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Thursday, 21 February 2013

Why must we always bring up the bodies?'

'Most of us bounce along in the fatter section of the bell curve...'

This cryptic comment,  by prolific author A L Kennedy, comes from an article on  writers that I discovered recently on the Guardian website. Written over six months ago,  it's a reference to writers in general, but in the light of Hilary Mantel's now infamous comments about the Duchess of Cambridge, I think it has rather a prophetic ring.

Having read the full transcript of Ms Mantel's talk, I do concede that some of her thoughts appear to have been taken out of context. Nevertheless the fact remains; as a nation we are obsessed by size, sometimes to the exclusion of all else.

Is it just a coincidence that the  author of Bring up the Bodies looks as if she is hiding her own body behind a voluminous pair of curtains?  Should we 'blame' Kate's mother for her 'thin' genes, or the future queen's  fear of the 'paparazzi'  hiding round every corner? And why are we so fascinated by the royal 'baby bump?'  Can't the poor rich girl just be pregnant in peace?

What saddens me most is that  this Booker Prize winner should use her undoubted talent to grab headlines. Surely she must have known that her comments would be taken 'out of context?'  This woman who says she would never stoop so low as to read Mills and Boon, clearly knows how to incite the tabloids.

Back to A L Kennedy, herself winner of the 2007 Costa Book of the Year with her novel Day.   '.... some writers' I know,' she says, 'thrive on  emotional cataclysms and can barely wait for their next divorce, plummet into infatuation, flirtation with ridiculously violent  criminals or encounters with rabid shrews. Most of us bounce along in the fatter section of the bell curve.'

Food for thought, maybe?


Dizzy C said...

Great way to get into the headlines.

We are too obsessed with size in this day and age. I was never bothered about my size or looks as a teen and in my 20's. I was confident to take the media with a pinch of salt and know that beauty is skin deep, BUT with cosmetic surgery enhancements, so many false attachments (eyelashes, nails, fake tans etc) and treatments, not to mention airbrushing it seems that natural beauty is no longer the fashion.
I am more conscious of how I look now in my 40's than at any other time. I feel sorry for our teens.
My daughter, luckily has the confidence I did at her age to just be herself.


Guernsey Girl said...

I really do agree with you, Carol. I want my lovely granddaughter to grow up with the confidence to be proud of who she is and what she wants to achieve. Maybe we should shout to the skies about our right to be individual - and to stay looking exactly how we were made?

Linda Mitchelmore said...

This is so perfectly put, Marilyn. One only has to look af female newsreaders and 'on the spot' reporters to see that women, in particular, have to be below a certain dress size to stand in front of a camera.
But re Ms is the green eye that has got to her over the rather more fragrant-to-look at Duchess.
So sad that a woman of Ms Mantel's intelligence should have stopped to playground tactics to get yet more publicity. A lesson I am going to take on board...:)

Guernsey Girl said...

Now that made me smile, Linda! Your way is gentler and, if I may say, a lot more successful than Hilary's...

Jane Lovering said...

Maybe Ms Mantel didn't jump in with her opinions, maybe she was asked? Successful writers get asked their views on all sorts of stuff, mostly unrelated to writing (says someone who was once asked about sleeping positions...)And, yes, maybe she should have thought more carefully about her reply. Sizeism is rife, everywhere we look we are being told what to eat, how to exercise, how good the 5:2 diet is... We owe our bodies a Duty of Care but apart from that, let us eat chocolate!

Guernsey Girl said...

I'm all for eating chocolate - and for reading Choc Lit authors! Thanks to both of you for posting your thoughts on here.

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

I grew up when women were women, you know, with curves and when a size 12 was considered small. I think Marilyn Monroe was a 12.
Sad that today it is all about youth, thin and money. sigh I have none of them LOL.