Is it Deborah Hutton’s fault I feel fat?

4 Jan

I buy Women’s Weekly religiously. I am so excited when I see the latest edition on the shelf and I sometimes buy three…one for me, one for my sister and one for my mum. As a woman I appreciate that it gives me the perfect blend of food, clothes, body and news issues to keep me happy. I often clear my afternoon so I can read it from front to back at least once and then I dip in and out over the following weeks until the next edition arrives.

When I saw Deborah Hutton on the cover I was so excited to go home and read the article. As a woman of reasonable intelligence I am aware of the fact that most magazine pictures are retouched in some way, some more than others. I am also aware of makeup, lighting, hairspray and spray tans. I also knew that there was no way Deborah Hutton would ever let anyone re-touch her too much because she has always struck me as a down-to-earth Aussie woman who is not only beautiful but is aware of the many issues surrounding woman and their self-worth. Because she is a woman and no matter how beautiful or accomplished, every woman has their issues.

So why all the drama? Deborah Hutton is beautiful, but why does that make women feel badly about themselves. Even more disturbing is the notion that Deborah Hutton has to look bad or flawed for women to feel good about themselves, as though rejoicing in Deborah’s imperfections will help them to embrace their imperfections. So to feel good about themselves, they have to feed off what they see as wrong and ugly about others. This is such an uncomfortable reflection on women. Why can’t we celebrate each other’s beauty, health and achievements? Why do we feel better when we read about failure and flaws? Is it because they makes us feel normal or is it because our own self-worth is measured against others and not just celebrities?

This certainly explains why many magazines sell so well. Kim’s marriage failed…I feel better that mine is a disaster, Christina is fat…I feel better about my weight, Nicole Kidman’s latest movie didn’t go very well…my career failures are more acceptable to me too. And it doesn’t end there. As women we are constantly sizing each other up. Is she a better mother than me? Is she thinner than me? Is she younger than me? Is she more successful than me?

Not all women are like this but many are. Those of us who are not don’t measure our self-worth against others but instead try to base it on our own internal reflections about ourselves. I am the best mother I can be, I look as good as I can manage, my weight is the best I can get it and I may never look like Deborah Hutton but boy am I going to enjoy reading all about her while I relax with coffee for thirty minutes this afternoon while my children nap.

As women, I find that we also often feel like are alone with our issues and struggles. We see someone enjoying their children and assume they never get cross or have a bad mummy day. We see a pretty girl and assume that she feels as pretty as she looks. We work with a confident colleague and assume that she never doubts herself. This is simply not the case. We all have moments, days and weeks when we feel just as badly as the next person. Take comfort in the fact that everyone struggles from time-to-time meaning we are surrounded by groups of women who understand how hard it can be to be a woman.

We are all doing our best and if not, we can always do better tomorrow. Deborah Hutton is a beautiful, successful Australian woman with a great career, no kids and fab hair. I accept her for who she is and who she is doesn’t influence how I feel about myself.

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi

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