Friday, 26 May 2017

7. "Strong not Skinny"

When I was a young whippersnapper, it was all about being thin. Kate Moss ruled the world and belly tops were for displaying flat, desert like, stomachs - not an abdominal to be seen. Obviously, I didn’t particularly enjoy this skinny obsession and I never could hold down an eating disorder, but there it was.

Thankfully, Ms Moss’ remarks that “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” have been largely discredited through the introduction of sourdough pizzas and Deliveroo. But I can’t see that the replacement mantra is really any better.

Now before you have a go, which I know you will, I accept that “strong not skinny” might be better for us physically. It's healthy to be strong, as long as you’re not a sumo wrestler or one of those really big rugby players with a heart condition just waiting to pounce. For anyone young, impressionable and liable to obsession, it’s surely better to focus on strength rather than starvation. But psychologically speaking, I don’t believe that blazoning “strong not skinny” across pictures of toned buttocks is doing us any good at all.

There is a small proportion of the world who find being skinny very natural. There is also a small proportion of people who enjoy going to the gym and who genuinely take pleasure in building muscle. For everyone else, both desirable physical forms are a pain in the arse to achieve (literally in the case of the latter). And whether you’re telling us to be skinny, or telling us to be strong, it all rests somewhere in the realm of preachy and annoying.

Also, being strong requires a great deal more physical effort than being skinny. Being skinny can be done in bed. To my mind, it always has that going for it.
If the phrase was “healthy not strong”, things might be different. After all, health can come in many shapes and sizes and is something we can all aspire to, whether we’re bulging with muscles or as puny as a new-born lamb. But then, alliteration is very pleasing.
"Healthy not Hangry"?

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