Michelle Loewenstein
2 minute read
9 Mar 2015
6:00 am

Is bubble wrapping kids too extreme?

Michelle Loewenstein

In her column for The Citizen, Michelle Loewenstein talks about raising strong women with good body images.

If only we could all be as confident as Kelly Clarkson. Last week she was the victim of an internet troll who “fat-shamed” her on Twitter. Clarkson’s response: I’m awesome.

Everyone claims to be undeterred by a realistic female form. People pump songs like Anaconda and Wiggle in their cars, happily singing along to un-PC lyrics about “big fat butts” and the like.

But when push comes to shove, it’s the twiggy girls who end up on magazine covers while the Kelly Clarksons of the world have to deal with comments about eating their backing singers.

Everyone has gone mad for George Clooney’s stylish new wife Amal. The fact that she would probably keel over in a stiff breeze seems to go unnoticed. Is she all about that base? Definitely not!

Fashion weeks around the world feature models that haven’t eaten more than a carrot a day for a few years, with designers claiming that their clothing just hangs better on a slimmer form.

Perhaps these designers should take a look at the clown feet effect a pair of chunky heels has on a skinny model.

Having worked in the magazine environment I know what a bit of airbrushing can do. Kim Kardashian, while a lot more realistically built than Gwyneth Paltrow, does not look photo-ready in the morning.

Our local celebs have designers queuing up to dress them for events – something that the average woman will never enjoy. So aiming to look like Bonang or Boity at a matric dance is probably going to end in tears.

Unfortunately, the ideals we allow popular culture to make us aspire to are fairly unrealistic.

Teenage girls are constantly bombarded by messages about what the world deems to be beautiful. Do songs like Wiggle help them feel more confident? Probably not, since they draw attention to body image and have a dash of misogyny thrown in for good measure.

If I had a daughter, she would be forced to be a Kelly Clarkson fan. And she would have no cellphone…and she wouldn’t be allowed to watch TV or read magazines…and I’d bubble wrap her when she goes out so she wouldn’t hear anything…

Or maybe I’d just tell her every day that she’s awesome, and teach her that if you’re happy and healthy, that’s all that counts. Hopefully that would be enough.