Today in the The Daily Mail, former magazine editor Liz Jones decided to join the throng of individuals who worship at the throne of Christina Hendricks‘ body. Considering she’s about three years late to the party of people who’ve noticed that the Mad Men star is particularly voluptuous, old Liz decided to kick it up a notch. First, she compares Hendricks to an animal.  And then she goes in for the kill, by partaking in some of the most terrible body snarking I’ve read in awhile — all in the name of equality.

Here’s how the article begins:

“You can almost hear the whispered tones of David Attenborough, speaking from a vegetation-covered hide.

He has spied the unfettered body of Christina Hendricks, who has emerged, hesitantly blinking into the glare of the hot Italian sun.

Not since the Fifties has such a magnificent example of this female species — known to zoologists as the Lesser Spotted Voluptuous Goddess — been captured on film.”

Hmn. Comparing a woman in a bathing suit while on vacation to a zoological expedition is a questionable endeavor. Though perhaps a good intro into an article. But Liz Jones doesn’t stop there. She continues to harp on Hendricks’ body in an increasingly disturbing way.

She compares her to a snow leopard. And then pulls out this:

“Pale, big-bodied, small-waisted and sporting the most mesmerising frontage — Ms Hendricks was a rare sight indeed when she stepped out of the swimming pool at her Lake Como hotel.”

OK. Sure. The media is overly obsessed with thin women. And there aren’t enough role models gracing the cover of magazines that actually look like real (beautiful) women who have not had plastic surgery or cultivated eating disorders. But Jones’ attention to detail here takes that stereotype and pulls it into reverse at full speed:

We are used to seeing big breasts, of course; just look at the photos of Katie Price frolicking in the pool in Marbella over the past couple of days. But not real big breasts. Not the sort that have purple veins in them, that droop when unsupported and that don’t sit bolt upright when their owner lies down.”

Oh look! Christina Hendricks is a role model, who exists to be mocked by us? What purple veins are we talking about here? Not only is she shaped unlike other actresses today, but Christina is now meant to be the representative of all women who don’t look like they should be on TV?

Except she is on TV. And she’s an icon of beauty. Today. Even though Liz Jones thinks other people would only put her on a magazine cover of a “Shape” issue. Except that’s not the case. Everyone seems comfortable talking about Hendricks’ shape and body ad nauseum, but she’s also on plenty of magazine covers. Here she is back in the summer of 2009, on New York Magazine’s cover:

It isn’t the “Shape” issue, as Liz claims. It’s a straight up Fashion issue. Of course they did talk about her famous figure inside. And as it turns out Christina is not a huge fan of all this attention:
“It kind of hurt my feelings at first.  “Anytime someone talks about your figure constantly, you get nervous, you get really self-conscious. I was working my butt off on the show, and then all anyone was talking about was my body! It might sound silly, but I didn’t realize I was so different. I was just oblivious. Sometimes I would go on an audition and someone would say something like, Girl, you’re refreshing! That was it.”
When an actress looks different from all of her peers, it’s obviously going to come up in interviews and plenty of articles.
But how is this kind of microscoping attention to detail in The Daily Mail any worse than analyzing the bodies of super skinny models?
Here Christina isn’t just dealing with the way she looks. She’s being instructed by good old Liz to NEVER diet. Or eat healthy food. Becuase she is now the weathervane of women’s self-esteem the world over. No pressure Christina!
Oh, and one more last little note from Liz:
“Let’s hope this exposure doesn’t send her into hiding or, worse, make her even think about going on a diet — surely the unhealthiest choice she could ever make.”
I can’t imagine that these pictures of Christina Hendricks in a bathing suit would make her go into hiding. But this Daily Mail article? It might.