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Get outta here! We're the long and the short and the tall

PUBLISHED: 17:10 17 June 2009 | UPDATED: 09:24 12 August 2010

FAT, thin, normal shape, obese, blobby, rotund, stick thin, chunky, plain eye-wateringly boney. Body fascism is still rife even though some fashionistas are trying to remould a growing and punishing obsession with image. Ther

Melody Foreman

Commentary

FAT, thin, normal shape, obese, blobby, rotund, stick thin, chunky, plain eye-wateringly boney. Body fascism is still rife even though some fashionistas are trying to remould a growing and punishing obsession with image.

There's probably a new dictionary to be compiled out there regarding the zillions of words we use to describe our bodies. The interest in shape is now so intense that I am yet to find anyone who wakes up in the morning looks in the mirror and feels completely satisfied. Do my ankles look big in these socks..? Are my knees too chubby for this short dress? We'll plague ourselves with these questions until any cow that wants to will come home.

Strange, too, now the sun is out for the summer the anxiety over whether to reveal loose areas of flesh at all will turn into neuroses of the severest kind which lead straight to an asylum masquerading as a health resort where no one will say 'bingo wings' or 'turkey neck' or 'tree trunk legs'.

No amounts of purified water, lettuce and bird seed diets though are going to lead to the quantums of happiness we are promised by the no ass genies who run courses aimed to re-define the mirror-conscious.

Thin people get miserable, curvy people cry, and for the guys out there modeling themselves on all action muscle hero Daniel Craig I am sure he's has had his days with a few tinnies instead of the dumbells only to realise there'll be a sound of double 'Oh' from the plastic people running a beer belly phobic Hollywood.

We can, though, applaud the breakthrough in the battle to ban the skeletal look for models. The grande dame and editor of the Brtitish edition of Vogue, Alexandra Shulman, was hailed last week for taking 'a brave step' in reprimanding top designers for creating clothes for models that are too, too, too small even for the smallest pixie in the whole of pixieland.

She said: "There is an increasingly disturbing practice of sending fashion magazines miniscule clothes for fashion shoots which force editors to hire models with jutting bones and no breasts or hips." Ms Shulman's discontent was expressed in a letter to fashion houses, including Yves Saint Laurent, Prada, Versace, and Chanel. Now the Vogue editor has been backed by a host of publishing contemporaries and the bosses of several modelling agencies who refuse to have skeletons on their books.

Eleni Renton who set up a trend for only having healthy looking girls at her agency said: "I's been ridiculous for too long. Designers have got away with making clothes that are just not designed for normal women."

Wise words then do come from those who made a living out of being 'beautiful' and, surely, we can at least listen to those with experience of myth-making and breaking. Only the other day the model and actress Jerry Hall gave some advice to a 50-year-old British woman who was going on holiday to Italy but was frightened of feeling old and being seen where the women, she claimed, were so "stunning" and "nothing like me".

Here's what Jerry told her: "Honey, it's how you feel that matters. Life is about the decisions we make, not the milestones we reach. Anyone who has spent time in Italy can feel real afraid of their signore - they pack quite a stylish punch. But do you know how they manage that? They focus on being chic rather than on being youthful. They spend money on great, well-cut clothes, fabulous accessories and a lot of hairspray."

And Jerry goes on: "Don't forget the best-dressed women in the world are not always the most desirable. There's a reason everyone says that beauty comes from the inside. Learn to be confident and laugh a lot. Eat delicious pasta washed down with good wine and have fun. Life is short so make it sweet - show an appetite for new experiences and living. It's that, not Botox, that will keep you young."

This advice comes from someone with an integrity grown from the experience of knowing that however stunningly gorgeous and successful and rich one is it won't stop a partner and father of her four children (in Jerry's case one of the world richest men, Sir Mick Jagger) from scooting off with another model. Some people find their god or goddess but for one thing or another there's times they just can't be satisfied and lawyers are called in. (I suppose Sir Mick came clean though about that in the 1960s when he predictably recorded a song of a similar theme).

I like to think our shapes are like our fingerprints. They are very much our own special tailoring and with a good,healthy diet, they'll probably stay that way for an awful long time. Genes or no jeans. I wish Ms Shulman luck then in her crusade against all those image-makers exhibiting a problem with the idea of human flesh. Nobody wants to see someone on the catwalk who looks like they've just been exhumed. No . . .body.

A flash in the pan

ON the exposure front I heard tale the other day of a chap who finished his swim at a local pool only to find he'd forgotten to take a fresh set of underwear to change back into. He's also forgotten his trouser belt. So in a rush to get to work he was forced to go commando in troos that are at risk of falling down any minute.

When he gets to work he is asked to use a step-ladder to reach a jar on a high shelf. The woman who wants this task done leaves the room for five minutes. A fortunate move on her part - and his it seems - as when he reached up down fell his trousers leaving his boys on show for at least five seconds. Eeek. This story teaches us all it's best to carry around a long piece of string with us wherever we go to cater for all emergencies.

melody.foreman@archant.co.uk

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