When size 12 was sexy

I think TV viewers are getting sick of all the skinny pretty people.

I think TV viewers are getting sick of all the skinny pretty people.

Not only do they make us feel bad for not being able to mirror their images let’s face it; most of them are mean. It’s not really their fault, if I had to worry about my hair all the time and all I could eat was half a strawberry and a lettuce leaf I’d be pretty cranky too.

And what incentive do they even have to be nice when they live in a world that gives them anything they want just for looking the way they do? However, as a society I think we have evolved to a point where we would rather see substance over surface.

Hold on a minute, you say. That’s a pretty bold statement. Do you have any proof to back it up? As a matter of fact I do. Susan Boyle.

When she walked onto the stage of Britain’s Got Talent the audience looked at Susan and dismissed her of any talent at all, based solely on the fact that she wasn’t skinny, young or what we have been conditioned to call beautiful.

Her hair wasn’t styled or dyed and her eyebrows — gasp — were not even plucked! Some people actually jeered. Even the judges gave into smirks and rolling their eyes when she confessed to wanting to be as good as Elaine Paige, the First Lady of British Musical Theatre.

Then Susan opened her mouth, started to sing and no one was laughing anymore. Four seconds into her song the audience erupted into cheers and standing ovations. Susan sang more beautifully than I have ever heard anyone sing before; goose bump beautiful.

I like to think that while Susan sang the fake veneer of Celebrity-Ville cracked beyond repair creating a fracture for the ordinary looking person to climb through so they too can do their extraordinary things.

I think it is troubling that we are so conditioned to a certain type of person having talent that we are actually shocked when a person who hasn’t popped out of the Barbie or Ken doll mould can carry a tune.

We need to take a stand and stop allowing a handful of people to decide which body types are worth viewing and which aren’t, and focus instead on the talent they contain.

In the same way too much packaging is bad for the environment, too much emphasis on white teeth and properly proportioned noses is bad for humanity.

If you can only land a starring role in a movie or a sitcom if you’re Hollywood beautiful what does that say to our children?

When Jennifer Anniston was trying to land the role of Rachel on Friends, she was told she would have to shed 30 pounds if she wanted to be taken seriously as an actor.

Her five foot six inch frame was packing a whopping 145 pounds at the time. Would we really have liked Rachel any less if she was a size 12? Maybe we would have liked her more.

I’m not saying we should down a bag of Doritos while giving television and movie stars the finger. Though that might be kind of fun, now that I think about it.

But seriously, taking care of your body and eating healthy is obviously important. However, strictly from an entertainment standpoint, is it really the viewer that refuses to be entertained by anyone bigger than a size four?

To answer that you only have to look at how popular Roseanne was. Why has there never been another sitcom like it since? Who is it that decides what kind of person today’s audience wants to see on their screen? An entire generation has grown up with a skewed idea of what the ideal person should look like, thanks to casting agents and plastic surgeons. If you fall short then the best you can hope for is a bit part as the comic friend next door.

Message — if you can’t be Hollywood pretty you had better be funny. How did this happen? Fifty years ago size 12 was considered curvaceous and sexy.

Marilyn Monroe was a size 12. Though to be fair, if you go back even further in history there was someone else that had an ideal look in mind for humans too. His name was Hitler.

Shannon McKinnon is a humour columnist from the Peace River country. You can email her at contact@shannonmckinnon.com

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