Figuring out what I wanna be when I grow up.
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Friday, December 9, 2011

The Era of the REAL WOMAN

When I was 11 or 12 years old, I heard the song "Hungry Like The Wolf" for the first time.

And I loved it.  Thus began my mania for Duran Duran for the next few years.   The walls of my room--nearly every square inch--were covered with posters of the band.  Like any young girl, I was in love, and obsessed, and filled with ridiculous fantasies of Simon Le Bon waiting till I was old enough so we could get married.

But this isn't a post about Duran Duran, per se, but about how they were responsible for really getting my mind spinning recently.

Okay, so I admit it--I follow their Facebook page from my own facebook page, and I get updates in my news feed.  I'm not a 13 year old girl anymore, and I haven't maintained that same unwavering devotion and adoration, but I do take a look occasionally if something catches my interest.

And so, they have a new video:  "Girl Panic."   In this storyline, we follow the "members of the band" around in their decadent lives, with little artsy shots of them in glamorous locations.

There is a TWIST though:  SUPERMODELS are acting as the members of the band.


Let me cut and paste a little blurb for you from an article I found HERE:

"Ladies and gentleman, it's the return of the 'Supers' - Naomi Campbell (as lead singer Simon Le Bon), Helena Christensen (Roger Taylor), Eva Herzigova (Nick Rhodes), Cindy Crawford (John Taylor) and Yasmin Le Bon who is keen to point out "I am NOT a member of Duran Duran". The girls have been draughted if to play the boys, perform Girl Panic! as the boys and be interviewed by the boys themselves about how amazing and talented they all are."

So this to me is like a return to those decadent, shallow, wealth-peacocking (yeah, I created my own damn word) days of the 80's.

and a fond re-embracing of SUPERMODELS.

And you know what?

I was TOTALLY disappointed.  And super duper bored.

From the moment Naomi roused herself from her bed, barely dressed, shoes with heals so high my ankles snapped just from watching, and she strutted around the room observing the other models still asleep, and barely dressed, suggestively lying atop one another, and the champagne glass still held in one hand, I have to tell you I lost all interest.

And I couldn't even watch the rest of the video.

Supermodels.  Supermodels?  Seriously?  Do we really still care about this shit?  I mean, remember the days when Supermodels were like demigods parading often across our TV screens, and pasted all over really vapid magazines with their blank faces looking out across a world of  over-priced capitalist dreams, worshipped as the pinnacle of unattainable image and beauty?

Oh, you could be a MODEL back in the day--and models were fine and good, but then they invented the SUPERMODEL, and the hierarchy kicked itself up a notch or ten.

That's why we were subjected to truly terrible television programs in which Tyra Banks and all her vicious, mean friends could rip a girl  to shreds; insult, degrade, berate and belittle her, all under the umbrella attitude of "suck it up, buttercup, this is the WOLRD of MODELLING and MODELLING IS HARRRRRD."

And there was ME sitting on the couch (JUST before I turned the damn show) thinking;  "what the f*ck?!?  They're JUST TAKING PICTURES!!!"  

Why does that world have to be so vicious and cold and catty and HARD? Why does a girl have to, or WANT to stand there in shoes that are cutting off the circulation in her feet for twelve hours to get that perfect shot to make me want to buy that perfume that smells like garbage anyway?   Why does she have to be plunked into a pool until she nearly has hypothermia while some bitchy photographer has a cow if she's not giving him the LOOK he's after, and be told that that's the way it is for real modelling shoots, so if she can't cut it, she might as well take her bony ass and leave right then and there.

Re.  Tar.  Ded.

That's not HARD.  

I don't need a Louis Vuitton or a Fendi or a Louboutin ANYTHING.  
You know what's hard?  Being a mother of four young children, with no husband in sight.  Being a mother of a special needs child who punches you or kicks you sometimes.  Having breast cancer.  Battling infertility.  Standing up for your own beliefs.

Real women are out there every day, and we come in all shapes, sizes and colours.

I truly don't get the whole MODEL thing.  That's not what I want for my daughter.  Ever. I tell her every day that she is beautiful inside and out.  She is beautiful for her BRAIN and her big, generous heart.

Am I getting off topic?

So what about escapism, right?  Do we want to see a video filled with pain and suffering because that's life?  No, that's not exactly what I'm saying.  Escapism is good.  That's why we like movies and books, art and music.

But when I saw that video, I said "hm."  I shut it off, and I walked over to The Man and I asked; "isn't this supposed to be the ERA OF THE REAL WOMAN?"

I mean, am I totally naive?  Aren't we moving past all this shallow supermodel, aren't-I-a-decadent-pretty-creature bullshit?  Maybe I am naive.  Maybe it's because I'm almost 40, and you know what's important to me?  Being healthy.  Trying to be as fit as I can be so I can be with my kids for a really, really long time.  I don't worry about wearing much makeup every day any longer.

Yeah, I know we can never entirely stop judging and valuing people by how they look.  We are, after all, visual animals.


Have we really not moved, even a teeny tiny bit, beyond that size zero crap?  I mean, we have Adele now, don't we?  Isn't her voice spectacular?  Isn't she beautiful just as she is?  Doesn't beauty come in a few more sizes now?  Aren't there all kinds of interesting, beautiful women in the world who will never be SUPERMODELS?

Have I only been swept away by this:

We still have a long way to go, but I think we're starting, if only just a little to move in a better direction.

I don't step on the scale anymore, girls.  I eat healthy food.  I exercise every day.  I don't smoke.

I never buy fashion magazines, girls.  I don't need a bunch of airbrushed, digitally perfected, impossibly thin women to make me feel bad about myself any longer.

I like to look as pretty as I can sometimes.  Other times I'm just not bothered.  And I feel good about it.

Hey, it's not Duran Duran's fault--they're just not ready for the new era.

"Things won't change, until we change them."

Go on with your bad self, girlfriend.


  1. Ooo! Ooo! Ooo!

    Awesome post, I'm so freaking filled with comments I don't know where to start.

    M'kay, I'll narrow it down to one, and it has to do with Tyra Banks, who IS NOT a nice woman. Many moons ago I waited tables next door to whatever production company was doing her not-on-the-air-yet show. A big group of them came in, and lucky me, sat at my table. She showed up a half hour late, and when I walked over to get her order, she ignored me. Looked at me out of the corner of her eye and ignored me. Her minions were like, 'Um, Tyra, the waitress is here to take your order.', and she ignored me some more (her peeps were hand motioning for me to wait, so I asked AGAIN, nothing). So I walked away, after politely asking three times if she was ready or needed a minute. I got about four steps from the table, and she SNAPPED her fingers at me and said she was ready. So, of course I kept on walkin'. That wasn't the bad part though - two little girls, about 8 and 10, walked up to her with pens and napkins and asked for her autograph. Bless their little hearts they were SO scared and nervous. And she refused to give them one. It was so sad, they were embarrassed and crushed. Sorry for the super long comment, but she makes me MAD!

    PS - I do love fashion mags, and I don't give two hoots about the models.

  2. i liked those videos. hard to see that little girl in the bathing suit feeling like she's not skinny enough. really? you're perfectly healthy looking and thin, fret not!
    i don't look at magazines, but only because i feel like they're a waste of time. give me a book or a blog to read.
    i actually watch ANTM & like it. i wouldn't want to be on it, but i love the photography side of that show and all the modeling shows. if they could just do more with the photo shoot end of it & less with the in-house drama that would be even better.

  3. Testify sister! I have been fat and I have been skinny and I have been ugly and I have been beautiful and really, I'm just so happy to be HERE and to be mostly healthy and moderately happy and to have a modicum of substance, you know, to balance the ridiculous narcissism! Sarah xxx

  4. Oh gosh, where to start? I watched the video you posted of Adele, my introduction to her (I am very old) and browsed around some to learn that she emphatically has no problem with her weight. Yes, this is good. The other side is that she otherwise plays into the beauty game, with sex-object hair and skin and all that eye makeup, and those awful high heels she wears in the video. I am not so old I don't remember wanting to be attractive, even as an old lady of 30, even now, honestly. I mean, I don't wear my housecoat to church. But those shoes . . . the way we talked about that during the feminist heyday was As in, from a rapist. Now I also know they stress those many tiny bones in your feet and one day you will pay. I have.

  5. first of all, Vesta, there's no comment length limit here, so go for it, woman!

    Good story about Tyra. When I said I don't buy "fashion mags" I was specifically thinking of COSMOPOLITAN, which I think is so vapid and shallow, and always has some over-sexed girl on the cover and great big EXCLAMATION POINT BLURBS about how to GIVE YOUR MAN THE BEST ORGASM EVER, and a lot of other stupid articles AFTER the 50 pages of ads that make us want what we do not have.

    Heh heh... still, great story about Tyra!

    I have nothing against fashion, but look at Sarah (Misfits Vintage...she's a few comments down from you): she has amazing style, and she gets almost all of it from vintage second hand stores.

    So, now that I've run off at the mouth, what I mean is, fashion and style are great, but some ugly purse that costs a thousand dollars just because it has the "right" label on it, is stoopid and feeds into the debt mess we're all in now anyway.

    I think.

  6. Sherilin, what I hated about the show was the stupid snobby attitude that goes part and parcel with the modelling world. It's catty and immature and shallow and like highschool x 1000. And Tyra was pure yuck.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with looking glamorous and seeing beautiful locations but I don't know how many MAJOR models came out of the industry with particularly nice stories--not that I'm lecturing you or anything, just babbling as I wait for my turn to get washed up for the day.

  7. Well Sarah, you are definitely on my list of REAL WOMEN, because you have great style that isn't cookie cutter and dictated by what the status quo tells you to do.

  8. Jeanne, you make an interesting point that has occurred to me as well. Do all women play into the 'beauty game'? That's from years and years of being molded into those "feminine" rolls. We work toward what is pleasing to the eye in all aspects of life: home design, wall colour, building architecture, black and white to colour to TECHNICOLOR

    ideas of beauty CAN be shifted, so I always hope for a girl like Adele to come along and be perfectly comfortable with how she looks and other girls to never strive toward supermodel status...even if they're silly and wear too much makeup.

    Believe me...the too much makeup thing is interesting too.

  9. Knowing the Duran Duran guys and their perosnalities over the years, I'm guessing they were beeing cheekily (british word) ironic.

    Plus, that song blows, so maybe they were looking to distract us from that fact.

    I admit being into supermodels as a teenager and early 20s idiot, because I was immature.

    I don't get the fascination, either. There's a lot of suspended adolescence among men these days and a lot of misguided anxiety among women.

    I think these 4 women I live with are drop dead gorgeous. I hope none of them end up on a magazine. They're better than that

    So are you, Karen

  10. I have found that once you hit 40 you really lose all tolerance for bullshit. I don't think you're naieve, I think youre showing your age. Hee hee.

    Yeah, Duran Duran is still living in the '80s, and not in a good way.

  11. Hey, Karen. Thanks for this. Ironically, we have a fundraising campaign going on, where we have a 'power of media' video demonstration that uses excerpts from the video you posted. We want to be more relevant with content that is truly SAFE and UPLIFTING content. And the valuation of people is part of that. People have value, because that is what God gives them: value, beauty, creativity, love. The 'beauty industry' perverts that - but what else is new? We manage to pervert any wholesome idea or ideal. Sounds like your personal 'campaign' is not far off ours after all. ;)

  12. Lance: Thanks for your comment - I agree completely. Well put.

  13. Well, I was gonna say, good luck breaking the mold of the media infuluencing our children. I thought no way that is too big of a mogul.

    Then I thought of my girls. Not to toot my horn. My girls, dress modest to really cute, and the other has this island, indie thing going on.

    But I must say this that their choices now relfect what I made them wear as kids.


    They always wore good quality, osh kosh, and good name brands that reflected the modest cute styles for kids.
    I distinctly remember when the Spice girls became popular. All of a sudden the fashion industry for girls changed. ALMOST OVERNIGHT.

    Seriously. Provocative , sexy clothes for children. Especially at Kmart , walmart, and stuff.

    Then the Mary Kate and Ashely clothes came to walmart. I could not believe what trashy shit they had.

    Children should be dressed as children. they are kids for such a short time....let them stretch , run, play roll around without worring about not being able to run is some heel.

  14. ok that one was getting long.

    I had a friend who, had 2 girls my kids age. I met them when they were around 10 and 8.

    the 10 year old was chubby, short hair kinda tomboyish.

    what was reallly bizarre was she was OBBSSESSED with makeup. she was OCD about how she looked.

    As she grew into her teens, it became worse and worse. Then the other sister who had a heart of gold, became OCD , not as much.

    Both those girls were never good enough. Never had enough product. never enough clothes, never enough bling.........

    I was friends with the mom. she was a lovely, give you the shirt off your back woman...constantly loving her kids to excess. trying to please every whim and fancy.

    she meant well. telling them how wonderful , how beautiful, how smart etc. it got to the point where it became sickening.

    I never understood where these kids got such a low self esteem.

    so I asked my girls. after a few weeks kayti made a comment to me after spending days with them.

    she said their mom, constantly picked out cute girls and women in the mall, anywhere and commented how beautiful they were. clothes, makeup, etc. my daughter said she did it constantly.

    and hearing this I paid more attention..and she did comment.......ALL the time.

    it then occured to me , that her girls were trying to live up to their mothers expectation of beauty. they constantly tried and tried and tried.

    even though she loved them dearly, they did not hear it. they only saw themselves in the reflection, of these beautiful girls, the mom pointed out.

    oh, they got braces etc. they are now beautiful young women, exceptionally beautiful. and yet their esteem is still has a boyfriend that is a slovenly lazy prick.....who makes her work for eveything. she has dated him since grade nine and has graduated last year.

    the other sleeps with anything that moves. and recently the downgrade in choice is that of the meth addict.

    the mom is crushed.

    I just wanted to point that observation out. Our girls are watching us closely.

    They listen to our comments about ourselves, others, and they reflect it on themselves.

    Even if we do it sub consciously.

    they see what we like and dont like.

    Me not giving too rips about the latest fashion, have to girls with good sense. oh they like to look trendy, and beautiful but they are content with makeup or no makeup.

    they dont look like sluts, they do show cleavage etc....but nicely.

    one day they can be dressed up to the hilt, the other in sweat pants and a shirt.......

    we as mothers need to reflect what and who we want our girls to be....with word and deed.

  15. Sorry. My grammar and spelling was horrid..........I was too into what I was trying to say.

    And I think my friend gave into all their product needs was to somehow make them feel better about themselves...still, spending 2 wks this summer with the 20 year old giping about zits, fat, nose cream, nose strips, oil strips etc.....was enough to tip me off the edge. The funny thing is, is the mom does not by all that junk for herself.

    She is a kind, nice looking woman. But I always felt, deep down she wished she looked like the women at the mall.....why else would their be a constant drivel about it?

  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. I will say this... You asked why a girl would WANT to be a model? Aside from the cons you pointed out.. let's not forget that if they make it big they make BIG money.. get to TRAVEL and see the world and live an exciting life because they probably LOVE fashion and they get to do all that fun stuff for just getting their pictures taken! Sounds alright to me.

    But hey, live and let live.

    Do I care about those SUPER MODELS..? No. Did they make me have low self esteem when I was a young gal? A little. I was lucky. I mostly never let those things get to me.

    Tyra Banks is lame.

    We will always be beauty obsessed.... Is it getting better? I think so. But Karen, let's not forget that scientifically speaking it's in our nature.... Got to keep the human race going, right? Only the peacock with the BIGGEST and NICEST set of wings gets the girl...

    Look in the history books.. Women did some pretty radical things to look beautiful.

    Am I on the super model's side? No. I doubt she cares.

    Life is getting better and better for women... slowly but surely... at least here in North America.

    The Media is evil. Period. That's why I pay little attention to that stuff. I always tell my girls they are beautiful just the way they are. And I lead by example. Studies show that a mother TELLING her daughter she's beautiful isn't good enough... the daughter needs to SEE that her mother actually feels GOOD about HERSELF.

    Seeing is believing...

    Let's face it... most women have poor self esteem. I say, get over it and SHOW your daughters you love yourself just the way you are... be healthy and happy and your daughter will most likely be healthy and happy too.


  18. Lance, you are soooo freaking awesome: the song blows so they were trying to hide the fact! LURV IT



    I liked all you had to say about real women and how you were into that look when you were younger. Why not? If we're all constantly TOLD what is beautiful, why do we look anywhere else for beauty?

  19. You know Grace, you make an excellent point: I am indeed showing my age! With age, and with moving away from that oh-so-desirable sexual period of our 20's, you tend to be able (hopefully) to function on the bigger picture.

    Yeah, I like this--it really got me thinking. Maybe a lot of this is the mania of trying to mate, find a mate, further the species and put on the most attractive FRONT in order to capture that.

    Is youth with all of its obsession with TOP BEAUTY truly shallow or is it just completely driven by the purpose of furtherance of the species....

    must ponder this...

  20. Anybody ever check out Desmond Morris?

  21. Matt: "People have value, because that is what God gives them: value, beauty, creativity, love. The 'beauty industry' perverts that"

    Your comment once again summarizes so eloquently and perfectly exactly what I'm getting at.

    It does indeed pervert it, but we have the power to change that and not be like the Mom Melissa is talking about...and now on to Melissa...

  22. Melissa, thanks for sharing that. It was very interesting and thought-provoking.

    It also makes me realise that what you are saying is like what my sister said, and that is that we, the MOTHERS, have the power to create good self-esteem within our daughters.

    As role models, we are everything. Even if we don't have daughters, we can still be good role models for other girls.

    Good didactic story, Melissa. Thanks.

  23. Good points Aim, and I will say to that, look at the top paying professions for women; the ones in which women can REALLY make a TON of cash. Porn stars, strippers, fashion models.

    big, big money. We've all seen the tv programs wherein the girls became strippers just to pay their way through college/university.

    Yes, I think things are changing slowly but we need more smart wimmens like all us ladies here that are commenting, and less MUSIC VIDEO HO'S.

  24. oh more thought on you mentioning the girls' obsession with zits and nose strips and such:

    there is the power of advertising. All you have to do is watch any channel geared toward young people (ie; Much Music and YTV) and every commercial break will bombard you with images of perfect, porcelain-skinned girls with their skin scrubs and clean-n-clear nose strips.

    Advertising. Just like in that video with the little red-haired girl at the start.

  25. Adele is the sexiest woman in music right now.

  26. Hmmm....where to begin??
    Whne I was younger...I always bought YM ( a tenie fashion mag) every month...couldnt wait to buy it...why? I am not sure? I never had teh clothes they advertised...make up? I never bought any that were advterised, yet i did buy and wear make up? Did I feel ugly? Sometimes? I think i am in a MUCH better mind set now in my 30s. How am i going to help my daughter...providing her with tools for higher self esteem. I havent figured that all out yet...but one day at a time ;)

  27. I used to buy that mag sometimes too, Steph. I think these mags could improve immensely if they'd just take pictures of any girls--not just the ones who look they graduated from Highschool Musical.

    I'm sure you'll do fine in instilling good self esteem in your girlie.

  28. Mark Grist on Girls who read


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