By accident rather than design, I managed to see no Wimbledon tennis this year. I knew Marion Bartoli only by name, and that she was the new Champion.
In the post-Inverdale furore (what a horrible little man), I researched Marion online. Google Images has a helpful – ahem – new feature that throws up the most popular searches associated with your own googled word. Thus I was supplied with a range of photos under the headings Marion Bartoli Fat/Hot/Sexy.
Indeed. At least there were two positive, popular searches verses one negative. She looked plenty of the latter two, and not the former at all.
But she is not tiny. She is Normal. And that is the sad, wearisome problem.
Western society’s obsession with the stereotypical model looks allows for very little deviation.
- Size 6/8? Check.
- Glowing tan? Check.
- Long, lustrous straight hair? Check. Blonde preferably, or maybe brunette. Black hair is perhaps too hard to achieve without looking witchy. Red hair? Don’t even think about it.
- And don’t forget the teeth. Nothing less than a mouth full of gleaming, straight china will do. Back in the day, hardly anyone had braces. Those who were prescribed them generally had serious prominence issues, and were probably the ‘Bugs Bunny’ of their cruel classmates. The rest of us still looked pretty Normal.
These days, come the 6th class check up , if not sooner, the Brace word will be invariably be mentioned. Is it medical advances or affluence that seems to have every second child in the country prescribed the orthodontist? Or is it the quest for the American import ‘perfect smile’.
Had a recent encounter with an Orthodontists waiting room myself. I stuck out like a sore thumb because
a) I wasn’t wearing a school uniform
b) I wasn’t accompanied by my mother
c) I wasn’t sulking.
The flow thru of teens was phenomenal. They really should just set up IN a large secondary school. No journey time, parking issues, ready made patient lists etc…
You have to admire the likes of Madonna (gap teeth), Kirsten Dunst (crooked) and Jim Carrey (large) for resisting the undoubted pressures and sticking with their smiles. Shane McGowan takes it to extremes, but he is nothing if not his own man.
No two of us are made the same. Do we have to aspire to look the same? Aspects of media, advertising, fashion etc certainly want us to.
I logged onto the ASOS clothing website lately. What a depressing exercise. Waspy models with 20inch waists and legs you’d see hanging out of a nest. Or there was the ‘curvy’ option, for sizes 20 to 26. Where is the Normal? Of course they sell all the sizes, but I want to imagine them on ME, not on a stick. Sizes 14-16 are the first to sell out in shops – for a reason.
What I also now love about Marion Bartoli is that she – refreshingly – proves as myth the idea that if you exercise like a maniac you’ll be thin as a whippet. Take that, all you celeb workout DVDs and ‘beach ready’ magazine pullouts. You’ll get in shape ok – your own Normal shape!
As the brilliant Body Shop campaign said;
“There are over 3 billion women who don’t look like supermodels, and only 8 who do.”
The rest of us? You, me, Marion etc? Are Normal looking. In all our curly haired/pale skinned/size 16/imperfect toothed ways. And still beautiful.
So let Normal Service resume. Without John Inverdale preferably…