Thursday, 9 March 2017

Selfies - body image.

I understand self-image.  I was a dancer.  The art of looking great was instilled in me from an early age.  My father was a 'dresser'. He was a 'dapper little chap' to the extent that in a recent conversation with a lady who used to come to our village pub, remarked to my Mum, that Fred was always immaculately dressed and went on to compare the uber casual, lack of grooming style of the current incumbent.  Times change I suppose but taking a healthy interest in your own appearance is really important.  Unless it becomes an obsession.

There was time when the only people with an image portfolio were actors, dancers, models and musicians.  Now it seems that everybody has one and the idea that we all have to self-promote continually is a phenomenon that I find very alarming. I worry about the effect that posting frequent 'selfies' has on the body image of young girls and boys. It seems to me that many mental health problems begin with the need to compete in the body image race.

I hope that you youngsters don't think that eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia are anything new.  As a dancer who began to pile on the pounds during a lull in my career, I can tell you that pleasing family by appearing to eat and then throwing up as a way of not getting fat, is nothing new. I suspect that for many girls and some young men, in the public eye, self-starvation has been around for a very long time. Unfortunately the need to be slim, look good from every angle and continually show the entire world that you do, is a pressure that has extended through social networking, to everyone.

Who wants to show off a photo of a spare tyre, a double chin or at my age, an increasing crop of wrinkles. This constant exposure and the need to look good at all times must be such a chore. I remember once as a teenager, I had been getting ready for a date but had fallen asleep on the couch with rollers in my hair. When my date arrived to pick me up, my Dad brought him through from the bar.  I remember being so embarrassed that this guy was seeing me in a state other than perfection.  Fortunately he was a hairdresser and we ended up having a laugh about it.  Of course, I am older and wiser now and far more relaxed about bad hair days and no make up. I still take a good two hours to preen and coif before I go out on a big night out - I doubt that I will ever use 'face time' to communicate.

My daughter despairs that my mobile phone is an ancient brick and that she can't send me constant updates. I am just over the need to share my image with all people at all times. I use Facebook sparingly, use the bathroom for relaxation and often have bedhead-hair until well after lunch. Vanity is not an attractive trait. Feeling ugly, because the beautiful people continually promote themselves, can lead to depression and isolation. If you are in the habit of posting pictures of yourself at every opportunity perhaps you should take a look at some old family photos.  Check out the older generation's fashion blunders. It is always good for a laugh.

My friends and I don't really make fashion blunders now. We have each developed a style, acquired over time, through looking back at photos that can be ripped up and never shared. We wear what suits us. Our body shapes dictate what we wear and how good we look, we don't follow fashion. We are boho or chic/smart or curvy but all true to ourselves as empowered women. We are all happy in our own skin, growing older with confidence in ourselves and life is fun.

Occasionally, one of my lovely photographer friends will send me an image that I post on social media but just like everyone else, catch me at the wrong angle, I would curl up and die.  This week's poem is by the Scottish bard, Robert Burns. It was written after he noticed a louse on the hat of a fashionable, well-to-do lady in church.  There is little vocabulary at the end to help you get the gist.




To a Louse

Ha! whare ye gaun, ye crowlin ferlie?
Your impudence protects you sairly;
I canna say but ye strunt rarely
Owre gauze and lace,
Tho faith! I fear ye dine but sparely
On sic a place.

Ye ugly, creepin, blastit wonner,
Detested, shunn'd by saunt an sinner,
How daur ye set your fit upon her -
Sae fine a lady!
Gae somewhere else and seek your dinner
On some poor body.

Swith! in some beggars hauffet squattle:
There ye may creep, and sprawl, and sprattle,
Wi ither kindred, jumping cattle;
In shoals and nations;
Whare horn nor bane ne'er daur unsettle
Your thick plantations.

Now haud you there! ye're out o sight,
Below the fatt'rils, snug an tight,
Na, faith ye yet! ye'll no be right,
Till ye've got on it -
The vera tapmost, tow'rin height
O Miss's bonnet.

My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose out,
As plump an grey as onie grozet:
O for some rank, mercurial rozet,
Or fell, red smeddum,
I'd gie you sic a hearty dose o't,

Wad dress your droddum!
I wad na been surpris'd to spy
You on an auld wife's flainen toy;
Or aiblins some bit duddie boy,
On's wyliecoat:
But Miss's fine Lunardi! fye!
How daur ye do't?

O Jeany, dinna toss your head.
An set your beauties a' abread!
Ye little ken what cursed speed
The blastie's makin!
Thae winks an finger-ends, I dread,
Are notice takin!

O wad some Power the gift tae gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An foolish notion:
What airs in dress an gait wad lea'e us,
An ev'n devotion!

Meaning of unusual words:
crowlin ferlie=crawling marvel
strunt=strut
fit=foot
Swith!=Off!
hauflet squattle=temples squat
sprattle=scramble
fatt'rils=falderols
grozet=gooseberry
ozet=resin
fell=deadly
smeddum=powder
droddum=backside
flainen toy=flannelcap
aiblins=perhaps
duddie=small
wyliecoat=ragged vest
Lunardi=balloon bonnet

And finally... the last verse translates as.


And would some Power give us the gift
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notion:
What airs in dress and gait would leave us,
And even devotion!
 
Have a great week. Thanks for reading.  Adele
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2 comments:

Lady Curt said...

I've just returned from Burns country !!

Steve Rowland said...

You wear it well - (Madame Onassis got nothing on you)!