No one likes to live in a state of constant vigilance. For one thing, it’s pretty dull. So I don’t spend my life scouring the internet for examples of poorly worded advertising copy. It’s nice to think that we’re living in fairly enlightened times, anyway, and that women might be beyond writing things aimed at other women that are, well, quite offensive.
But sometimes, all it takes is a badly-worded tweet to remind you how far we’ve still got to go. Perusing my Twitter feed late at night, I fell upon this little gem of a line.
“We’ve got swimsuits to hide all manner of sins.”
The body I don’t especially fancy shoving into a bikini- which incidentally, as we’re talking in Old Testament-style overtones, is hardly very forgiving for anyone vaguely normal looking – is a sin?
Company magazine is primarily aimed at (I’m guessing, from their Twitter feed and from reading a few editions recently,) 16-25 year old women. Why are they encouraging these girls to use the language of shame to describe what probably amounts to a slightly curved tummy and some thigh, probably the very same that is airbrushed out of bikini model shots the world over?
Why are we still pretending that it’s OK – in fact it’s probably normal – to teach young women to be ashamed of their bodies? I know ‘it’s only a phrase’ – and that they didn’t mean it like that. But still.
And actually, in terms of magazines aimed at that market, I think Company is pretty great. They feature articles about how to get into interesting careers, good relationship advice, tech articles – in essence, they don’t usually treat women like paranoid mirror-gazing man-magnets.
Wear a swimming costume instead of a bikini if you like – but wear it because you like it, or because it makes you feel more comfortable. Or confident. Or just because if you want to actually swim, it’s a lot more practical in most cases. Just don’t wear one because you are worried that those breasts that will feed your children, if you want them to, are not Playboy-perfect. Or that those thighs which allow you to walk around/run/jump up and down with the sheer joy of being a young woman at the height of your physical powers are something to be ashamed of.