From independent.ie ;-

I am a heterosexual man of a certain age, which obviously means one thing: I do not frequent shopping centres or shopping malls. The single exception I allow, because it is both open air and near to my home, is my annual trip to the Kildare Village.

I spent a happy hour there a year ago, most of it in the women’s underwear shop, Wolford, watching a video of German models on a catwalk, sporting not very much. And the really lovely thing about these models was the antediluvian amplitude of their bodies: breasts you would have ordered by the truckloads, large helpings of bottoms that would cause healthy men to yodel with joy, and jolly bellies that you would have happily commissioned a seamstress to make them into a very large mattress, and taken home.

That was 2008. 2009, and in my most recent visit to Wolford — my last — the buxom Teutonic mannequins were gone, and in their stead was a video of the usual gaunt skeletons tottering down the catwalk. A healthy and joyous celebration of female sexual carnality had been replaced by a death walk. Meanwhile, outside the shop, waddling down paths and gorging in the restaurants, were the new generation of Irish women: prosperous, upper middle-class and, for fully one quarter of them, massively obese. Not fat. Not overweight. Not corpulent. But massively obese. From their arms swing great folds of fat, like huge water-filled balloons. Their bellies are so vast that their owners could not have seen even their toes in years. And their bottoms constitute such an orotund object, with such a colossal circumference, that an entire school of carpentry is going to have to be invented to cope with their seating requirements.

Now, three forces arrived roughly simultaneously in western society. They were, one, feminism; two obesity; and three, anorexia. I note the coincidence: I do not say two and three are necessarily attributable to one. I am also aware of the predictable response of feminist columnists (and God, I can name them now) on this subject is to sneer: Ha! Kevin Myers wants us back at the sink, children at our knees, in the bad old days when foreplay merely meant: “Brace yourself Bridget.”

Of course, dismissing questions that are inconvenient, by a stereotyping and an ad hominem caricature of the questioner, is the standard rhetorical ploy of feminists. Yet not even the most sneering feminist can deny that when men created the cultural female iconic imagery of western civilisation (that is, through the middle ages up to the mid-1970s), from Botticelli to Rubens and to Hefner, women generally did not suffer from eating disorders. In that visual universe, women were clearly sex objects and the female form was worshipped. During this era, women might sometimes have been overweight or malnourished, but there were not the chronic conditions we now know as obesity and anorexia.

Since the political and cultural victory of feminism brought women a virtual monopoly over female image creation, by women of women for women, through American Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Vanity Fair, the twin plagues of death by starvation and death by over-eating have swept through the female sex. So: is there a causal relationship between the attainment of untrammelled editorial authority by a handful of powerful women, and the semi-voluntary victimhood by others?

Certainly, women’s editors have dogmatically used stick-insects as models. Their companions in this project are either other women, or homosexual men. Heterosexual men are almost entirely outside this power loop. Yet feminists still blame the traditional male “patriarchy” for the obesity/anorexia pandemic that is destroying both the bodies and lives of so many women. This is in such conflict with both logic, and all available evidence, that it simply proves how human unreason can triumph, enabling self-pitying feminists to blame their women’s woes on some mythic, still all-powerful, male chauvinist juju.

Okay. But why are one quarter of middle-class, middle aged Irishwomen obese to the point of immobility? Does the fascistic image-making of the obergruppenfuhrers of women’s magazines cause ordinary women to despair of looking like a woman at all? Do they indulge instead in the endorphin-releasing pleasures of gorging themselves? Meanwhile, their daughters are possibly immured in either of the twin purgatories of anorexia or obesity, from which a healthy, lifelong escape is almost as likely as it is from Devil’s Island.

Anorexia and obesity arrived at around the same time as feminism, and possibly on the same train. So is the unadulterated image-making power of influential women over the perception of women’s bodies a primary reason why so many dislike themselves physically? Women editors clearly prefer the unattainably epicene, the gaunt, and the chic, deathbed look, to the triumphantly alive.

Which begs the larger questions: do such powerful women actually hate real women?

And is unconscious misogyny amongst female fashionistas the real reason that so many relatively low-ranking women, even middle-class ones, are so profoundly and so desperately and, most of all, so fatly unhappy?

Original article here..

http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/kevin-myers/anorexia-and-obesity-arrived-at-the-same-time-as-feminism-and-possibly–on-the-same-train-1888826.html

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