Monday, January 4, 2010

A hideously unattractive woman gets naked

So I wasn't going to comment on HawkinsGate as firstly, it's not really suited to the tone of my blog and secondly it has been done to death BUT I have alot of thoughts on the issue so you can read them and agree (or disagree) or press the little x in the top right hand corner of this window.

I'm not even going to post the naked pictures in question. We've all seen them by now.

Some people say 'what flaws?' others say 'she is naturally blessed and it's not helping anyone's self esteem'.

Well. What I think is that the whole point of this was to raise awareness and hopefully funding for the Butterfly foundation. Something that has been forgotten in amongst the mess of opinions and outrage.

The butterfly foundation looks to support the sufferers of eating disorders in Australia. This is done through education, actual financial support for treatment and relief for sufferers and their carers and support for research programs relating to positive body image.

Jennifer Hawkins was seen as a positive role model for this cause because she epitomises health.

I don't really care if you think she is underweight (she isn't) or doesn't have cellulite- the whole thing with Jen is that she has a healthy attitude to life, which hopefully through this campaign can be adopted by a few other Aussies.
People are worried that Jen doesn't depict a 'real woman'. And from how people are going on, it seems to me that to classify as a 'real woman' you need to be a bit fat, a bit ugly, have a boring job and low self esteem.

The problem with this, however, is that Jennifer is raising awareness for a mental illness affecting the way people see their own bodies.

How is it that putting someone who is erring on the side of obese* going to help someone who is suffering from an illness that puts them on the other side of unhealthy?

For example- Beth Ditto, who I hate anyway (it's her screechy voice and inability to produce a song which doesn't include the 'lyrics' "wooaah") but that's beside the point- is NOT a healthy role model.

She is morbidly obese, has sickness oozing out her pores and does not project a HEALTHY image at all. Especially not one that would relate to someone who had been diagnosed as Anorexic. (ps- that photo above is photoshopped...)

The ability to lose inhibitions and take your clothes off in front of a crowd does not a positive role model make. It's the lifestyle you lead in getting to this point which makes the difference.

Jen is obviously blessed with good genes. But this does not mean she takes this for granted. Constant paparazzi shots show her exercising around Sydney but these are not to be outdone by pics of her at social events as well as socialising with friends and her boyfriend, Jake Wall.

This tells me, and hopefully others of you, that she has a well rounded lifestyle.

Enough with the Jen bashing. Enough with saying she isn't brave taking her clothes off when she looks that good. Let's look at the positive and most importantly let's not forget that Jen is doing this for a cause- to help those suffering from Anorexia.

Read more about the Butterfly foundation and eating disorders in Australia and DONATE here

*(I'm not implying anyone who is "a bit fat" is obese, just commenting on what I've seen on twitter/blogs/etc as people's view of 'real')


  1. you've raised an important point here about what makes a 'real' woman. to me, being 'real' is finding a balance in life and everyone finds that balance in their own way - be it bodily or otherwise. if jennifer hawkins is able to do that and find courage to pose naked and be not airbrushed on a magazine cover and then be under everyone's scrutiny, i say good for her.

  2. Totally agree with you!
    Beth Ditto is the WORST role model in the world, shes like supporting obesity?
    I dont think Jen Hawkins is ano what so ever :) I think shes like a perfect weight!!

  3. I agree, i like jen because of the healthy lifestyle she leads, out in the sun having fun, eating healthy and exercising, yes she is born natuarlly pretty but even if you are..that doesnt mean your healthy. but in this case i believe that yes jen got the best of both...not to mention, as you said this whole thing is not just anbout ladies getting naked and showing their real selves but rasing awareness for a serious cause.

  4. Agreed. Beth looks morbidly obese. I am sick of people telling me that I am 'just fine' and that I am too 'paranoid and have body issues' when I mentioned anything about going on a diet. According to BMI and weight charts, I am overweight but by the normalisation of obesity in this society, suddenly my desire to eat healthy and exercise more is 'paranoid'. I get scolded by opting for veggies at meals. I get 'pftted' at when I don't want any entrees or desserts. And I am sick of that.

    Jen looks really good. She's not unhealthily skinny...she has healthy lean muscular thighs. The normalisation of obesity needs to stop. I am all for loving your curves (Like Scarlett Johansson, Kate Winslet and such) but not for welcoming obesity.

  5. This was such a brilliant wrap-up of the issues at play here, and so well written. I completely agree with the views you have expressed.
    I hope that all of the publicity this has engendered (good and bad) will result in donations being made to the Foundation. Thanks for a brilliant post. x

  6. You do have a good point but I'd just like to also point out :

    Ok I don't know who that lady is (Beth) but she is not morbidly obese because that is not a real term the correct terms are :
    BMI Classification
    < 18.5 underweight

    For the record I am currently near the top end of the 'healthy' weight range for my height.
    18.5–24.9 normal weight
    25.0–29.9 overweight
    30.0–34.9 class I obesity
    35.0–39.9 class II obesity
    ≥ 40.0 class III obesity

    She looks to be a class 1 or 2 at best. I'm not defending obesity - far from it but lets not get judgy and throw insults around.
    Take note of her stature she is obviously more buxom naturally than Jen.

    This is an excellent article (and a much better example)

  7. BMI is a load of bullshit anyway- just look at its history.
    Beth Ditto is probably not at the height of healthiness, but comments about her 'sickness oozing out of her pores' pretty much strikes at the very heart of what she is challenging as a woman- this constant scrutiny of women's bodies. Besides, Ditto does not advocate herself as a 'healthy' woman- what she is promoting is the idea that she can be her size and still be a sexy, vibrant, independent woman. Guys can stack on a few kilos here and there and nothing is said. Meanwhile, the female body is constantly appraised, criticised, measured up, judged and so on.
    Jen Hawkins was Miss Freaking Universe for christ's sake. This is what peopel are getting fired up about- there is nothing NORMAL about this woman- she is the epitome of the ideal, idealised female form. Getting your kit off when you look like this means nothing- hell, it's what she is paid to do.
    Frankly, your comments about not bashing Jen, whilst bashing Ditto are the very problem- women always scrutinising and judging each other. Let's not bash either of them- and I'm pretty sure Jen is coping just fine, being one of the most desired women in the country, stacks of cash, and the time to exercise on the beach at will.

  8. Bucca- I really don't believe in BMI. If it were true I would be UNDERweight which I most certainly am not.

    and Anon- You say Beth Ditto has never advocated herself as healthy and this is precisely my point. I have NO issue with size per se. I don't care if someone is a size 6 or a 16. My issue, as I have pointed out quite clearly (other people seemed to understand this...) that it is about HEALTH.
    If someone is doing the best they can do to be healthy then that's great. Whether this means they're rake thin or look overweight is another story but you can always tell through the state of someone's skin, hair, nails and brightness of their eyes if someone is healthy. You just can't fake those things. That's why I made the 'sickness oozing out of her pores' comment. That is the impression I get when I look at her.
    Someone larger who does NOT project this image is Queen Latifah. Sure, she's a big lady. But her skin is fabulous and she always looks ravishing and it's easy to find pics of her out for a walk with her trainer.

    As for your comments about Jen not being normal...I'm sure you'll find alot of women who are offended by that. There are a tonne of women out there who look like her, whether they have a great body, a beautiful face or both and they are all normal too. This concept of normal shouldn't even exist.
    I think you've just waffled over my post and really missed the point, quite frankly. Once again, I will reiterate- I'm applaud HEALTH.

  9. I've waffled over nothing.
    I get your point about health entirely, and do not disagree, to an extent. The trouble is we too often equate being thin with being healthy (not saying this is your position, but the broad one we encounter). I disagree that you can't fake health- people manage to mask eating disorders for years, usually because they get such wonderful praise for their appearance when they are thin. My point is this: Jen's job is her body. Her primary job day to day is to stay fit, eat well, because that is an investment in her business- herself. This is trickier to achieve if your main responsibility is something else, like being a lawyer, or a mum etc. Being crowned Miss Universe basically says, physically, you are EXCEPTIONAL. There's nothing wrong with that per se, except that she is not representative of your average gal. Let me clarify that, when I said Jen is not 'normal' I'm not suggesting she is weird, but rather she is not 'the norm'. Try having children and looking that way, or getting over 40 and looking that way:)
    I actually think what was most interesting about this public debate (apart from people labelling Dye as obese, which I think is outrageous) is the reaction I had to seeing Jen's body. Even her 'perfect' body has "flaws" (and I mean the fact that your body creases when you sit that way etc) and we have become so used to these airbrushed images, that we start to see these things as flaws- I see them as being biology- things bend and crease people!!! It's is scary how we have become averse to the reality of the body when it moves- even when it is one of the finest examples of a body out there!!!

  10. I know lots (30+) of people who either have or have had an eating disorder/s and it's always been obvious to me when they've had one or been heading in that direction. They do begin to look unhealthy...but maybe I've just been exposed to it so often I can tell.
    Of course there are people who suffer from them where it never gets noticed because they either deny it, don't have anyone who picks up on it or they hide it so well noone can pick up on it.

    I just really don't understand your point about Jen being exceptional so she can't be a role model.
    Are little girls, teens, women, anyone supposed to look at average, mediocre and even ugly women and aspire to be them?
    Jen is an extremely lovely woman who has done really well for herself in not only the fashion world, but by securing herself lucrative business deals and financial security. Of course she has managers helping her, but she has to put in the hard yards to keep the deals.
    So just because she is beautiful, all this greatness gets thrown away?

    I'm guessing your idols are all hideous, then?

  11. There is a difference between being a role model, and representing the 'average' woman, which is what the entire retouching debate was about- Bianca Dye's point was not a criticism of Jen, but instead that the idea that Jen was being 'brave' for being published untouched is not valid.
    I never said her exceptional status means she can't be a role model, I said her being exceptional means she does not represent most women, she is not a realistic version of what most women will ever be. You are an attractive young woman, and so you can look at Jen and make the equation between yourself and her- for many many women, they look at her and are reminded of what they will NEVER be.

    I also never said there is anything wrong with Jen, but the way you defend her is actually part of my point. We defend women like this "she's done well for herself, good on her etc" and tear apart (not you, the collective 'we') the 'plain' or god forbid, the chubby girls. Your point about young girls' idols, and indeed my own, are something I take issue with, because you have just said that by not putting Jen on a pedestal, all other kinds of role models must therefore be 'boring, hideous or mediocre'. It is the FOCUS on physical appearance, whether it be under the guise of health or not, that I don't like.
    My idols take a hell of a lot more than being thin, or fit, or pretty, to take my interest. And that's another part of my point. Jen gets defended so heavily for being great- what the hell do any of us know about her AS A PERSON? Not much, and there's nothing wrong with that, I'm sure she wants her own personal life to be just that, but we call her a role model because her looks have made her desirable and a lucrative career- I want to see intelligent women, women who are politically motivated, socially engaged- I want to know what's in your head, not look at what's holding it up.
    I'm just trying to discuss the various points of what has proved to be a contentious issue, and your sign off remark is only inflammatory (in my book, hideous may well mean someone who spends too much time thinking about appearance, the physical, and the material, and not enough time on their brain). Buy hey, it's your blog, and you call the shots.

  12. It wasn't really meant to be taken that seriously ;)

    Who is to say Jen isn't a total genius? Just because she is lucky enough to have a glam job doesn't mean she doesn't have the brains to do something else.

    And I wasn't implying that we need to idolise people for their looks...
    I idolise people like Geoffrey Robertson, Jason segal, Larry David, Tania Major...people who are clever and or make me laugh. I seldom like somebody just because of the way they look.

    We will never know if Jen getting her kit off was a brave move. We can't get inside her head.
    But in my opinion it was not only brave on an aesthetic level but also from a PR angle. As it is, Myer are angry with her for doing it- so it was a brave move for her career.

    It's obvious we aren't going to agree on the issue, though. haha

  13. Well, I think really we probably agree on the broad point, and disagree on the delivery of the message. We both agree that women should feel good about their bodies and be healthy and strong. Ultimately, the fact we are having this discussion, and the whole debate itself is always a good thing- it means it's on the agenda, it's in people's minds, and I think that has to be a step in the right direction.

    Completely agree about the Myer thing BTW, surprising that they reated that way really- shame on them for basically not wanting that debate to happen!
    Here's to a future of diverse, strong, healthy and complex women!

  14. From what I hear Myer are angry at her for a few more things than just this, not turning up to scheduled shoots, cancelling at the very last minute and diva behaviour.


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