Whilst doing some research on body image amongst girls and teenagers, I found this report on the BBC site from January which states that four in ten teenage girls have considered plastic surgery, only 8% were happy with their bodies and a quarter saying they had suffered from an eating disorder. The survey was undertaken by Bliss magazine.
Editor Chantelle Horton said this was a “21st century tragedy”, and blamed “celebrity pressure”. She is quoted as saying: “The endless parade of thin yet curvy, surgically-enhanced celebrities has made young girls obsessed with their own normal lumpy, bumpy bodies. They also feel tremendous pressure from boys who increasingly expect their girlfriends to resemble the perfect celebrity body model they’ve been fed by a looks-obsessed society.”
Bliss mag ran a similar survey last year with similar results and similar editorial hand-wringing: “Editor Helen Johnson said it is ‘tragic’ so many girls want to be thin.”
Well, I thought I’d check out Bliss’s website to see how they were tackling the issue. Here’s what I found.
“We all dream of being on the cover of our fave magazine… well now you can, right here at blissmag.co.uk! You’ll be in the A-list company of Keira Knightly, Cameron Diaz and Victoria Beckham, not to mention the envy of all your friends! So nominate either yourself or a mate and you’ll get your very own virtual bliss cover, right here. You never know – it could be your first step to stardom!”
“Rate these girls on their looks and pull-ability. And if you\x92re brave enough to be judged yourself, send us a photo and you might make it on the list next week. Be nice!”
Yup, Chantelle Horton is right; it is is tragic.
Horton has now left the magazine (Lisa Smosarski is the Editor, and Emma Hoddinott is the online editor), so she can’t be blamed. But the recurrence of the seemingly annual Bliss body image survey (will there be another one next January?) suggests to me that the publishers Emap think they can have their cake (by seeming responsible and concerned once a year) and eat it too (by perpetrating the very superficial celeb-obsessed culture that they claim is behind these girls’ problems).
Surely girls deserve better than this hypocritical pile of utter crap.