Thursday, January 21, 2010

jk rowling: definately has it right.

"Being thin. I whiled away part of the journey reading a magazine that featured several glossy photographs of a very young woman who is either seriously ill or suffering from an eating disorder (which is, of course, the same thing); anyway, there is no other explanation for the shape of her body. She can talk about eating absolutely loads, being terribly busy and having the world's fastest metabolism until her tongue drops off (hooray! Another couple of ounces gone!), but her concave stomach, protruding ribs and stick-like arms tell a different story.

This girl needs help, but, the world being what it is, they're sticking her on magazine covers instead.

All this passed through my mind as I read the interview, then I threw the horrible thing aside. "Fat" is usually the first insult a girl throws at another girl when she wants to hurt her,' I said; I could remember it happening when I was at school, and witnessing it among the teenagers I used to teach. His bemusement at this everyday feature of female existence reminded me how strange and sick the 'fat' insult is. I mean, is 'fat' really the worst thing a human being can be? Is 'fat' worse than 'vindictive', 'jealous', 'shallow', 'vain', 'boring' or 'cruel'? Not to me;

I went to the British Book Awards that evening. After the award ceremony I bumped into a woman I hadn't seen for nearly three years. The first thing she said to me?

"You've lost a lot of weight since the last time I saw you!''

Well, I said, slightly nonplussed, 'the last time you saw me I'd just had a baby.'What I felt like saying was, 'I've produced my third child and my sixth novel since I last saw you. Aren't either of those things more important, more interesting, than my size?' But no – my waist looked smaller! Forget the kid and the book: finally, something to celebrate!

So the issue of size and women was weighing on my mind as I flew home to Edinburgh the next day. Once up in the air, I opened a newspaper and my eyes fell, immediately, on an article about the pop star Pink. Her latest single, 'Stupid Girls', is the antidote-anthem for everything I had been thinking about women and thinness. 'Stupid Girls' satirises the talking toothpicks held up to girls as role models: those celebrities whose greatest achievement is un-chipped nail polish, whose only aspiration seems to be getting photographed in a different outfit nine times a day, whose only function in the world appears to be supporting the trade in overpriced handbags and rat-sized dogs. Maybe all this seems funny, or trivial, but it's really not. It's about what girls want to be, what they're told they should be, and how they feel about who they are. I've got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don't want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I'd rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before 'thin'. And frankly, I'd rather they didn't give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do.

Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons. Let them never be Stupid Girls. Rant over."

i know this is a reallllly long quote. but PLEASE read it.

well. im off to st.george this weekend.

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nevershoutnever concert<3 and some time away from here!! ciao ciao!

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7 comments:

Allison said...

JK Rowling has that right- I'd MUCH rather be intelligent and beautiful inside than materialistic and shallow on the outside! :D

Tuesdai Noelle said...

Excellent points by JK Rowling.....society indeed is painting a pictures of "stuff and things" to grab a community of young ladies into believing that's the way to shine. Causing them not to focus on the inner but the outer.....glad that JK addressed this. Thanks for posting...havie fun at the concert :)

Rachel said...

Wow i love your blog! Followig now :) i actually Love it!!
http://rachelpocketsized.blogspot.com/ please follow me? x x x

Kiki said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I've struggled with an eating disorder in the past and I'm glad JK Rowling has given this issue the attention is deserves. She's rephrased the idea that inner beauty matters most in a way less cliche way than I could!

I'm sooo loving your blog and will be following you now! x

Renée said...

nevershoutnever are great! :)

hannah joel said...

This was really great. Actually, something I really needed to read at the time, so thank you for posting that. thankyouthankyouthankyou.

Karina said...

JK Rowling rocks.