As I write this I am sheepishly munching on chocolates, not even an Eastenders-episode after polishing off a steak. It is now, with my belly full, that I finally feel guilty enough to write this (uncomfortably) personal entry on body-image.
I am currently on a diet – one that allows steak. It is a no-carbs diet (apart from the more-than-occasional bowl of porridge and drunken McDonalds). This makes declining offerings of carb-loaded food slightly awkward. ‘You mean you don’t want crisps?’ my friends will say. I should stress the confused faces of those closest to me when I decline their offers. I am an open lover of food (proudly boasting a record of 7 plates of food at an all-you-can-eat buffet). So it is understandable that they cannot fathom how I, of all people, can be in the midst of a surprisingly successful (by my standards) diet plan. They ask for an explanation. So I lie – or tell the truth. It’s a gamble as to what answer you’ll get. Consistently though, people are shocked to discover that I am unhappy with the way I look.
But to me it is obvious: I mean, take one look at my moon-sized derriere, mammoth thighs and 3-month pregnancy shaped belly and the answer it literally staring you in the face; taking up the entire of your peripheral vision.
The average dress size of women in the UK is 14. I am a size 10 – but this is still a size too big. I find myself non-erotically staring at women’s bums, either in complete worship or disgust. “How is hers so small?” I think to myself. Lucky bitch. If I’m being Jeremy-Kyle-honest, the sight of a woman with a ‘perfect’ figure sends pangs of resentment and mild hatred pulsing through my body, all the way to my eclipse-sized bum.
The sisterhood, then, is largely a myth. As women we do not stand tall by one another, burning our bras – united through retaliation, strength through struggle. We are, sadly, in competition with one another – survival of The Flattest Stomach.
I don’t like to think of how unhappy I am with my appearance, when I do I seem to inflict some Orwellian-style think-torture on myself. I sit in my room for hours at a time, stirring thoughts of self-loathing around my mind whilst my friends get drunk downstairs.
So that’s me. A case for the shrink? Maybe. A unique case for the shrink? Of course not, I bet my entire student loan on that. The poor shrink could recite a diagnosis. Especially when you get your head around the fact that 97% of British women are unhappy with their bodies. That’s pretty high, eh? Shocked? You shouldn’t be. Body-hatred has become a right-of-passage for the majority of Western females. We are a generation of self-haters. Hating ourselves for that slice of cheesecake, for not going to the gym, for not looking like a Victoria’s Secret model…
But here is the irony – we hate ourselves for hating ourselves. Confused? Well so are we.