I’ve had a very relaxing New Year Weekend; yesterday my friend Becca and I spent the entire day in our Jim-jams watching DVDs and occasionally raiding the kitchen. Some of the things we watched led me to think about attractiveness in women. Our culture constantly reinforces the idea that beauty and attractiveness are all to do with women’s outer appearance; women newsreaders don’t last once their looks start to go, female actors don’t get work over a certain age (except in rare cases) female celebs get panned for appearing looking anything less than perfect.
So yesterday we watched the rather wonderful Sarah Millican, a stand-up comedian of a deliciously rude* and subtly clever kind. She is 35 and was attractively and stylishly turned out, but as she said “One of my arms is a size 12!” I think she’s exaggerating, but she’s definitely not a size 6. Then later in the evening we caught some of the singer Adele’s Albert Hall concert. She looks fabulous, but she definitely isn’t a skinny minny either. Her glory is her wonderful voice, her clever lyrics and her feisty attitude**.
What has struck me about these two women is that it’s not their appearance that is attractive, it’s their voices. And not just the sound of them, although I do love a Geordie accent, and Adele’s singing has a magical quality. It’s what they’re saying and how they’re saying it, and even the fact that they’re saying it at all. But here are two women who are saying things about themselves, and by extension women’s lives in general, and if Adele’s mainly female audience are anything to go by, women are wanting to listen.
I hope it changes something. I hope it creates more space for women to be able to say the things they want to say, and not the things they think they should be saying. Then maybe we’ll stop worrying about whether our bums look big and let the beauty of our brains shine through.
*The DVD is a 15 which is a big clue…if you’re of a sensitive, non-sweary disposition it’s probably not for you
**Here’s a couple of quotes from Adele to give you an idea:
“I don’t make music for eyes, I make music for ears.’
"I love food and hate exercise. I don't have time to work out. I don't want to be on the cover of Playboy or Vogue. I want to be on the cover of Rolling Stone or Q. I'm not a trendsetter. I'm a singer. I'd rather weigh a ton and make an amazing album than look like Nicole Richie and do a shit album. My aim in life is never to be skinny."