Of course there's nothing new in the blanding out of images of women. Before there was digital retouching there was airbrushing and before there was airbrushing there was Thomas Gainsborough. And women have always punished themselves in an attempt to live up to the look they're being sold. Todays young women get boob jobs (we were shown one of them on the operating table- I had to look away- it was like watching a chicken carcass being stuffed); in the 18th century- Gainsborough's era- they used to poison themselves with slatherings of white lead. What's new is the overwhelming presence, the inescapability, of the propaganda of the beauty industry. You know what? I think the magazines that service it- that run the images- which means all the glamour, fashion and celebrity magazines aimed at women and girls- are worse than top shelf porn. The porn magazines only tickle lust (and is that so bad really?) whereas these others spread self-hatred and despair.
Bodies: we're stuck with them. We want them to reflect the beauty of our inner beings and they don't (though Alesha's comes close) and there's nothing we can do about it- though God knows we try. Down the years I've tried to educate myself to see the beauty in what's actually there- to get rid of the ideals that have been planted in my head and enjoy the quirky, the individual, the characterful, the jolie-laide- but its like dragging a barge upstream whilst swatting away mosquitoes. Our culture- in a degraded parody of the Grail Quest- is mad for an unreal, unrealisable beauty- and bombards us with its dogma and cult images. How does the individual stand against it? I don't really know- you just grit your teeth and put your head down and push on forward- but well done, Alesha, for trying!