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27 January 2014
What is normal?

Landra  - weekending 25th January 2014

Landra now has a feature column under the banner of THE CUTTING EDGE on the Neath Ferret website.   Here we reprint her latest contribution in the hope that it will help many who worry about their body shape.


Are there 2 schools of thought or am I delusional?

This is a problem for me. I tend to think outside the box, or so I am told, but am I just thinking out of a minority box?

You see I find it hard to understand why everyone else does not see through the advertising and hype of the present day media. To me it hits me between the eyes like a bullet every time I see an advertisement or watch the tv or go on the internet, that I am being persuaded certain things and I can either fall into the trap or I can think for myself. I tried falling into the trap and going along with the flow but found it too superficial and ultimately I would start to think for myself again and rail against the manipulation I felt was being applied to me by outside forces.

Yesterday I spoke to a colleague who has a sister, a beautiful forty something mum who is now in a state of depression and attempting to lose weight, which she feels is the reason for her depression. She is following millions of others who are persuaded they are not the ‘norm’. This colleague is the stick insect variety and all their lives her sister has tried to become the same shape as her, when she is different. One sister is the build of one side of the family; one follows the genetic build of the other side.

Then when on the train I saw two young women on their way to work. One was not far short of six foot tall with legs like a stick insect, stuck into fashionable wide legged short boots which flapped about front and back like oversized wellingtons.  The other girl being about 6 inches shorter had well formed calves and thighs and was obviously a sporty person. Neither of these girls, who were similar ages, had an ounce of spare flesh on their bodies, but they were completely different shapes. The boots on the stick insect would have been tight around the legs of the other girl.

Now my point is, you cannot make one body shape into another. You are what you are. Yes there is an epidemic of overweight people, caused by many factors and this must be addressed. But showing models in advertisements and magazines, newspapers, hoardings, anywhere they can be in your face who are all one body type, that is the stick insect variety, is putting possibly three quarters of the population in an impossible position.

So who is telling us that we must look like a six foot stick thin model with legs measuring 3 inches around or we are not the ‘norm’? Why the people who want you to struggle to change your shape of course, the people who want you to buy their slimming pills and go to their weight reduction classes and sell you the clothes only fit for stick insects and leave you crying because you do not look like Kate Moss airbrushed in that poster. Of course you cannot look like Kate Moss, you are Kate Bloggs and you are just as unique only different.

So to come back to where I started this diatribe, do I want to look like the advertisements, would it make me happy? Is my small box better or should I join the herd, if I can, and not think just follow blindly, adore those who I am told are the ‘norm’; put myself into an inferior second place to an airbrushed Kate Moss; adore and idolize those who are promoted as the ‘norm’. Or do I look in the mirror, see the un normal me and say, my box is the right box even though there are less of us in it?

We are supposed to live in a democracy and in a democracy the majority vote rules, so I suppose Kate Moss is the ‘norm’ most people would opt for and so that leaves me outside the democracy and railing against the majority decision.

But as I tried to follow suit and it made me unhappy then I must continue to live in my ‘box’ even though it might not be the ‘norm’ as it is the only place where I can look at myself without wanting more, I can eat what I like without hitting myself about the head with a brick for being naughty and I can live with myself instead of wishing for things way beyond my control but constantly being persuaded anything is possible. Well in my box everything is not possible. I cannot as an adult make myself grow another six inches or reduce my calves so they will look like needles in a pin cushion in the must have boots for this year.

No my minority box is a very imperfect box but it is a happy one, is yours?


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