Sunday, 1 August 2010

Lynne Featherstone and the 'ideal' body shape


Lynne Featherstone MP’s recent proclamation that actress Christina Hendricks, who plays Joan Harris in Mad Men, has the perfect figure, the one that all women ‘should’ be aiming for, was bizarre to say the least.

Featherstone described Hendricks’s figure as ‘absolutely fabulous’ and held up a silhouette of her figure.

Now, I know Featherstone meant well with these comments. I know that she is concerned about the pressure on young women to conform to beauty industry standards and also about the airbrushing that goes on in the magazine and advertising industry.

But saying that this is the outline that we should all be aiming for is crazy. I’m sure flat-chested women everywhere will be delighted to be told that it is ‘absolutely fabulous’ to have big breasts.

And as a fan of ‘Mad Men’, I can’t help but recall the treatment Hendricks’s character, Joan, receives, due largely to her appearance. Men talking to her tits, not her face. Raped on the office floor by her fiancé – who she still goes on to marry. And the subtle little shot (what other sort of shot is there in this excellent drama?) of Joan rubbing the raw marks on her shoulders where her bra straps have been cutting into her skin all day…

Not so ‘absolutely fabulous’ after all…

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