Two Falstaffian women appeared recently on a breakfast-show to promote body positivity. One of them was a journalist who I believe has published memoirs, chronicling, I am sure, her heroic struggles against drugs, weight, the ennui of a privileged upbringing, the unhappiness of being sent to a posh boarding school— swimming, as they say, like a shrimp in cocktail sauce, in her misery, a product, probably, of inwardly directed florid imagination. Misery can be like cocaine; when you develop a taste for it, you can’t have enough of it.
In the breakfast show, the journalist was joined by another woman, who was introduced as a plus-size model. What’s wrong in that, you may ask. There is no law against chunky people appearing on television. That would be discrimination. You might be interested to know that the ‘two fat ladies’ appeared in the breakfast-show wearing only their undergarments. Obviously, there is no law against that either; however, you might think that that was a tad unusual. By and large people do not present in a partial state of undress when they appear in public. Call me old fashioned, but I think that there is some merit in the idea that you should be adequately covered in public places unless you are at a swimming pool or a beach or in a sauna. In addition, if your stomach has reached the dimensions where it looks as if it is hiding a football stadium, there is an outside chance that you will attract ridicule if you went around in public only in your frillies. Fair? Probably not; but such is life. If life were fair, Bashar-Al-Assad would realise the folly of his ways and immediately hand himself over to the Western forces; the Islamists would accept that blowing themselves up in Western cities is terribly messy and not fair on the road-sweepers; Putin would appreciate that the British get awfully upset when you poison people on their soil; and the bar-maid would be complimentary when your ordered the third pint of lager and a plate of onion rings. But life, regrettably, is not fair. People have stereotyped ideas about aesthetics. So, when it comes to human beauty, for most it is skin-dip. Only a minority of human population would find the sight of someone, who looks like they have enough body fat to keep a village in Afghanistan going for a few months, arousing. I know. Not cricket. But there it is.
Why did the two women appear on the breakfast show? They appeared on the breakfast show to inform the viewers that they were planning to run the London marathon the next day. In their undies. That was the news. The women were threatening to strip down to their underclothes and run 26 or whatever are the required miles for marathon.
Why were the women planning to run a marathon in their underclothes? They explained, the journalist and the model, their underwear roomy enough to hold a Tory party conference, and their rumps filling every inch of the seats of the plastic chairs which looked in danger of crumbling any minute. The aim, they informed, was not to gain cheap publicity—perish the thought. They wanted to promote body positivity. They wanted to prove that exercise is for everyone—small, big, tall, short, size 8, size 18; that you don’t have to be an athlete to run a marathon; that a runner’s body comes in all shapes and sizes!
Give me a f**king break. You don’t have to make a spectacle of yourself to prove that even fat people can and should—indeed must be forced to—exercise and get fitter (spare a thought for our NHS). If you are so intent on doing exercise, go to a f**king gym and get on a treadmill.
What was the message? The two roly-polies said they were planning to enter a marathon and not a donut eating competition. Which suggested that that at least one message was that it is good to do regular exercises. One can’t take issue with that. Why is it good to do regular exercise? Because it will make you healthy. It will make you fit. And, if you become fit because of these endeavours—I am going to go out on a limb and make a wild guess, here—maybe you will not resemble a bouncy castle.
As you watched the two women, neither appearing to lack egotism, you could be excused for wondering whether it was necessary to parade gigantic abdomens and elephantine thighs on national television only to prove that anyone, even the obese, can run a marathon. People by and large do not have difficulties in determining the size and shape of things unless, I don’t know, they are visually impaired, or are afflicted by one of those rare exotic neurological conditions Oliver Sachs used to write books about. It is, how shall I put it, an innate ability people possess. Therefore, just as trying to camouflage the layers of fat by wearing black clothes (a delusion shared by many lard-arses; squeezing your excess luggage into black jeans and hoping that it will somehow make your lardy arse vanish is about as optimistic as farting in a party with your palm pressed to your butt and hoping no one will notice; it fools no one) is futile, there is no need, really, to strip down to your underclothes and run a marathon, resembling (from behind) a marshmallow doing hurdles, to promote body positivity.
The women were described by some as brave. The viewers were invited to consider that they were displaying courage. That’s a load of codswallop. What was on display was the size of their ego, bigger than their baps. The narcissism, masquerading as some sort of feminism, made you despair for the future of our race.
Why is this going on? Why are such people still around? Small Pox is gone. Polio has disappeared. Rickets is on its way out. German Democratic Republic disappeared. Yugoslavia imploded. Soviet Union vanished. But these self-publicists are not going away. They continue to hog British television time. It is enough to make you want to emigrate to North Korea.
I don’t believe that the two women decided to strip to promote body positivity and increase awareness of the importance of exercise for everyone. They are depressing examples of the length to which some p-grade celebrities—gasping for publicity like an asthmatic gasping for air—will go to get five seconds of air-time.