Monday, 10 May 2010

Dressed for success

Oh dear, they're on the warpath again. The same news media that publishes trashy magazines full of celebrity diets ("for a treat, try a handful of limestone chippings or smear some swarfega on a crackerbread") is pointing an underweight finger at the fashion industry for causing eating disorders.

This time though, it's the boys that they're concerned about. A mannequin manufacturer has started producing a new line of male dummies with a 27in waist which, according to the Daily Mail, is 11in smaller than the average British male.

Rather than question how we reached a point where the average man now casts the same silhouette as Les Dawson, the Mail's article expresses concern that these slender "waxworks" (when have mannequins ever been made from wax?) will drive thousands of young men to a life of starvation or binge 'n' purge dieting.

Apparently, "the company insists they are modelled on healthy teenage boys and will be dressed in skinny jeans and tailoring made popular by celebrities such as Russell Brand." So we're going to be over-run by a generation of pointy-toed dandies with big hair. Great news all round.

Speaking to the Guardian, a spokesperson for Beat, a charity that works with eating disorder sufferers, said "unrealistic images in the fashion world - such as these mannequins - and in the media still abound and the pressures they bring can lead to low self-esteem in often young and vulnerable people."

Although I can appreciate their concern, the fact is, this isn't actually an unrealistic image of young men's body image. Gran Canaria, where your hard-working correspondent is currently residing, is overrun with young men in their early twenties who, between them, are carrying about as much fat as a Muller Fruit Corner.

The big shock isn't that these young people are trying to achieve an unattainable body image. It's the fact that none of them realise that it won't always be quite so easy to wriggle into those teeny-weeny camouflage shorts.

Rather than freaking out about an outbreak of male bulimia, we should be telling them to enjoy it while it lasts.

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