Monday 24 October 2016

Colette Fitzpatrick: Cover girl Erica is proving plus-size people care just as much about fitness

Inside out Riley
Peter Aliss
Kayne and Kim

You'd be sad if you were dumpy, short or fat. If you wore glasses or if you were a bit frumpy. Wore scratchy looking jumpers, say.

Well of course you would. You'd be sad if you looked like that. Sure you wouldn't be thin and tall. If you were thin and wore dresses and didn't have to wear glasses, well you'd be ecstatic.

At least that's the message many are getting from Pixar's new film Inside Out.

It's about an 11-year -old girl named Riley who's battling with emotions (sadness and joy) when she's moving house.

The problem is that the emotions - joy and sadness -are depicted just like that.

Joy equals positive, equals tall, thin, no glasses and dresses.

Sadness equals bespectacled, shorter and fatter.

This makes me sad. That someone at Pixar thinks fat people are sad. Sure how could you be fat and smile?

I'm sad that we're still a long way off a perfect fairytale for our kids (yes the good looking guy ending up being the bad guy in Frozen and a feisty female character was a good start and (spoiler alert) Sadness ends up saving the day in Inside Out) but here we are again waterboarding kids with images of better-looking equals better life and happiness.

It's just another week, another bit of body-shaming when we're all trying to tell our kids, that short or tall, thin or not, glasses or no glasses, what they do is what counts, not what they look like.

That's why Women's Running magazine's latest cover is so welcome and inspiring.

Plus-size model and runner Erica Schenk is on the front page for the August issue.

Editor-in-Chief Jessie Sebor said it wasn't until after the shoot that she realised that this was going to be big news.

"We're the only running magazine or women's fitness magazine to feature a woman with curves on the cover. That's crazy," she said.

Sure. But hardly unexpected. When was the last time you saw someone on a cover that wasn't gorgeous?

The media is selling us beautiful, air-brushed perfection. We're only used to images of skeletal women and we've become so inured to seeing a certain type of women in the media and cyberspace that when a cover like this is big news.


It comes not long after the This Girl Can ad campaign in the UK featured women of all ages, colours, shapes and sizes, exercising like their lives depend on it.

They hurled themselves across football pitches, ran up hills and sweated their butts off on spin bikes. They're boxing, climbing, cycling, swimming, dancing and jumping.

Mascara is running down hot, red faces, flesh wobbles, their breathing is loud and laboured. The ad ends with a girl collapsing on the sofa, still wearing her running gear. "I'm knackered," she says.

One of the best things about this campaign and running magazine's cover is that it blows the misconception that plus-size people don't care about fitness or can be fitter than their thinner counterparts. Nailed it.

With golf in decline, it doesn't need sexist comments like these from Peter Alliss


If you play golf, you'll know the term 'nice putt Alice' or 'hit it Alice'. It's when someone leaves a putt just short of the hole.

You might have thought it was sexist; that it's from the same stable as 'you throw like a girl'. But actually it's not a sexist put down at all.

Alice is actually Alliss - as in Peter Alliss, the golf commentator.

The story goes that Peter Allis was playing Arnold Palmer in the 1963 Ryder Cup. It was a singles game and Alliss missed an easy three-foot putt. Someone in the gallery shouted out 'nice putt Alliss' and so the term became associated with wimpy putting.

So not sexist then. But Peter Alliss did become embroiled in a sexist controversy this week (yes, another one) when, as Zach Johnson was about to make the putt to win the Open on Monday, he saw the golfer's wife Kim on camera and said: "She's probably thinking - 'if this goes in I get a new kitchen.'"


Nothing like a bit of casual sexism in a mellifluous voice to handily disabuse you of the notion that women's rights are on a par with men's.

Alliss' comments were in direct contrast to how Johnson himself described his wife. He said she was the "CEO" of his golf career.

It's not the first time the octogenarian has offended. In April, he claimed that attempts to give women equal rights in golf have "caused mayhem".

Commentators might do well to remember that if you have nothing intelligent to say, don't talk simply for the sake of saying something or anything.

And at a time when golf has a huge problem in terms of declining numbers, it seems to me that some of the old, white, middle-class and middle-aged buffers really need to get their equality and inclusivity metres calibrated.


What can a trainer teach a toddler?


Helicopter parent much, Kimye? This week it was revealed that North West now has a personal trainer.

That's on top of tap dance and ballet lessons. Somewhere Suri Cruise must be fuming.

Well the two-year-old now has the most bizarre life of all toddlers. Ergo newspaper inches.

But how does a toddler work out? Do they sweat? Can they sweat? What would a personal trainer teach her? How can she count calories when she can't even count? How can she incorporate 'protein' into her vocabulary while she's still learning the basics of the English language?

Will the toddler now be looking in a mirror asking, 'does my bum look big enough in this', just like her mum?


At last, Bratz dolls have seen the light

Glad to see that Bratz dolls makers have finally cottoned on to what the rest of the doll industry realised some time ago - girls want dolls that are more real!

The new Bratz dolls have a more sporty look and the heels have been replaced by trainers and Doc Martens.

If you're a parent looking for a doll that isn't a hyper sexualised, materialistic, shopaholic and want something that represents real girlhood, you now have a choice of the new Bratz, the American Girl doll and the Irish Lottie doll.

Dolls with skills, that wear glasses and clothes that let you be active. They don't want everything focused on their appearance. Sure, they might like fashion. But that's just one aspect.

These ambitious dolls want to have fun and play and get creative. Exactly what we want our girls to be.

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