everyday men and women who feel they are judged and criticised for, well, just being them.

Dove used images like the one below to convey the message that we are a - yes - 'diverse' nation, and that bland conformity to a physical ideal is not only crass, but also potentially damaging to an individual's self-esteem.

Featherstone seems very keen to emphasise the deletorious effect of the advertising industry in promoting such thinking.

"[...] the advertising standards code says no advert should place children at risk of mental, physical or moral harm, but adverts do contain airbrushed images of unattainable beauty in magazines aimed at young teenagers."
So, based on the same premise, we should likewise expect her to condemn others who use psychological pressure in a more direct way than advertisers.

'Slim and fit' 11year-old rated obese by NHS

The letter encouraged his parents to help him become more active and eat healthily to increase his chances of being a healthy adult.

It said: "If we carry on as we are, nine out of ten children today could grow up with dangerous amounts of fat in their bodies. This can cause diseases like cancer, type two diabetes and heart disease."

Tom's father Dan, 46, a school governor, has written to NHS Barnsley demanding that they stop sending out the letters. He said: "These letters are doing more harm than good. You might as well send a T-shirt with "fatty" on it.

"The impression it gives is that your child is fat, it's your fault and they will die from a horrible disease. You can't use tinpot psychology like this on kids or their parents."
Perhaps Lynne could also excoriate those who promote websites revelling in scaremongery towards people who don't - to quote Featherstone - 'conform to an unrealistic stereotype'.

The above advice is currently being offered to size 14 women - like Christina Hendricks, funny enough - on the NHS Choices website. It's free at the point of delivery and the health terrorism is doled out without charge too.

Now, I'm sure Lynne will be entirely consistent with her message, so I eagerly await her equal condemnation of deeply disturbing government-sanctioned eugenicists.

Or is psychological abuse only OK if the public sector is the abuser?


Demetrius said...

Is "Phwoar" a reasonable medical diagnosis?

JuliaM said...

Don't expect a response from her on that. Not before hell freezes over, anyway.

Oldrightie said...

"Or is psychological abuse only OK if the public sector is the abuser?" Yes,including abusing Pakistan.

Ian R Thorpe said...

We ned to make all reference to that stupid body mass index a capital offence and remind doctors we pay them to think for themselves.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Indeedy. But the government will continue spending zillions on Change4Life and Jamie Oliver stuff and telling fat women not to have babies and so on, just for the heck of it. While simultaneously condemning Size Zero models, no doubt.

On the specific topic of Lynne F, she is by far and away the fittest 60 year old in the UK, so fair play to her. I vastly prefer one of her to a quarter of the fat bastard masquerading as 'Communities Secretary'.