After the recent attacks towards Victoria Beckham after she claimed her size 6 frame is an average woman’s build, it posed me to question societies perception of eating disorders and if people would ever accept smaller women as legit human beings rather than a danger to the general public.
Posh spice has bravely admitted to suffering with an eating disorder in the past, and the courage it must have taken to voice that deep secret is worth saluting. However, did the public and media show any signs of understanding? Did they empathise with her struggles and leave her be? No, they callously comment on her body and aesthetic appearance at whatever chance they can. ‘Posh seen looking scarily thin’, ‘Victoria Beckham skips meals’, ‘Posh Spice is wasting away’. I’ve never seen such cowardly attacks purposely thrown at one particular person, constantly drawing attention to the one thing that she is clearly self-conscious of. Granted, she might not be the best singer or performer, so do not be thinking I am a huge fan of this lady, yet the lack of respect she receives in terms of how she looks is a sad reflection upon our societies way of thinking. Despite her ambitions to succeed in the designing world, the media only notices what she looks like, not her clothing label. It seems to have sadly reached the point where Posh could scream in fear that a fireball is plunging towards planet Earth, yet remarks would cry ‘OH EM GEE, SHE LOOKS SO THIN’ then by which point everyone would be incinerated.
To admit to the world you have suffered with anorexia is a death wish. Social suicide. Nobody understands you or your disorder so the only way people can cope is to distant themselves from you and turn on the defence. Everybody knows about her admission to anorexia, yet the verbal abuse is still given. Eating disorders do not crave sympathy or attention, but they wish to be understood like any other health disorder. If Posh were to announce she has severe dyslexia, would the media mock her attempts at reading at writing? ‘Brooklyn can spell better than his mom!’ ‘Baby Cruz seen reading to his mom!’ The only reason she caved in and admitted her problem was due to countless remarks about her weight and size, so she bravely gave everybody a legitimate reason behind it. Although she claims the eating disorder is in the past, this is somewhat debateable and too uncertain to make any judgement on, however I can understand why she has declared she has beaten the disorder; in order to cease the personal digs that did not stop after her admission. Clearly being an anorexic in the celebrity world brought negative press, so maybe she is just trying to fit into society and mould into what is expected of her. However even this endeavour is proving unsuccessful after the latest scandal about the size of an average woman.
All the columnists and reporters are livid at the notion of size 6 being the average size for a woman, as they sit there trying to shamelessly squeeze into clothes too small, implying they do too, want to be smaller. Jealously, perhaps? Okay, I wouldn’t be that crude to suggest that everybody is envious of Posh’s body, however surely to degrade her in such brutal ways to deem her as less womanly is a catty and selfish crusade? Everybody is so caught up in the ‘real women’ campaigns that they have lost sight of what a real woman is. A real woman is a loving and devoting mother. A real woman is a caring partner who helps their other half in times of need. A real woman is a best friend or a sister who shares her life with her companions. A real woman would go to the end of the world and back to ensure their loved ones are okay. Do you have to be curvy, chubby and voluptuous to be those things? Victoria Beckham is a mother to four children; does her size mean she has less love to give? Victoria Beckham has stood by her man in times of crisis; does her size mean she has less loyalty? It is frustrating to see so many adverts, campaigns and articles fixated with the ‘real woman’ ideology, all concentrating around size and shape, but not one woman has spoke of femininity has a discursive practice, the things we do that make us woman. They speak of the ‘real woman’ as an objectified being, destroying other attempts at breaking that inferior mould.
Posh’s claims at what she personally thinks constitutes the average woman have been tittered over with little insight into the deeper pragmatics of her argument. This is coming from a woman battling with her own insecurities at the same time as fighting a war with the press over whom she should be. If she truly is making amends with her eating disorder, then this claim reveals a woman who is merely trying to be a part of the world as a ‘real woman’. She wants to believe her body is acceptable and wants others to follow suit too. She is not undermining other sizes and saying they’re unacceptable, but craving acceptance of herself. The angry comments from chubby journalists come as a defensive attack protecting their own unresolved image problems, as they see Beckham’s opinion as a personal assault. However even though her claims were not intended to be an insult, it surely wouldn’t be the worst thing Posh could do after all the years of slander she has received about her body…