The Vagenda

Why Do None of These Fat Bitches Have Body Confidence?

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So, the other day I went to meet my best friend for a chilled glass of white wine and a weight-related smackdown. She’d just had a baby; I’d just had a personality transplant to become one of the reporters for New magazine. In other words, there was a lot to celebrate.

As we clinked our glasses together under the unseasonably warm London sun, I couldn’t help but wonder: was she wearing Spanx? She’d walked in to the bar a few minutes after me, and I’d noticed from my table in the corner that she was – and there’s no other word for it – flaunting her figure in a tight-fitting blue dress. To be honest, I was a little bit sick in my mouth when I saw it. She’d given birth five weeks ago and I didn’t even know they let women out so soon after pushing humans out through their naughty parts/vajazzle-holes. But here she was, flaunting away. I was kind of impressed, gals, but obvs also kind of grossed out.

How to address the literal elephant in the room? In the end, I just came out and said it, because I’m a boundary-pusher like that.

‘You wearing Spanx, Kerry?’

She looked uncomfortable for a second, then nodded. ‘Thing is, I can’t really flaunt my figure like this five weeks after giving birth without a pair of Spanx, despite the diet,’ she intimated, leaning slightly revoltingly over her glass like the postnatal pig that she is. ‘I think later on, I might change into a pair of jeans.’

I mean, ew. Discomfort? Dieting? Fucking DENIM? I had to turn away and pretend I was having a coughing fit while I discreetly vomited into the nearest pot plant. The sick was staying safely ensconced in my mouth no more. And then I went home and wrote about it.

And scene.

This is the story I imagine is behind the scenes of ‘KERRY: I’M STILL NOT HAPPY WITH MY BODY!’, one of very many, many, many weight-related tales in the latest issue of New. The Spanx thing – and the way Kerry Katona let us all down by changing into jeans after going out – was courtesy of an ‘insider’. Which either means the writer made it up entirely, or there is actually a person who counts themselves as ‘insider of Kerry Katona’s Spanx’. Have they even stopped for one second to realise what that means?

It’s totally fine, though, because there’s a sentence at the end of the piece that mentions how she and her baby both almost died in childbirth so – and I quote directly – ‘Sod the scales, Kez, we’re just glad you’re OK!’ If the editorial board of a low-budget celebrity magazine ever addresses me with a nickname ending in ‘Z’ in a sentence that basically says ‘You’re a chubby slag, but hell, you’re alive!’ (not much chance of it, but you never know), then please take the Woman Eliminator to my head and end my suffering. And by Woman Eliminator I mean that new documentary on McBusted.

But listen, I know what you’re thinking. One little bitchy article on Kerry Katona’s weight doth not a fat-shaming magazine make – those Katona-haters are ten a penny, after all! So to make sure you don’t think I’m one of those Totally Oversensitive Women who moan on about really inconsequential things like media manipulation and photoshopping and plastic surgery rates and the pay gap or whatever, I’ve pulled up a few more juicy examples from the same rag to convince you, you cheeky little sod.

First up, it’s CELEB YO-YO BATTLES, which sounds like some kind of really cool nineties night out until you realise that they’re referring to diet. I’ll summarise this one quickly for you – Nicole Richie is too thin, Kelly Osbourne is about to become too fat, Natalie Cassidy is too fat, Jen Metcalfe is too fat, Charlotte Church thinks she’s a ‘happy medium’ but is actually too fat, and Mischa Barton is – you guessed it – too fat. Sick bitches.

Moving on, it’s ‘The five things that could ruin Kim Kardashian’s wedding’, as gleefully imagined by New. Number four is that she could be ‘unhappy with her bridal bod’. When I imagine my own wedding, it usually involves one of my relatives punching the other over a plate of deflated homemade sandwiches while I weep softly in the corner, clutching resolutely on to the man I hired as my fake husband to make my mother happy and totally ruining the latest H&M ‘statement dress’ a sixteen year old shopping assistant talked me into a couple of days earlier. And what I mean by this is: there are literally a thousand things Kim could worry about over and above her ‘bridal bod’. Baby North could shit on the cake. Kanye could perform a spontaneous tune about the size of her famous arse in front of her mother, sorry, ‘momager’. Solange Knowles could turn up and beat the hell out of someone. CREATIVITY, New magazine. You could have made this a readable feature. But ‘bridal bod’? I’m not buying, coz you’re not really selling.

Anyway, a couple pages later it’s Tamara Ecclestone: ‘Don’t hate me for getting my figure back.’ Background story: she gave birth seven weeks ago, and now she’s wearing a bikini. Some woman tweeted about the bikini photoshoot saying: ‘Looks like she never even had a baby – let alone a baby 7 weeks ago!’ God, why are women such cunts?

Next, it’s Gemma Merna (no, I don’t know who she is either but let’s carry on regardless.) ‘I’D LOVE TO LOOK LIKE KIM KARDASHIAN’ is the headline, which implies she definitely hasn’t heard that Kim’s wedding could be ruined by the mere thought of her bridal bod. This is an ‘exclusive interview’ as part of Now’s ‘Keeping It Real’ campaign, which pledges to run some celebrity interviews without airbrushed photos. Now, I’m not trying to hate on a potentially good thing here, but when the whole interview is conducted under the gigantic words ‘Gemma goes unairbrushed and talks about her lack of body confidence’, I’m not exactly feeling the love. A couple of paragraphs describe how she ‘understandably looks nervous’ about being photographed sans airbrush, which they twice refer to as ‘daunting’. And then come the questions (all verbatim): ‘Are you confident with how you look?’, ‘Is there an area of your body you have a particular hang-up about?’, ‘What size are you?’, ‘Has being on TV made you more body conscious?’, ‘How do you stay in shape?’, ‘Do you have a good diet?’, ‘Do you compare your body to the other Hollyoaks girls’ bodies?’, ‘Are you confident not wearing make-up?’, ‘How much weight did you lose when filming Splash?’, ‘People have said Danielle O’Hara is too skinny. What do you think?’, ‘Why did you have a boob job at 21?’, ‘Would you have more surgery?’, ‘Have you had Botox?’, and my personal favourite, ‘Does [husband] Ian prefer you looking natural?’

And it’s not over yet. The next interview, with Michelle Heaton, runs under ‘IT’S EASY TO GET HUNG UP ABOUT WEIGHT’ (you don’t fucking say), which asks ‘You said you don’t feel 100 per cent body confident – why?’ (the depressing answer: ‘I think that’s the case for most women. We’ve all got something we’d like to change… I’m not totally body confident, but show me a girl who is!’), ‘Have you found it harder to lose your baby weight this time round?’, ‘What are you eating?’ and ‘Which celeb body do you admire?’

Then there’s Geordie Shore’s Holly Hagan with ‘MY DIET SECRETS’ (‘Is it true you tried the corset diet recently?’, ‘Does your weight still go up and down?’, ‘Are you body confident?’) and another interview with Lisa Snowdon titled ‘I NEED TO GET WORKING OUT’ (‘Do you still feel a pressure to look slim?’, ‘Which celeb body do you envy?’, ‘Do you cut anything out of your diet?’) And that’s without even bothering to cast my eye over ‘Lauren’s Diet Diaries’, the only one of the bunch that’s actually supposed to be about weight.

To top it all off, there’s one slightly entertaining feature called ‘What your body says about you’, which is like that piece we all enjoyed in some backwater mag called ‘Bum-ology’ last week, but with more body parts. My favourite part is where they say that women with prominent chins, ‘like Caroline Flack’, are more sexually active but less likely to be chosen by silverback males as long-term partners. Probably because their vaginas are as wide as their jawlines, the sluts.

There is a wider point here about how an innocent, fairly trashy sitting-in-the-sun read can turn you into the sort of insecurity-laden wreck who quivers more than the bedposts of your biggest-chinned friends, but I’m not gonna get on my high horse. You can work this shit out. After all, I have a lifetime supply of lipo to save up for – not to mention a chinplant to Google.

11 thoughts on “Why Do None of These Fat Bitches Have Body Confidence?

  1. At around 8 1/2 stone and five foot 3, I’m about as fat as those fatties in Now magazine.

    Yet, last I was told by my doctor, I was just in the middle of the recommended weight for my height by the British medical council – and that’s fine by me. I’m short, have a bit of a tummy, small tits and a big arse. This is my figure and it’s down to genetics, and beer. I genuinely couldn’t give a toss what anyone thinks of my figure with the exception of my boyfriend, and he seems pretty happy with his lot.

    Maybe it’s my age (rapidly approaching 40), but I don’t recall a time in my life – probably because I keep myself relatively fit and didn’t grow up with this celebrity idolisation – that I ever had body confidence issues. But still, I am considered old and ‘a bit fat’ by the younger people in my social circle (again, I’m around 8 1/2 stone). And yet, I’m happier with how I look naked than any of them. And I know who’ll be having the better sex life because of it.

  2. Quite, quite shocking and not in a ‘body-shocker’ kind of way.

    One pedantic point, and excuse my ignorance (I’m not familiar with these rags), but doesn’t the cover image you have used say ‘New!’ and not ‘Now’ magazine? I thought New! and Now were different mags, but maybe they have merged, or maybe it’s saying ‘New! Edition of Now’? Just thought I’d put it out there, in case you have accidentally critiqued the wrong magazine.

    Great post anyway :)

    • You’re totally right about that – a few times I’d said Now instead of New! Probably because of BLIND RAGE. Have changed it now, thanks for the heads-up!

  3. How about some articles on why women buy this crap? It’s all very well tearing the content apart (is there actually a softer target in the world than these magazines?) but you’ve published loads of articles that do that, and not much on the psychology of the, apparently many, women who read this stuff. This is what feminism needs to get to grips with and start addressing.

    • I’m late to this party, but loving this website and refreshing content.

      I agree in part with the spirit of your comment – women do need to stop purchasing these magazines if we’re going to see a change. I think one reason many do is because of some of the issues raised in a comment below, deeply ingrained social expectations that most people don’t even really think about. In other cases, maybe it’s just about looking for stupid entertainment and not giving enough thought to how counterproductive it will ultimately be.

      However, I don’t think it’s just women purchasing them and I don’t think you necessarily have to make a purchase for these publications to have an impact on society. These magazines and others like them fill up newstands and drugstore aisles with their giant stupid headlines. It always bothers me a little bit to think that kids walking by could notice these things and think it is normal to call out a woman for every single thing she does/is – not just among tabloids but regular women’s magazines too. I mean I think you can see that “Broken and Humiliated” headline from space.

  4. I was talking about the scrutiny over women’s bodies with a girlfriend last week and I pointed out that the media tries to crush our spirits and target our insecurities.

    She replied: “But we (women) are our own worst critics.”

    My response was: “Have you ever considered why? Remember in the old days when a woman’s only purpose in this planet was to find a man, do whatever it took to marry him (and stay married) and procriate? Men went out to take on the world and bring food to his family and women were supposed to wait for their return, impeccabale, stunning, good humored , obedient and with dinner ready on the table. Ou entire culture was built on that premise. Women were lead to believe that if they were not perfect, no man would ever want to be with them or their husbands would leave them for someone “better” because we were supposedly put on this planet to entertain them. Feminism has conquered a lot, but that ancient mentality is still very much alive in people’s minds (men and women); male dominance and female oppression and obedience are still taught and perpetuated in most homes. A lot of women still think that: (a) this is just the way things are and they are never going to change, so I might as well oblige, (b) strong women push men away and (c) there is no life outside a relationship. And that’s why I’m a feminist: because we still have a lot to change.”

    The end.

  5. Tell me right now how I apply for a job with you! I have stumbled across your fabulous page via upworthy browsing and it’s BRILLIANT.

    To quote one of my favourite MEME’s, ‘if I could be part of changing the way woman perceive themselves, I would be sooooo happy’.

    With love, all the way from Dubai (so much sexism you’d develop arthritis before you finished writing articles around it and still not nearly as bad as the previous country I was trapped in!)

    xxx

    • Wow, all the way from Dubai – that’s amazing! We’re a labour of love so we can’t offer jobs or internships, but we have an open door policy with submissions and would love to hear about your life in Dubai. Email us at thevagenda@gmail.com if you have something to get off your chest!

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