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Stop Writing About My Body

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There is an unacknowledged formula for the opening paragraph of an A-list female celebrity interview and it always involves a comment on the fact the star in question is wearing little or no make-up and always that she eats a surprising amount during the conversation. (And later on a question about how she retains her perfect figure.)

When was the last time you read an interview with a male star that involved a comment on how much the interviewee scoffed?

There's been an awful lot written about women's bodies recently. What with the endless articles devoted to Kate's boobs, the revelation that the 'average' woman spends 17 years of her life on a diet, not to mention the ongoing political battle about who gets to decide when she keeps or doesn't keep her unborn child.

All in all, that's a lot of column inches devoted to fatness, thinness and everything in-between. No wonder we're all so f*cked up about our figures.

The fascination with bodies, celebrity or otherwise, isn't exactly something new, of course, and shows no sign of abating. But here's a thought: why don't we just stop?

Stop obsessing about the latest fad diet that doesn't work.

Stop gossiping over how many pounds the new Hollywood mother has gained/lost and in how much time.

Stop trying to analyse why we care so much, and who we care for because it doesn't appear to be the opposite sex (that being the conclusion of one of 'the most extensive psychological studies' into the topic, which was published this week).

And please, please can we stop with the articles about which body types are fashionable. Hips don't change with the seasons.

Confession alert: I've done my fair share of contribution to this topic having spent years on women's magazines and their websites, although never had the skills one fellow journalist displayed being able to tell, to within a couple of pounds, the weight of any given celebrity. A practice she'd honed on a gossip magazine where one of her actual jobs was a weekly celebrity weight watch.

There are the token articles about male anorexia being on the rise, and the annual outing of a male columnist attempting to get a Men's Health cover body in time for summer, but I'd hazard a non-scientific guess that 99% of articles about bodies focus on the female form.

And normal women aren't the only ones suffering because of this.

Hayden Penettiere admitted recently to a personal battle with body dysmorphia. One imagines she isn't the only one.

So enough. Listen to our own bodies, rather than the headlines, and trust we'll be a lot healthier for it.

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