Saturday, November 26, 2011

Living Under a Microscope

            I was standing in line at the grocery store feeling sorry for myself when I happened to glance up and see one of those magazines that runs mean stories about movie stars and other famous people. The big picture in the center was of Jennifer Lopez. She was walking in a green evening gown that was cut up to her thigh, so that her left leg was fully exposed showing some cellulite and tan Spanx trying to hold it in. The headline was something like "Stylists tell all." Now when I was younger, I might have giggled and maybe even been a little grossed out, but time and age have changed me.

I’ll be the first to admit, I am no Jennifer Lopez fan. It would have been easy to be catty and point at the sex symbol and snicker at her cellulite, but when I looked at that picture, I actually felt sorry for her. Why? I saw a woman with two small children who is trying to pick up the pieces of her career after a divorce. A woman with some post kid chub like I have, only I don’t have to worry about people following me around trying to take unflattering pictures of me all the time. I can’t imagine what it must be like to live under a microscope like that with people watching my every move.

            She wasn’t the only one they were criticizing. Apparently, movie stars can’t even be human now. They were vilifying Kathy Lee Gifford for having sweaty pits and some other hot male movie star for having bad breath. Are you kidding me? They can’t even sweat or have bad breath? They were making fun of a stain on Britney Spears’ shirt because famous people never spill food on themselves I guess. They have to look perfect 24 hours a day. And, whatever they do, they can't go anywhere in sweats unless they are jogging or taking their skinny fat butts to the gym.

            I know there are those who will read this and say that famous people know that living with paparazzi and having their lives an open book for all to see is just part of the deal. Somehow, I don’ think that when Jennifer Lopez signed on as a Fly Girl dancer on In Living Color, she knew she would end up on the cover of a major magazine with a Spanx encrusted, dimpled thigh hanging out. We see the consequences of this pressure on actresses everyday who walk down the Red Carpet with their bones sticking out. Then they get blasted for being too skinny. They can’t win.

            And why do people care if Kathy Lee has sweaty pits; Brittney spilled some Taco Bell sauce on her shirt; Brad Pitt has body odor; or Jennifer Lopez has cellulite? Why do we want to see who has the best and worst beach bodies? Honestly, are we so pathetic and lacking in self confidence as a society that we can’t wait to revel in the pain and human weaknesses of people just because they are successful and/or beautiful? Those magazines are selling or they wouldn’t be in business. They hound movie stars and other famous people and can’t wait to dig up dirt. The more pain the better and people keep buying it. I just don’t get it.

            I’m going to risk a Forrest Gump moment here and say that my momma used to say “You can always find someone worse off than you are, but that doesn’t make you any better.” She also said “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Good advice. Thanks Mom.


  1. I have a little friend who was hospitalised with anorexia when she was 13. The pressure for perfection from these types of magazines, the mean attitude they have toward others, combined perfectly with my friend's own perfectionist traits so that she obsessed over trying to be the impossible. If she had lived in a world where people valued her ability to play piano, her lovely smile and her smarts, she (and her family) never would have lived through this trauma.

    As a consequence I do no buy these mags. They make me feel sick just looking at them. I truly think they're a symptom of a terrible societal illness.

    LOL...but that's just my humble opinion and it is (through horrific experience) probably biased ;-)

  2. Great blog, well said. The people who sell these mags would sell heroin if it was legal. They are scum who prey on other people's weaknesses and inadequacies.
    But, as you point out, if people didn't buy this crap, then it would disappear. I think it's about being made to feel inadequte by marketing depts and advertising and also to do with self defence - i.e. point the finger at someone else to distract ourselves and everyone else away from the pathetic an unfullfilled lives so many people live (despite everything they own).
    People also find it easier to spout 100 bads words than say one good one. We like to think that as adults we are mature and are rational, intelligent beings. Sadly this isn't true, not because we aren't capable of being so, but because we are being distracted into thinking that being skinny or wealthy etc etc are the most important things in life.
    This is a message they've been brainwashing us with for decades. And when you are brought up with that sort of thinking it's hard to see beyond it, let alone challenge it. The nazis did a similar things to children in the 1930s and it's still going on today.
    Western society (the only one I've any real expereince of) doesn't encourage free thinking and it doesn't teach it's children HOW to think - as opposed to WHAT to think. How to think is about discovering things for yourself, analysing information, making judgments and having opinions that are yours. The rest is just brain washing.
    Fortunately, blogs like yours help to open people's minds and provides an alternative point of view: something that's desperately needed in these times.

  3. Love your comment Rebecca! I don't buy those magazines either. I wish more people could see what that kind of pressure is doing to our young people like your friend.

  4. Thanks so much Mick! I couldn't agree more. The messages sent out by the media are doing so much damage, and still people support it. It is its own brand of heroin. Thank you for your amazing comment!