There a few situations that make one consider body image more than being 20 weeks pregnant. I am pleased to report that the morning sickness that made my life a misery for the first few months has faded so upon waking the first thing I do every day is put my hand on my tummy and give it a rub – its my way of giving my baby a cuddle. The second thing I do is pad over to the full length mirror at the end of the landing, turn sideways and see if its grown. I like what I see. When I see my bump growing I imagine my baby growing getting bigger, stronger and healthier. As each day passes I’m a day closer to meeting him or her at last (not that I’m impatient or anything). So, picture my fury when I nipped into Boots at lunchtime to stockpile yet more acne treatments (yes as soon as the sickness faded the spots kicked in – thanks be to the pregnancy gods) and noticed the front cover of “Closer” magazine. “Closer” magazine for those who haven’t had the privilege of reading it could be said to represent the nadir of the celebrity swamp fest that has overrun the UK in recent years. It primarily concerns itself with making asinine pronouncements on women “celebs” for being too fat or indeed too thin. These are presented alongside diet tips, celebrity gossip etc. I use the word celebrity in the loosest possible sense of the word. Having a bit part in “Hollyoaks” seems to qualify one for inclusion. Closer makes the likes of the Cosmopolitan magazine of yesteryear look like Rockets Scientists Weekly. Most of the time I don’t care. I have simply conditioned myself to ignore pictures of Nicole Ritchie looking like a gurning twiglet. Today, something caught my attention. This was a picture of a very pregnant Jordan with the headline “My bump is gross”. Yes, apparently although she can still get into her size zero jeans Jordan is desperately unhappy because she has a bump. Given that this is her third child one would have thought she perhaps knew what to expect but apparently its all come as rather as a surprise.

I’m not even going to air my anger about the sheer, arse aching stupidity of a statement like this, although those people that accept the argument that Jordan is some sort of feminist icon because she gets her tits out on her terms may like to take this opportunity to reconsider. But if Jordan’s anguish doesn’t sum up neatly the utter f**ked upness of the attitude of women about their body size then frankly I don’t know what does. How did it get like this? At what point did women start to think that a UK size 12 was fat? When did the vacuous Liz Hurley come to represent the female ideal (which, according to a recent survey on British women’s body images she does). Liz Hurley openly admits that she barely eats and that when she does she eats her meals from children’s plates. My first thought on hearing this was “silly cow”. It appears that many women think it’s an absolutely wizard idea. I’m sick of reading about the “Size Zero debate.” What is there, precisely, that needs debating? To me, it is abundantly clear that the male dominated fashion industry(yes, male dominated – the models are women but the designers with the power are predominantly men) and the fashion media along with its low end spin offs like Closer are equally responsible for distorting to absurd proportions what is considered normal body size. No, a 15 year old doesn’t become anorexic because she looked at a picture of Kate Moss. However, what these magazines and fashion houses push as “normal” is nothing of the sort and it has changed over the last few years the perception of what women should actually look like – pregnant or not.

I worry for any future daughter I may bear. I’m not sure what worries me most. This endless obsessing over body weight both demeans and, more importantly, controls women. The fashion industry is misogynist in the extreme. These facts alone are bad enough. The fact that women actively perpetuate this rubbish is heartbreaking. How did (mainly) young women have so little to think about that they can expend such a vast amount of energy and time on not eating? How can so many young, intelligent, beautiful girls with a dazzling future ahead of them aspire to nothing other than being thin? Where is the anger? Where is the sheer, f**king feminist outrage? The old school feminists of the 60’s and 70’s would have challenged this collective lack of ambition time and time again. Now I hear no significant voices of dissent. The thought of being considered feminist seems to scare the living daylights out of women now which is a pity. Because from where I’m standing we’ve never needed them more.

Penny, 34, England

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