Friday, April 24, 2009

Stick insects

You may well have seen the news that someone very skinny almost won the Australian "leg" of the Miss Universe contest. This story has sparked outrage and horror among some parts of the media-o-sphere although I'm finding it difficult to decide exactly what it is that has people so excised.

I mean there seem to be precious few voices saying that such contests are themselves tedious reinforcements of the most banal homogenisation of what passes for conventionally acceptable beauty. In fact most attacks on Stephanie Naumoska's rise to fame seem to center on the very opposite, that she does NOT conform to the accepted norms of beauty as laid down in the "almost everyone is ugly" statutes of 1832. It just makes a change that a woman is being denounced for being too thin rather than too fat, but that's as far as I'm prepared to agree with them.

Now I'm fully aware that the main front against "body fascism" is combating the tendency to strip literally every ounce of fat from the form to reveal that oh so cute skeletal look, after all if you take a look at the photo below of the Miss Universe Australia finalists I'm not sure it's immediately apparent which one is being singled out for being unnaturally thin.

But it cuts both ways. I don't want to replace one "perfect look" for people to fall short of with another one, just as dogmatic. Thin women do exist and they ARE normal - despite what a number of journalists appear to be saying today.

It seems to me that whilst we should be denouncing these bizarre outdated cattle markets for the sexist tripe that they are, what we shouldn't do is attack the women in them - particularly for their looks. Collecting a whole bunch of women with a very similar look together will produce a stepford wives effect, but that's the nature of the competition not a demonstration that thin people are somehow less than human.


Reuben said...

Excellent post jim. Better than i expected from you on this subject :)

weggis said...

I think you or your source has somehow lost the aspect ratio on that photograph.

Jim Jay said...

Err... thanks Reuben :)