Dove's real women or Boden's sexy supermodel Well, this old bag goes for glamour every time!
22:20 GMT, 17 October 2012
On hearing that yummy mummies were having 50 fits over the fact that supermodel Helena Christensen — who was once probably the most beautiful woman in the world, and is still monumentally gorgeous — can be seen starring in the new Boden catalogue, I can’t say I was in the least surprised.
Surprised that such a luscious, intelligent woman would choose to wear such pedestrian threads, sure — though everyone’s got to make a living.
But surprised that Bodenettes have had their noses put out of joint by the appearance of such searing, unusual beauty in their mediocre midst Not a jot.
Catalogue of errors Boden have angered devotees by hiring Helena Christensen to model their clothes
A 43-year-old single mother, millionairess and breast cancer fundraiser who has worked to support herself since the age of 18, Christensen makes a real nonsense of a certain type of woman’s pitiful aspirations to find a man and make him a life-long meal ticket.
Often, these are modern, urban women who aspire to be old-fashioned country dwellers. You know the sort of tragic type I mean — she can’t reach her sexual potential unless she’s doing the deed on Cath Kidston sheets, and has to reach for the smelling salts when the new Boden catalogue comes through the letterbox in case the excitement actually kills her.
This is the sort of broad who believes life really was better in the old days — when the age of consent was 12, one in five women was a prostitute and the rest died in childbirth before 30. Never mind — home-made jam tomorrow. Let them eat cupcakes. Happy times!
Obviously intelligent as well as beautiful, Christensen makes the Bodenettes feel like the vapid bores they are beneath their artful highlights and furry gilets. (Imagine coming home to their mindless prattle each night!)
Intelligent and beautiful: Are those spitefully complaining about Helena just jealous
She makes their yummy-mummy dreams look like sad little excuses for lives, and thus has invoked their wrath.
The tenor of the temper tantrums that have greeted the Christensen catalogue on online forums is remarkable. ‘Unattainable clothes horse,’ some spiteful woman railed.
‘I’m not prepared to pay for the clothes as I imagine the prices have been hiked for the inflated modelling costs to pay her,’ shrilled another.
‘I’m a mum first and foremost and want to be there for my kids — I don’t want to look like Helena Christensen,’ another posted.
‘We’re not all slim and good-looking,’ yelled another, ‘rather interesting and designed for the job in hand — motherhood.’
How fascinating that though it is feminists who are popularly portrayed as objecting to the commercial use of female beauty, you haven’t heard a peep out of me and my man-hating muckers over this.
Sad excuse for lives: Boden fans have taken to the site's forum to debate the Helena issue
On the contrary, the anti-beauty agitators are the very opposite of what a feminist is — they are quite simply women who live off and for their husbands.
This level of eye-popping, lip-frothing fury led me to thinking that perhaps this wasn’t just a question of style — but rather, of green-eyed envy, pure and simple. Eyes as green as Christensen’s, but not a bit as beautiful.
If Boden had chosen a teenage, blonde glamour model livid with silicone, I just might see some justification in these ugly online mob monsterings.
Christensen, though, is a mother in her 40s with a beauty that is interesting rather than blatant.
Who on earth is so scared, so sad, so downright silly that seeing photographs of her makes them feel cross
It’s more than a decade since the last of my good looks went south. But I wouldn’t want them back for all the world.
I associate being attractive with decades of unwanted attention from men, and two mostly miserable marriages, which I probably wouldn’t have made if I hadn’t been so keen to put a barrier between myself and all that unwanted attention.
Patronising: Julie said Dove's real women campaign does nothing to boost her self-esteem
I love to be around my young, gorgeous friends, but I don’t envy them their looks or their lifestyles, because I love being old and settled, at long last.
Similarly, I can honestly say that seeing beautiful models doing what they were born to do — look beautiful — always adds to the brightness of my day rather than detracts from it.
So what if I can never look like that I’m tone deaf, but I love to hear Emeli Sande sing. I’ve got two left feet, but I love to see old films of Ann Miller dancing. I’ll never go into outer space, dammit, but good for Sarah Brightman, who is planning to become the first professional musician to sing from space.
What I do find offensive, however, is being patronised by advertising, be it adverts for clothes, cosmetics or life insurance that makes a point of featuring ‘real’ women.
There was a Marks & Spencer TV commercial some years back in which a disgustingly hearty woman — probably Sandi Toksvig — ran lustily up a hill before proclaiming ‘I’M NORMAL!’ at the top of her voice.
This was the televisual equivalent of a creepily avuncular pat on the head — ‘Ho, ho, little girl, you’re not really fat!’ — and far from making most women love themselves, it made them really hate Marks & Spencer for apparently believing that we were all waiting to be told it was all right by M&S that we were plain and fat.
Appreciating beauty: Julie approves of Marks & Spencer's new campaign because it features women of different ages and sizes but the majority are slender and youthful
I remember being very pleased when the half-wits responsible for the campaign were sacked soon afterwards, as clothing sales continued falling rapidly in the wake of these misguided pep talks.
The new M&S campaign, on the other hand, I very much approve of — one crumbly (as am I), one chubster (as am I), but these two very appropriately outnumbered by the slender and the youthful. Result!
Proud of her gender: Beautiful women don't make Julie feel bad about herself
Sadly, we are still cursed with the Dove Campaign For Real Beauty, which seems to believe that watching a bunch of chubsters having a laugh can drastically improve our self-esteem. (As a chubster who is all for having a laugh, this is definitely one of those things that gets lost in translation.)
Where does one begin to describe why this campaign is so creepy Let alone the related Dove Self-Esteem Fund, which aims to challenge conventional ideals of beauty and encourage every female to feel ‘positive’ about her appearance.
‘It’s time to shake up self-esteem. And to give body image a boost,’ they say.
‘How can we turn the tide of such beauty pressures and encourage young girls and women everywhere to embrace a more positive body image We believe it’s time to find the answers . . . with your help.’
Well, Mr Advertiser Man, the way you can help maintain my self-esteem is to continue showing me photographs of beautiful models looking beautiful without assuming this is going to make me run sobbing to the bathroom mirror to poke my eyes out at the sight of the hideous monster there.
Beautiful women never make me feel bad about myself — rather, they make me proud to belong to roughly the same gender that produced such wonders of nature.
And I refuse to believe that I am the only fat/plain/old broad who feels this way.
It’s natural to appreciate beauty — be it male, female, animal, vegetable or mineral.
It’s the Bodenettes — who seek to ban Helena Christensen from their boring catalogues lest it inflame their weary meal tickets — who are the weirdos, not me.