Be skinnier than all your friends
I’ve already blogged about how ‘thin’ seems to have become a term of approval for women, supplanting ‘slim’ or ‘slender’ – but surely ‘skinny’ is a step too far? Is there now no term of disapprobation if a woman is too thin? At Walthamstow Central Station there is a poster for some awful diet book with the shoutline ‘Be skinnier than all your friends!’ I find this loathsome in a number of ways. In the first place it’s a logically impossible promise to deliver to the public at large, anyway – how can everyone be skinnier than all their friends? More seriously, why would anyone want to be? It sounds a completely undesirable ambition to me – like saying ‘Be weaker than all your friends’, or ‘Be uglier than all your friends’, or ‘Be stupider than all your friends’. And even if one granted that being skinny was a good thing, which I do not, the promise implies an unhealthy, competitive ideal of friendship – as if one only wanted a certain body-shape in order to score over one’s friends and make them envious.
The same ad also promises ‘thin thighs’, which to me sounds about as enticing as promising flat breasts or crooked teeth or puny biceps or curvature of the spine. Thighs are not supposed to be thin. Who, except an anorexic or a human skeleton in a traveling carnival, would want thin thighs?
I hope no one buys this man’s stupid diet book, the name of which I have deliberately avoided remembering.