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Lady sees red - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
Lady sees red
This article advert on Netmums made me so furious I had to have a rant here. Let's take it line by line:

Sometimes it’s hard work just looking at celebrities on the red carpet.

Wow, if that's your idea of hard work, you need to get out more. Tell you what, we'll start gently: I'll do the celeb-watching for you while you come over here & do the hoovering*. If that doesn't blow your mind, you can help me assemble some flat-pack furniture**.

* I haven't actually done the hoovering since about 2001.
** The flat-pack wardrobe has actually already been assembled with gratefully-received help from invisiblechoir. But there may be more to come!

The glitz, the glamour, the hair, the dresses…followed by the comparisons, the feelings of inadequacy, the despair when we look in the mirror and see ourselves - an ‘ordinary’ mum.

Well, speak for yourself. I see the "glitz" and think it's a bit tacky, to be honest. But if you enjoy looking at celebrities, then that's fine... but it doesn't sound like you do enjoy it all that much, if it makes you feel inadequate and despairing. Maybe you shouldn't watch it? I mean, I'm not saying there's necessarily a correlation here, but when I look in the mirror, I don't feel the need to compare myself to celebrities, & I don't feel inadequacy or despair (though I'm no stranger to either feeling in other contexts!). I don't even see "an ordinary mum": I just see myself. I know I'm not "just a mum", and I also know (after not quite a year of being a mum) that there's no "just" about being a mum.

But Netmums and My Special K think that behind every ‘ordinary’ mum is an extraordinary woman and so My Special K have devised a personalised slimming plan to help you look amazing for that special event, party or holiday that you have coming up.

I don't get it. Is this extraordinary woman behind me so tiny that you won't be able to see her unless I lose weight? If she's so extraordinary, why doesn't she just say "Excuse me, can I get past?" and come and stand in front of me? If the extraordinary woman is me, why do I need a personalised slimming plan? If I'm that great, then why do you think there should be less of me? If I'm so great, why don't I carry on being the extraordinary woman I am? And since when did "amazing" mean "thin"? And even if it did, how do you know I'm not already thin? I mean, at the moment (not that it's any of your business) I'm 5'1" and approximately a size 10. Could you clarify at exactly what point I'm supposed to feel despair for not looking like "celebrities"? Also, which celebrities am I supposed to want to look like? I mean, I'd have to grow an extra eight inches in height to look like most models, and I don't think even Special K (the world's most joyless breakfast cereal) can help me there.

If you look closely many of those same celebrities that we put on an unachievable pedestal are actually just ordinary mums too.

Oh. So remind me, why am I supposed to be emulating them with your special slimming plan? I thought being an "ordinary mum" was what I was trying to avoid by eating the cereals of self-loathing. (And less of the "we" there. I don't put celebrities on a pedestal.)

Yes they’ve been preened and primed for the red carpet event you see them at, but do you think they look like that when their toddler jumps on their head at 5am?

Well, no. But then I'm not looking in the mirror when my baby jumps on my head at 5am, and I look better in the day than I do at 5am too. I'm losing track of how this comparison is meant to work.

So don’t despair,

I wasn't before I started reading this. Now I am actually starting to despair, but not for the reasons you think I am.

first step is to sign up to My Special K’s fantastic personalised slimming plan and then let’s investigate how those celebrities do it and what can we learn from them.

Look, I'm not a scientist, but I reckon you've got those steps the wrong way round. If we want to look like celebrities, why not investigate how they do it first and then see if we can do the same? Hint: they spend shitloads of money on their looks and/or have armies of people to do their hair, their makeup, their nails, their clothes. They almost certainly don't eat Special K. I reckon if you gave me a million pounds to spend on all that stuff I could make myself look like a celebrity without any additional help from a cereal that tastes like cardboard.

1. Making the most of your assets

Perhaps you’re lucky enough to have hair like Penelope Cruz, or lips like Gwen Stefani? Ever noticed how celebrities always draw attention to their best feature? Whilst Penelope Cruz can most often be seen cruising the red carpet with shining, flowing locks, Gwen Stefani is rarely seen without her signature flash of red lipstick. So whether it’s your eyes or your thighs, identify your best asset and learn to make a feature of it.

My best features... well, that's a tricky one. Off the top of my head, in no particular order, I'd rate: my capacity for love; my writing; my musicality; the speed with which I learn new things. I find it hard to define some of the things I'm good at but they're definitely there. I've made a feature of these things by spending my time doing things other than staring in the mirror feeling miserable because I don't look like a celebrity.

Also, I'm now wondering how Penelope Cruz would cruz (ha!) the red carpet without her shining, flowing locks. I guess she could shave it all off and then her hair could come along later in a different Rolls-Royce and someone could roll it along the red carpet on its own. Or she could wear a very big hat.

There's also the possibility that e.g. Gwen Stefani's signature flash of red lipstick functions a bit like Clark Kent's glasses in reverse, i.e. when you see her without her signature flash of red lipstick you don't realise it's Gwen Stefani, so in fact you do see her without it all the time, but you don't see her without it. She might be standing right next to you RIGHT NOW. (Made you look.)

2. Work those curves

Quite often when we become mothers our bodies change and we don’t know how to dress our new curves. Take note of the likes of Kate Winslet, Salma Hayek, Jennifer Hudson and Holly Willoughby and embrace your curves. There’s nothing sexy about hiding under a black sack. Buy a dress (red is always good!) that clings to all the right places, add a plunging neckline and a little attitude and you’ll be red carpet ready in no time.

Hang on, a minute ago we weren't supposed to have curves, we were supposed to be slimming! Now we're supposed to be working our curves! Make your mind up, guys!

Also, I think there's some middle ground between "hiding under a black sack" and wearing a figure-hugging red dress with a plunging neckline, and it's the middle ground in which most of us live most of the time (thank goodness, otherwise every party would be like a version of The Matrix in which the teenage boy who made the woman in the red dress had been allowed to design all the female characters, and they'd all come at you like the excellent bit in the otherwise-appalling second Matrix movie where the army of Agent Smiths (Agents Smith?) attacks Neo, and you'd have to fight them off with super-fast bullet-time karate moves, BLAM! KAPOW! ... and that would get tiring after a while).

And furthermore, a) red is not always good, e.g. if you have red hair; and b) I bet there are people out there who think hiding under a black sack is pretty sexy, because of rule 34.

3. Never underestimate good underwear

I'm losing the will to live here, but let's go on:

Celebrities know the power of good underwear. You’d be hard pushed to find a celebrity that doesn’t love Spanx. Jennifer Garner, Jessica Alba and Brooke Shields have all publically declared their love of spanx and Kim Kardashian even stated that ‘Spanx are my best friend!’

I thought they were supposed to work their curves, not use corsetry to get rid of them? (Also, if we're going to wear the bodyshapers anyway, why bother with the cardboard-only slimming diet?) Also, I already have a best friend, and she's way more interesting than a pair of control pants (also way more interesting than Kim Kardashian).

It doesn’t stop at the bottom half though.

Underwear usually doesn't, unless you're a waitress in a topless bar.

A good bra is essential and can take pounds off your silhouette. Make sure you get a fitting done before parting with your money though – figures show that approx. 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size – and you can be sure it’s not the celebrities!

OK, this advice is fine. Get a bra that fits. It's more likely to take pounds off your bank balance than off your silhouette, but it will also help prevent boobache and backache, and that's got to be a good thing.

4. Time to make-up

Of course whilst celebrities have their own army of stylists, hairdressers and make-up artists the rest of us have to make do with our own talents on that special night. So why not learn a few extra tricks of the trade? If you’re not confident in the art of make-up go to someone who is and ask for a little help. You may be lucky enough to have a friend who could give you a quick lesson, but if not head to the cosmetic floor at one of the big department stores and ask for some assistance. The women working there are normally only too happy to help, especially on the quieter mid-week mornings, and purchasing their goods is not a requirement.

And I guess this advice is fine if you want to do the makeup thing. (I've always made do with my own talents on any "special night", and I've, ahem, never had any complaints about my talents.) Just so long as you know that the tangerine-faced No. 7 ladies in Boots aren't actually going to make you look like Kate Winslet.

Win a makeover for you and a friend!

Netmums are also delighted to launch our fabulous ‘Nominate a Mum’ competition. Perhaps you have a friend or family member who has lost their confidence since becoming a Mum?

Oh, Netmums. With inspirational advice like this article, how could any mum lose her confidence?

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venta From: venta Date: March 20th, 2012 10:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Surely the take-home lesson for us all here is "don't read netmums" ;)

(I have no idea - maybe it's also full of useful stuff. Most of things I've heard people talking about have sounded pretty underwhelming.)

Also - following a great internet tradition of seizing on the least relevant part of your post - I quite like Special K.
atreic From: atreic Date: March 20th, 2012 11:14 am (UTC) (Link)
I was going to say that. The chocolate and strawberry one is yummy, and contains nearly as many calories as most breakfast cereals. It's just because they market it a) with skimmed milk b) with tiny portion sizes and c) as the only thing you should eat for two meals of the day that it's a weight loss food at all, really.
keris From: keris Date: March 20th, 2012 09:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
davefish eats special k. I am sure everyone can tell by how lovely he looks in a red dress. Er...

(Excellent rant there :) )
From: rmc28 Date: March 20th, 2012 11:04 am (UTC) (Link)
I love you and your brilliant demolishing.
fanf From: fanf Date: March 20th, 2012 12:45 pm (UTC) (Link)

Also, since XKCD reminded me of it a week and a half ago, this ad is obviously based on pickup-artist negging. They must be trying to shaft you </pred>.

Also also. Special K. Stupidest diet food ever. It's entirely sugar and refined carbs which are the absolute worst things to eat when trying to lose weight!
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: March 20th, 2012 03:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
The reposte in that xkcd might do well as a response on Netmums. I am so glad netmums didn't exist when I was a new/ish mother because I would have broken my then-precious-and-only Powerbook 160 pounding responses via dialup into the aether...
tigerfort From: tigerfort Date: March 20th, 2012 11:36 am (UTC) (Link)
My desk had to ask me to stop reading half-way through; apparently my head was giving it bruises.

Could you clarify at exactly what point I'm supposed to feel despair for not looking like "celebrities"?

I think the answer is "whenever you're not very very scared". It's much easier to sell people things they don't need or want if you can make them scared or despairing. The proportion of the commercial world that appears to make money by brutalising people and then telling them "buy this to feel better" depresses me. I just wish there was something I could do about it other than eat chocolate.
From: rmc28 Date: March 20th, 2012 01:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I just wish there was something I could do about it other than eat chocolate.

Eat really good chocolate that's not advertised horribly?

khalinche From: khalinche Date: March 20th, 2012 11:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Top quality ranting there, ma'am!
bellinghman From: bellinghman Date: March 20th, 2012 11:55 am (UTC) (Link)
And it's Special K.

Which is high sugar cardboard. It's got about as much real claim to be healthy for you as, oh, I dunno, Coca Cola.

Seriously, there are some cereals which make a healthy breakfast, at least compared to a grilled full English, but some are actively 'bad' (Coco Pops? Healthy for kids? Yeah, I mean NO!), and others which use pure blandness to hide a salt and sugar level that is shameful.

(I recommend Fuzzy Pink Niven's Law: Never waste calories. Special K is a total waste of both calories and salt allowance - for the same amount of those, you could eat something nice.)

I wouldn't mind so much if Special K wasn't promoted as 'a slimming aid'. But since it is, it should always be pointed out that it's not one at all. It's all down to the advertising of the product, of which this is a particularly obnoxious example.


(As for your main rant, I shall leave that untouched in its perfection.)
From: scat0324 Date: March 20th, 2012 12:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
"pounds off your silhouette"

How does one weight a silhouette?
keirf From: keirf Date: March 21st, 2012 12:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Answer: On a large weighing scale. The 1998 Oldsmobile Silhouette weighs about 3,857 lbs.
1ngi From: 1ngi Date: March 20th, 2012 12:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for writing this - it is made of awesome :D
jinty From: jinty Date: March 20th, 2012 02:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

High Quality Rant

A+, would read again.
taimatsu From: taimatsu Date: March 20th, 2012 06:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Good points, well made! Excellent ranting!
hairyears From: hairyears Date: March 21st, 2012 12:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Every now again I am reminded why I loathe 'celebrity culture'.
crouchinglynx From: crouchinglynx Date: March 21st, 2012 04:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not a scientist, but

Hah, caught you. People only say that when they're about to be a bit scientist.

Seriously, thanks for spending the time tearing this up.
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