Monday, July 07, 2008

More magazine v Mischa Barton (and the merchants of anorexia)

One would love to line up those peddlers of nothingness, Beauty Editors, Beauty Assistants, Fashion Editors and Beauty Gurus and analyse their fat rolls bit by bit.

Last week's More magazine surpassed itself. Second-rate gossip and oh-my-god-look-at-this-D-list-celebrity's-sweat-patch aside, More and similar magazines' sole raison d'etre is the usual, incessant, repetitive litany of "tips" on "how to get an amazing body", "lose weight" and achieve the dream of a "flat tummy".

Week in week out, they line their pages with instructions for a-leaf-of-lettuce-a-day crash diets that will make you look good on the beach. They market impossibly perfect bodies as the one and only thing that would allegedly turn you into a sexy, cool, popular young female. A "fit" body that is sold as the only desirable ambition (aside from the latest A-list fashionable bits and pieces of course). Which makes their token stories of "how I beat my eating disorder", "anorexia" and "bulimia" even more perplexing.

Printing out pea-sized-brain-style vacuity dressed as "exclusive news" is fair and legitimate. But perversely and (not so) subtly perpetrating eating disorders is not. Look at this shit. Under the banner "THE WEEK'S BIG QUESTIONS", page 20 of More (issue 548 - no, before you say anything, I didn’t buy it, I just came across it somewhere!) sported the headline "WHY DOES POOR MISCHA HAVE SUCH BAD CELLULITE?", alluding to Misha Barton's cellulite supposedly disfiguring the back of her thighs. Sure enough there was a photo of the pleasant-looking OC star taken from the front accompanied by another, oh-my-gawd (!), showing the back of her legs. Perfectly normal legs of a human being. Yet, according to More, even Misha Barton, someone who is -surely- thinner than at least 90% of the female population, has a body to be ashamed of.

If THIS WEEK'S BIG QUESTION actively portrays Misha Barton as someone who should sort out her diet and fitness regime, imagine how More readers who are not as superthin as her are made to feel. More's Beauty Editor, for instance, is quoted as saying that "Mischa's love of Taco Bell and Starbucks may explain why she's battling wobbly bits". One would love to line up those peddlers of nothingness, Beauty Editors, Beauty Assistants, Fashion Editors and Beauty Gurus and analyse their fat rolls bit by bit. If hell does exist they'll be probably forced to stand in a circle, guts out, bingo wings and double chins in sight with an army of photographers gawping and giggling at their (perfectly human) imperfections. Because, effectively, that’s what they make a living out of themselves.

10 comments:

meeshhead said...

Mischa Barton's alleged cellulite was Photoshopped, which was proven by a Forensic Photo Expert.

Stan Moss said...

I've always thought: those gossip magazines that have been multiplying in recent years act just like that hateful group of trendy bullies at the back of the common room at school. Remember those horrendous tarts who'd be rutinely heard saying
'Look at that freak', "oh mygod, what are you wearing', 'grebo' and the rest/...while they firmly believed they're the depositary of fashion. Completely oblivious, of course of the psychological damage they inflict with their judgements...

Anonymous said...

is it so difficult for this blog thing to manage a week without moaning about celebrity magazines? they're popular. period. let them be.

meeshhead said...

I agree! If you don't like them, don't read them. I practice that.

Stan Moss said...

so, meeshhead you're quite happy to buy mags who publish fake pics of people so that they make'em look fatter and sell more copies. as they say, each to their own...right on!

claude said...

We're sinking pretty low if i have to elaborate on why it is wrong to harass people and publish their doctor pictures as a vehicle to sell more copies and make an extra bob or two.

As someone who had a member of the family suffering from severe anorexia in the past I'm fully aware of the danger of going on about issues of weight loss... Especially when there's none! (i.e. in the case of someone with Mischa B's body...i.e. seeing cellulite and "wobbly bits" when there's none or very little and then making a MASSIVE deal out of it).

Magazines have a duty to be responsible. They cannot shed that responsibility. This is not a trivial matter.

By the way, this blog is about "media, culture and society"... surely you don't expect us to talk about baseball or reproductive patterns in monkeyfish instead...or do you?

meeshhead said...

To Stan Moss: I don't buy or read those mags. What I'm saying is, don't complain about them, because nobody is forcing you to read them!

Emma said...

Dear Meeshhead/Anonymous,

So I can't complain about the Iraq war because I'm not in the army, or I cannot protest about designers using fur because I don't work for Galliano?

You don't need to buy gossip magazines to have an opinion about them, Meeshhead.

Also, anonymous (what's your name, by the way?), your latest comment seems to be a fine representation of your personality.
Should we let everything be providing they're popular, and agree with them? That would make life a lot less complex, wouldn't it...

Quite a convenient way of thinking, if I do say so myself.

meeshhead said...

Dear Emma,
Using the Iraq war (occupation) is not a good analogy, since it's a little more important than gossip mags (fish wrappers). I feel that if poeople choose to subject themselves to that garbage, let them wallow in it. I turn the other cheek without making a big opinionated deal about them.

Stuck said...

misshead...three years too late but you sound like a complete dickhead if I may.