Monday, December 13, 2010

weight watchers

I’m sure it’s not just me, in fact I’m almost certain that 90% of females do this once they’re old enough to think about things like weight and fashion – when I’m walking down the street I’m constantly comparing myself to the women around me.

If someone’s walking in front of me, I’ll do a quick evaluation: is she skinnier than me? Is she about the same size? And if so, does she look good in her clothes? Do I do it better? Should she be wearing that? Would I wear that? And so on.

I don’t think guys realise just how much women compare themselves to each other and how much time they spend thinking about what they look like. It certainly goes well beyond the mirror in the morning. Looking at a girl about the same size can be as critical to your image as what you see in reflections.

But how accurate are our perceptions? The other day a girl walked past and my partner commented on her fat legs and how she shouldn’t be wearing that skirt. I was like “which girl?”, because although I agreed that maybe the skirt was a bit short, I didn’t think her legs were any bigger than mine. But when I said that, I received a “you gotta be kidding me” look and a bit of a scoff. Apparently she was noticeably bigger than me, but as far as I could see, we were one and the same.

Perception is a huge thing for women – on the streets and on screen. I recently read a very interesting quote from the lovely Mila Kunis about her weight loss for the movie Black Swan. Mila reportedly lost 9kgs, taking her already slender 160cm 50kg frame down to 41kgs. For a start, let’s just say that’s ridiculous. That’s like a child’s weight on a woman’s frame. Interestingly, Mila made this comment:

“In real life, it looked disgusting. But in photographs and on film, it looked amazing."

“I could see why this industry is so fucked up, because... I would literally look at myself in the mirror and I was like, ‘Oh my god!’ I had no shape, no boobs, no ass ... all you saw was the bone. I was like, ‘This looks gross’.”

It’s nice to hear someone actually admit that. Remember when Angelina Jolie lost “all that weight” (cos at around 45kgs and 170cm tall there was SOOO much to lose) for the movie Changeling. Pictures of her on set leaked, showing her looking emaciated, weak and let’s face it, foul. But on screen she looked, while skinny, Hollywood normal. Surely she knew that she looked disgusting? And what did Brad Pitt think about it? I can’t speak for all men, but most that I know say they would prefer a proportionately curvy girl to a bag of bones.

OK, so not all weight loss is a misconception, a lot of people do it on purpose and some people do actually have some kgs to lose. But you can’t help think it was the relentless comparisons that women make to others that turned Kelly Osbourne into a bobble head after her move to Hollywood.

I think it’s hugely important to remember that you have to stay within the limits of your own body. I’d be happy to lose 3–5kg, and I certainly could do that without turning into skeletor. But it took me a long time to be happy with the way I look around my size 6 to 8 friends. I’m never going to look like that and trying to would be silly. I also don’t think my frame would support it. (I’d also have to put up with constant “where have my boobs gone?!” from my partner.)

So although I don’t think I’ll ever stop looking at other girls and sizing them up, you’ll also never see me turn down food just so I look slightly better on film. That’s what turning on an angle is for.

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