The Vagenda

Help! I look like my mum!
The day had started out rather neatly until this turd of an article appeared in front of me. Top and centre, complete with big picture, the doom-mongering headline asks: WILL YOU INHERIT YOUR MUM’S BODY?” This is annoying for several reasons, firstly because no one gives a crap and secondly it’s the wrong question. Once she dies I might inherit some of her jewellery and other bits and pieces but certainly not her body – unless I go down the “Psycho” way and read up on “Taxidermy for dummies”. But morbid humour aside, of course what the Daily Fail is scaremongering about is that should you fail to stop ageing, will your body end up looking like your mum’s? This is a frustrating non-question because if my mum is indeed my real mum as she always proclaims to be then yes, it’s likely I will. It’s called genetics and the only options I have to avoid it is to either become morbidly obese or a professional body builder.

But investigative journalism is the Fail’s forte and so we’re treated to three ‘brave’ mother and daughter couples stripping for the camera and chatting to Antonia Hoyle about their looks. Predictably, the older women begrudge ageing, desperately wishing to turn back the clock. To spare you from having to read this trash yourself, here are some choice quotes:

“Lyndsey (daughter) has never needed to do much exercise and doesn’t have to try to keep slim. I love her athletic bottom — it almost looks as if she’s had buttock implants”“I was pleased when Lyndsey told me she was having breast implants, because I knew they’d do for her self-confidence what they’d done for mine”.

“Mum inspired me to have breast implants”.

“I worry about wrinkles — I’m getting crow’s feet and hate the thought of looking older”.

“I have a few dimples at the tops of my thighs, but Brina (daughter) doesn’t have any and if she keeps her weight down I think it will stay that way”.

“When I look at Brina’s slim physique, I feel full of regret that I let my diet and exercise routine slide, and I urge her not to do the same”.

“Mum’s put on a couple of stone recently and I think she looks good curvier, but the extra weight wouldn’t suit me”.

Of course, there is more gems like this to be found but you get the idea. This dissection of women’s bodies in the media is always billed as helpful in coming to terms with their body image but really all this article does is say that as a woman, you’re not allowed to age. It needs to be avoided like the plague (aka the Daily Fail). The only available options being cosmetic surgery or going into hiding in a remote cave in the Sahara once you hit 40 so you don’t offend society with your wrinkles. On balance, I’d stick with avoiding the Fail.

Regrettably, it has emerged recently that Paul Dacre will continue to edit the Daily Fail for at least another three years but maybe once a new editor is in place we can all look forward to a piece entitled “Will you inherit your predecessor’s shoddy standards of journalism?”

- Claudia

5 thoughts on “Help! I look like my mum!

  1. I think this article has its uses – it’s a perfect illustration of how women are taught to scrutinise their bodies and be horrified at any sign of ageing.

    I think if you were to ask anybody to imagine the article was about men they would find it ridiculous. Could you imagine the Fail asking men to detail every single body measurement/dimple on their thigh/line on their forehead? And could you imagine the same assumption of ‘The Horror’ of inheriting your father’s body being made about man?

    I thought the comment about that ‘it almost looks like she’s had buttock implants’ was another particularly useful quote. Her bottom is so nice it almost looks fake. Almost perfect. Almost, but not quite, because it isn’t fake and true perfection can only be found under the surgeon’s knife. And this is a woman talking about her own daughter!

    I think if you asked somebody why this article seems perfectly at home on the front page of one of the country’s biggest selling daily nationals, and a similar one about men would seem ridiculous, there’s not many other answers you could come up with other than the fact that women are taught to believe this shit is important to them, much more than men.

  2. I thought the line: ‘I think some people are just born with higher self-esteem than others’ was a) quite sad (i.e. the woman accepting that she can’t feel better about herself) and b) so patently untrue. Self-esteem – or rather the lack of it – is absolutely a social phenomena.

    The implications of the text of the article were obviously a bit problematic (the only way to feel good about yourself is to have surgery!), but I think the photos, if only they’d been presented with a more sympathetic (/realistic /sensible) text. It’s very rare for the DM to display anything other than the most perfect celebrity body — surely giving a few unairbrushed bodies (all of which I thought were pretty beautiful and would be chuffed to have when I reach their age!) a bit of publicity might be the beginning of a shift. Or maybe I’m being overly optimistic. Still, though I regret the take of the article, I don’t regret the fact that the images were published. Hopefully anyone with common sense will see they are pictures of six women who *shouldn’t* be worrying about their appearance.

  3. The above comment is really interesting, it is nice to see real women being published in a newspaper like that. But it’s so sad to read how they see themselves. After reading this post I was surprised to see how amazing they looked in comparison to how much they talked themselves down. Why won’t we allow ourselves to see the good rather that dissect our own bodies into a list of flaws?

  4. I know a lot of women who would read the original magazine article and take it really seriously – which terrifies me much more than the idea of ‘inheriting’ my mum’s body. It made me sad to read some of the comments. How much happier and fulfilled so many women could be, if they accepted the process of growing older and saw the beauty in the process. Having said that, I’m a hypocrite. It is not easy to live within society and not be influenced by it.