Peary as a Princess

Beloved Shapeling and occasional blogger Buffpuff wrote to me this morning about a piece in the "Daily Hate" giving 19-year-old Princess Beatrice crap for--stunningly enough--having the same body shape as her mom, Sarah Ferguson. (Sanity Watchers warning applies.)

Sarah in 2001 and Beatrice, recently

Now, I'll grant you that Beatrice--like countless other young women--could really stand to go up a size in her bikini bottoms. (Check out the pic of Christina Onassis circa 1976 in the article for another example of the same problem. There really is a simple cure for muffin top, y'all--it's called a waistband that fucking fits.) But beyond that, all we've got here is a lovely girl who looks just like her curvy mom. I'M SHOCKED! SHOCKED, I TELL YOU! Especially when the whole article is ostensibly about women whose bodies look like their moms'--it's just that the young women with thin mothers aren't chastised for their genetic inheritances.

Bea, however, gets an earful:
Thighs [as opposed to other things the author considers body flaws] you can do something about - as Beatrice may need to find out for herself.

For starters, I'd get rid of the 24-hour police protection Andrew insists on for his daughters.

It's sheer pomposity that these low-risk princesses should cost the taxpayer £250,000 a year each to protect them. From what? A dangerously rich diet?

But the constant First Class travel, with chauffeured limousines, means that Beatrice spends too much time on her generous bottom.

If and when she sets about changing her body shape, Bea will discover there is no substitute for sensible eating and tough exercise. Something that Fergie knows better than most.

Beatrice does not have to carry the sins of the mother on her thighs.

She has a wonderful and privileged life ahead of her, but unless she gets her body under control, she'll have a lifetime of yo-yo dieting and pitiful self-esteem. Just ask Fergie.

Which does make you rather wonder where her mother is in all this.
It really is hard to know where to begin with that shit. I guess I'll have to go point by point.

  • I know whereof I speak on this one: Thighs are categorically not something "you can do something about," unless the "something" in question is liposuction. Right around the same time Fergie started proselytizing for Weight Watchers, I dieted myself down to my smallest ever: size Extra Small on top and size 4 on the bottom. And that bottom? Still consisted of (relatively) wide hips and even wider thighs. Your shape does not go away just because it gets smaller, unless you become genuinely emaciated. Bea's thighs are there to stay.

  • Because traveling in coach or driving your own Yaris somehow involves less sitting on your ass?

  • How the hell does this woman know what the princess's eating and exercise habits are like? Answer: she doesn't. You cannot tell by looking. And, um, Fergie knows better than most about chronic dieting, not "sensible eating." The two are hardly synonymous.

  • Sins? SINS? Yes, I know it's a riff on a common phrase, but come on. Especially since there's clearly no purpose whatsoever for this line except that Amanda Platell apparently thought it was terribly clever.

  • How, exactly, is her body not currently under her control? She can obviously swim and walk in it. Seems like she's doing just fine to me.

  • "...she'll have a lifetime of yo-yo dieting and pitiful self-esteem. Just ask Fergie." This is my favoritest line of reasoning ever. "If you don't lose weight, you'll suffer from low self-esteem!" Yes, and why is that again? Oh, right, because of ARTICLES LIKE THIS ONE AND ATTITUDES LIKE YOURS, ASSHOLE. Fatty tissue does not actually contain special self-esteem-lowering cells--a fact that's always lost on the people who tell us we must eliminate our disgusting, hideous, putrid, smelly, unlovable fat because it creates self-esteem problems.

  • Bonus points for telling Bea to learn from her mother's example, when Fergie's own yo-yo dieting and self-esteem issues were driven largely by THE FUCKING JACKALS IN THE PRESS WHO WOULDN'T LET UP ON HER WEIGHT.

  • Where is her mother in all what? Do you mean why isn't her mother insisting she starve herself to be more socially acceptable, even though she's perfectly healthy and would still be pear-shaped if she were a size 0? Why hasn't her mother taught her that self-hatred is the only appropriate response to their genetically determined body type? And what on earth makes you think her mother hasn't passed those things on right along with the thighs, considering she's currently plugging a weight loss book and has been publicly tortured over her weight and/or shilling for Weight Watchers for about as far back as Beatrice can likely remember? I just love this idea that if a child--even a 19-year-old young woman--is the slightest bit chubby, it means the parents are probably strapping her to the couch and force-feeding her donuts. 'Cause we all know no kid ever gets fat if the parents want thinness badly enough for her.

Anyway. This article was enough to bring Buffpuff out of blogging hibernation, and I highly recommend that you all go read her letter to the editor of the Daily Mail.
In truth, I don’t give a rat’s patootie about Beatrice as an individual. What I care about is the effect your article will have on the psyches of the women who will read it in a climate where such pernicious, condemnatory tripe is commonplace. (In point of fact another Mail journalist had a pop at Beatrice in the same issue, entreating her to hide her offending hips from public view). I care about the many average-sized women who happen to be shaped like the princess, who will be damaged as a result of being told – for the umpteenth time – that their bodies are substandard and, furthermore, that they are under some kind of moral obligation to keep their natural curves in check. I care about genuinely fat women, whose self-esteem is ground to dust beneath a daily tirade of moralising, ridicule and vilification from the media and who know they are the thing that others fear to be. I even care about joyless neurotics like Becky and poor old Fergie, whose only means of making herself acceptable to society was to make dieting her career – still dutifully waging war on their bodies in middle age because people like you are telling them it’s their duty to society.

I am sicker than I can adequately convey of living in a fearful, vicious culture that equates aesthetics with health and health with morality.
Sing it, sister.

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