Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year resolutions

According to a Tesco Bank survey. "Resolutions are back in for 2010 as many of us look to make a fresh start". The survey found:-

- More than four in 10 will start the year with at least one resolution
  10 per cent up on the same time last year.
- Less than one in five of Britons kept up their resolutions beyond January 2009.
- Just six per cent kept our resolutions for the entire year.
- Getting physically and financially fitter is top of the agenda for 2010.
- More than half vow to save more money and budget better at the start of the
  new decade as well as do more exercise and lose weight.

The end of December is the time of year when I look back at my Jan 01 new years resolutions to see which ones I've managed to keep and which ones fell by the wayside.  Happily, this year I am able to avoid the usual depressing realisation that most of my resolution were broken within the first few months or even weeks.

Last year I made one new years resolution; which was not to make any resolutions at all.  In consequence, when reviewing the past year,  I do not have to look failure in the face or question the strength of my self control. This morning, I can see take a deep breath knowing that my self esteem is fully intact.

Having said all that, I am going to try something new for 2010. Rather than a list of doomed resolutions or no resolutions at all; this time I am going to adopt a slightly different approach.  

In 2010, I am going to focus on what I want,  rather than what I don't want.  e.g. I don't want to be overweight, but I do want to be healthy and relatively fit.   I am not going to give up anything, nor am I going to adopt anything short term.  These resolutions will be long term, rolling over from one year to the next. 

This time next year,  I hope to be healthier, fitter and happier. I also hope to have positively contributed to the lives of my family, friends, colleagues and anyone who comes across my path.

Happy New Year.

 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The sexualisation of children & teens

The new St Trinians film 'The Legend Of Fritton's Gold' sees the schoolgirls start a new term amidst the usual chaos and excitement. The film, out this month, is rated PG (Parent Guardian). The rating cautions parents that the content might not be appropriate for younger children; although children of any age are allowed to watch it.

The bad behaviour of the girls in the St Trinians films is only surpassed by their inappropriate overly sexualised attire; attire that cannot by any stretch of the imagination be described as a school uniform. 

We believe that films like this send young girls and teens the false message that their values lies in being sexy, 'hot' and appealing to boys.  The sex based message that it gives boys about girls, is equally worrying.

Parents need to be much more active in reducing and counteracting the effects that the bombardments of sexualised messages have on the developing minds of their daughters and sons.   Messages that many are neither mentally or emotionally able to comprehend or deal with.  Movies, magazines, TV, music, video games and the internet are all downloading sexualised images and stereotypes into the minds of your offspring.  

Being aware of what my children are doing/wearing and taking the necessary action is a daily priority. Other parents need to do the same. However, I don't think the solution is as straightforward as blaming the parents. Many parents are simply  not aware of what is happening, due to the slow but relentless drip ... drip effect. 

The simple truth is that the sexualisation of our children and teens is a sought after commodity.  As a society, we need to recognise this fact and bring the associated  issues out into the open. Only through awareness and open discussions can we hope to bring about effective and lasting change.

  

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Twiggy & Olay 'Misleading'

Yesterday, the Advertising Standards Authority, who believe that whatever an advert promises should be decent and truthful, ruled that an airbrushed photo of 60 year old Twiggy "could give consumers a misleading impression of the effect the product could achieve". The advertisement credited Olay Definity eye illuminator as her "secret to brighter-looking eyes" The unnaturally youthful and relatively line free photo promised results that no cream can deliver.

Proctor and Gamble's withdraw the advert and denied allegations that they were being socially irresponsible. The withdrawal signalled a small victory for the 700 individuals who signed a petition complained about it. Jo Swinson the Lib Dem MP behind the campaign said "body confidence, self esteem and health is something that needs to be dealt with".

We hope the Advertising Standards decision will result in the advertising industry taking a much more responsible stance. Ideally, we would like to see the industry ban all unrealistic and unattainable images that are invariably placed beside products and services that promise impossible transformations.

The real Twiggy

 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Perfection canít be achieved


“Perfection can’t be achieved ... even beautiful people feel that they ‘lack’ in some way.”

“I have experienced first-hand that trying to change one’s self to meet the standard in a dramatic way… can kill you.”

 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pinkification

This week we learned (Sky News) about a campaign aimed at stopping the "pinkification" of girls toys'. Twins Abi and Emma Moore, who are behind the campaign, want to reduce the "narrow and damaging" messages which emphasise being pretty and dainty. Such messages, they argue, could contribute to low self-esteem and eating disorders.

Abi and Emma want families, manufacturers and schools to think more carefully about the toys they provide. They pinpointed the Early Learning Centre as one of the worst gender stereotype offenders; a claim the company denied.

pinkstinks.co.uk has been set up to raise awareness of the issue. The website also sells t-shirts, mugs, tote bags and badges that say "I think pink stinks" and "I'm no princess".

Emma does not believe that constantly choosing pink is inherent in little girls. "It's not natural and it wasn't like this when we were growing up  in the 1970s," she said.

I will confess to sympathising with Abi and Emma. My daughter is almost 8. Up until 18 months ago, almost everything she owned was pink..... clothes, toys even her footwear (trainers and slippers). She also had every fairy and princess doll on the market (most were Christmas and birthday presents from family members).

As her mother and closest female role model, I made sure that she was aware that toys we just that and didn't represent real life. For example she was told that she was not and would never be a princess. At the same time we reinforced the knowledge that she was a valuable and precious individual in her own right. I also made a point of not wearing pink and discussed with her that fact that I preferred blue, red or black and that she was free to chose the colours she liked.

Luckily as she has matured, her taste has matured with her. She is very creative and loves a variety of colours. Fortunately, there are also a lo

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Reality check

 ... Cinderella and the prince lived happily ever after.

We have all grown up with the Cinderella fairy tail.   Today Jane McDonald (Loose Women) commented that Cinderella's happy ending was responsible for some of the pain and suffering that she had been through. The problem was that it had given her an unrealistic impression of what relationships were really like.  She argued that girls should be given "a reality check". The task could be very easily accomplished by revisiting Cinderella 15 years after her fairy tail had ended.

Jane stated that you would find that Cinderella " had 5 kids, gained 4 stones and that the prince had run off with the milk maid".

While I agree that we should be promoting a realistic not idealistic view of  relationships ... and body image, wealth and celebrity aspirations, to name a few other areas that we need to address;  I don't think it's necessary to go as far as re-writing Cinderella. 

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Miss Argentina Dies

The tragic death of 37 year old mother of two Solange Magnano has once again brought the risks of cosmetic surgery into sharp focus.  Solange, a former Miss Argentina, died on Wednesday from a pulmonary embolism; the complication arose after she underwent cosmetic surgery on her buttocks.

As recently as last month Nigel Mercer, president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, described the cosmetic surgery industry an "unregulated mess".
 
Responding to Solange’s death, he told CNN, "Unfortunately, the things we're saying about this type of surgery keep being proven right by people having major disasters.  …. With a pulmonary embolism something blocks blood supply to the lungs and circulation literally stops dead”.
 
Although it has not been proved that Solange’s death was a result of her surgery, anyone considering elective surgery should seriously consider Nigel’s words of warning. "No cosmetic surgery is totally risk free.  Even having botox and fillers is not risk free. There's a chance of infection, bruising or bleeding with any procedure."
 
We send our sincere condolences to Solange’s family and friends.

 

Friday, December 04, 2009

Not without faults

The recent media furore surrounding Tiger Woods accident was the focus of a commentary in yesterday’s Times. The basic premise of the commentary, by Simon Barnes, was neatly summed up by the title “Our sporting gods have been letting us down badly with mortal behaviour”.

He concluded it with the statement “The fault is not in sportsmen for failing to be perfect: it is in us, for our profound and foolish need for them to be so”.

His final words struck a chord with me. It’s not only sportsmen who modern society has raised to giddy heights were perfection is not only desired, but a necessity.

  "Sport [for the purposes if this post read celebrity] is our modern mythology, and every myth needs a hero" stated Barnes.

We not only demand super human perfection in a celebrity's behaviour, we also require unrealistic perfection in their physical appearance.

Gaining weight, having a few wrinkles/spots or showing signs of aging; in fact ‘imperfection’ of any sort is treated as if the offender (hero) had committed an unforgiveable crime.

On an almost daily basis we are bombarded by scores of media articles and images of their plummet, from celebrity heaven, to earth. Once here they are forced (often temporarily) to reside with you, me and all the other imperfect mortals.

In a statement on his website Tiger Wood stated “I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect”.

The sooner we accept that celebrities, from all walks of life, are not “without faults”’; the sooner we will be able to accept ourselves and each other just as we are, perceived imperfections and all.

 

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Strictly's Injuries

On Monday, a radio discussion brought to my attention the fact that 25% of the Strictly Come Dancing fans, who had taken up ballroom dancing, had injured themselves. The unfortunate individuals injured themselves by trying to replicate the dance movements that they'd seen executed on the show. The very movements that has resulted in Phil Tufnell, Ali Bastian, Laila Rouass, Ricky Groves and Jade Johnson requiring treatment.

It's great that the ballroom dancing viewers are undertaking actions that should (in theory) improve their fitness levels and overall health. However, they seem to have forgotten the golden rule of taking their current level of fitness into account and, where necessary, improving it before rushing in.

You have been warned.