Ah, Daily Mail, you are our favorite source of depressing amusement. In an article titled, “Tricks we use to hide our wobbly bits, by four VERY brave women,” the DM reveals various techniques four women utilize to look thinner. Because the website’s policy is essentially “pics or it didn’t happen,” they included before and after photos of the women…in their underwear. First, let’s check out the self-descriptions for each woman.
Jacqui Hickey, 46, is “a hair stylist, is single and lives in Buckinghamshire.” It is relevant that she is single because obviously, if she were skinny, she wouldn’t be. What’s her secret? “I spend my life holding my tummy in.”
There have been times when it’s really upset me. Once, when I was in my 20s, I heard a client asked a colleague when my baby was due. I was mortified. Since then I have tried to dress cleverly to conceal my stomach.
This makes me sad, but it also reminds me of how stupid people who assume everyone with a stomach is pregnant are.
Then, there’s Abbie Rendell, 33, who says she looks “like a different woman” when she’s naked.
It was worth getting a mummy-tummy to have my two beautiful sons, but I am more self-conscious of my body now.
I always wear a tight vest underneath, which I think helps to pull me in a little more and smooths over any lumps and bumps.
I also love a peplum waist because it hides my mummy-tummy perfectly. And high heels help make any woman look slimmer.
Look, British people, your accents may be way better than ours, but if I hear the term “mummy tummy” one more time, I’m going to vom. Anyway, wouldn’t this have been a solid chance to discuss the “post-baby body” phenomenon and absurd pressure we place on women in the mere moments after they pop out a kid to lose a ton of weight and look identical to their pre-baby selves? But nah, let’s recommend some tight vests. Thanks, Daily Mail!
The next “brave” one: Andrea Gould, a 37-year-old “mature student” (DM‘s weird words, not mine) from Frinton-On-Sea, which I assume is some kind of seafood palace. Apparently, she’s “shocked” when she sees her “lumps and bumps” which makes her feel depressed, something I fully relate to–though rhyming about my cellulite feels odd–and feels uncomfortable standing by younger women in crop tops (again, something I relate to, sort of). Again, an opportunity to talk about ageism and the impossible pressure to stay eternally young. Alas, we wind up just hearing about how women’s bodies “deteriorate” with age.
Finally, there’s 57-year-old Jacqueline Lloyd, whose story makes me sad:
I feel sad when I look at my body. Yes I’m a size 12 — but it could be so much better than it is.
I’ve lost two stone over the past three years, after my GP told me I needed to take better care of my health. I was eating too many sweet treats, and enjoying a few drinks every night.
Now I walk four miles a day, my diet is better and I only drink alcohol and eat treats at weekends.
Sadly, my body doesn’t reflect these changes, and if I’m honest I feel quite sad when I look at it. When I’m naked, I definitely look bigger than a size 12.
I get that it’s frustrating when your body doesn’t look exactly how you want it to despite your attempts to change it into a different figure, but (and perhaps I’m biased on this, given my own size) there are worse things to be wrong with your body than “definitely [looking] bigger than a size 12.” That said, it’s obviously her body and she can feel however she does about it, but I don’t think this article’s purpose is to help these women so much as to exploit their insecurities and figures.
Also, can we all just chill out on the word “brave”? Here is a brief rundown on the definition of brave as an adjective, according to the Oxford Dictionary:
- ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage a brave soldier he put up a brave fight before losing
- literary fine or splendid in appearance his medals made a brave show
Now, while am I experiencing some mild annoyance towards the exclusive use of male pronouns (they also only used “he” examples for the verb definition of brave), I am nevertheless unsure of how this could possibly apply to a bunch of people–exclusively women, of course–choosing to appear in their underwear so they can give DM readers further encouragement on the need to hide their bodies. This wasn’t some deep, introspective self-discovery piece wherein women were given the opportunity to discuss what makes these societal standards so frustratingly difficult to avoid allowing into our daily routines; it was an opportunity to gawk at female bodies, because that’s what we’re all supposed to do.