Harriet Walker: Sex industry glamour is worse than size zero

Notebook

Share
Related Topics

I like to think I'm now impervious to faddish trends. I've been a goth, a WAG, a swot and a toff in my time, and I've settled at a stretchy waistband and warm coat sort of stage – yes, I follow fashion, but only if it's black and baggy.

So I'm alarmed to note a hunger for self-improvement, an obsession with hair extensions, fake tan, cosmetic surgery and bandage dresses – and I can trace them all directly to the lurid magazines I've been reading while laid up in my plaster cast.

I haven't picked up a copy of Heat or OK! in years, not that I have no interest in celebrities but because I was worried someone might see. I haven't felt as dissatisfied and full of self-loathing either. Modern life is not strewn with positive female role models, but the most dysmorphic sentiments can be traced back to reality TV stars and their glamazon culture.

Magazines with models on their covers sell far less than those which feature Victoria and Coleen; the catwalks are far less obtrusive than they were when Naomi et al bestrode them. Forget also the bony little Hollywood dolls – an other-worldly tribe that we just accept are more eternally groomed than us.

No, the new icons are those plucked from obscurity and thrust in our faces, in all their bra-cups-runneth-over glory – and they are more insidious than mere models could ever be. The Only Way Is Essex has spawned the most; with cast members like Jessica Wright (left) obsessed with manicures and mastopexy, their style is more porn than practical. Terrifyingly, we're told they exist in the same sphere as the rest of us. The rise of this sort of "celebrity" doesn't just give rise to anorexia and insecurity – it also goes a bit further towards making us hate the every essence of being a woman. Our breasts are not big or pert enough; our skin not silky or hairless enough; the hair we haven't had compulsively waxed off must be supplemented with acrylic ringlets; our clothes tiny, and tight.At least buying clothes is better than buying a new nose and some boobs.

Go out on a Friday night and the skimpy dresses are ubiquitous; the false nails, the extensions, the shivering, marbled mahogany hides. Our towns are filling up with pornified Barbies, with walking, talking blow-up dolls. The cult of sex industry glamour, the beauty regime that takes up every waking minute, has become the most insidious aspect of our obsession with celebrity culture.

 

TOTP could heal our battles

Thursday nights are all right for fighting, according to researchers who have determined that 8pm that night is the time when couples are most likely to have a row. Presumably, it's when all of our pre-Friday pent-up aggression seeps out. Luckily for my boyfriend, he was out last Thursday and the week before that I was too addled with hospital-strength morphine to really pick the scabs of any domestic disputes.

But there is another solution to these tiffs: bring back Top of the Pops. It was the perfect way to spend a Thursday evening, after homework and before my oboe lesson. And with Bruno Mars for the girls and Pan's People for the guys, any nascent arguments will sputter out before they take hold.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: A widow’s tale with an unexpected twist

John Rentoul
 

For all his faults, Russell Brand is utterly sincere, something politicians should emulate

Janet Street-Porter
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing
The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower