Taking a battering

What many people don’t know about me is that my blog isn’t the first thing I’ve tried writing. When I was younger I was a voracious writer. By the age of fifteen I’d written two stories which were long enough to be described as books. Don’t get me wrong, they were melodramatic crap (I was a teenager, enough said), but to have written that sheer volume of words is, in my book, pretty impressive. All I wanted to do was to be a writer, to be able to spend my life moulding words for a living.

But as I got older and the pressures of life and the prospect of having to get a “real job” loomed, my writing was the one thing that fell by the wayside. A lot of it was due to the fact that as my poor depressed brain got sicker and sicker, my confidence dropped lower and lower until I had so little faith in myself as a person, let alone as a writer, I couldn’t face this thing I loved becoming one more thing I failed at.

And then nearly half a lifetime later, I discovered Twitter and through that the world of blogging. It took a couple of false starts before I started this blog and although it doesn’t have the biggest readership in the world, I am so grateful for each reader and each comment I get. I might never reach my dream of being a professional writer but having an outlet and a way to express myself is invaluable.

So when nearly two weeks ago, someone accused me of stealing copy for having offered to blog for a brand they had already covered (despite the fact that it was for a new and totally different product) and responding to two Twitter-wide tweets for bloggers, the little confidence I had gained was pretty much obliterated.

But the thing I have come to realise is that when faced with such baseless accusations, it shows much more about the person making the accusation than it does about you. Whether this blogger was worried that she’d lifted some copy or just generally insecure and worried that another blogger might produce a better post than her on a similar subject, I don’t know but unless someone has lifted copy directly from your blog, my vote would be to not accuse people, especially when you’re not aware of all the facts. It creates a lot of bad feeling and could do long-term damage to your credibility as a blogger.

As for me, I’m still very hurt, angry and upset. I’m even more upset that the issue has caused some serious damage to a long-term friendship which may well be irreparable. I’m not the sort of person to have a million and one friends so to have one take our friendship so lightly is something that hurts immensely. And the blogger? Well, time will tell what happens but it’s one time I really hope that Lady Gaga was right:

Lady Gaga "Karma" quote

Average Josephine x

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Covered up

I confess. I regularly consult the Daily Mail as my source of gossip. I take anything that is actually written with a small mountain of salt as the paper seems to go with the “why let a small thing like the facts get in the way of the good story?” approach to journalism but you know what they say about a picture being worth a thousand words…

And unfortunately you can’t argue with a picture like this…

Alesha Dixon at BGT auditions

Alesha Dixon at BGT auditions. Source: Daily Mail

Girls, I have to ask, when did wearing a short, strapless dress in sub-zero temperatures become sexy? Seriously, you see girls wearing outfits like that out on the town every Friday and Saturday night, regardless of whether their dresses fit (a bit like the one Miss Dixon is wearing in this picture) or what they look like.

Sometimes covering up is a darn site sexier than exposing as much flesh as possible. Case in point, the guest judge for BGT while Amanda Holden recovers from giving birth, Carmen Electra. Famous for appearing in Baywatch and producing a series of aerobic striptease DVDs, you would have expected her to appear wearing even less than Alesha Dixon but she pulled a bit of a blinder. And she looks amazing.

Carmen Electra at BGT auditions. Source: Daily Mail

Carmen Electra at BGT auditions. Source: Daily Mail

I don’t know about you but I think she looks amazing! She looks classy, elegant and sexy. She has dressed appropriately both for the weather(as much as you can when you have to appear all glammed up) and her shape. There are no unsightly lumps or bumps. She looks like she has looked in a mirror!

You couldn’t put two women together who had dressed more differently for the same event. Unless one was wearing a gown suitable for the Oscars and the other was wearing a onesie. And I think so much of the difference is due to confidence. Carmen Electra comes across as a woman who is comfortable in her own skin to the extent that she doesn’t have to flash every possible inch of flesh to feel sexy.

But I don’t know to what extent BGT’s production team choose what the judges are going to wear so I may be completely over-analysing the situation but I do think that the translation to a nightclub on a Saturday night does apply. It doesn’t matter how much skin you show, if you don’t feel sexy, you probably won’t look it.

Who do you think looks better? And do you think that confidence, rather than clothes, is  what is more important when it comes to sex appeal?

Average Josephine x

To print or not to print

When I heard rumours of a model with a 20″ waist on Twitter, I was horrified. This girl must be anorexic, I thought, and how irresponsible of the Daily Mail (yes, the article was in the Daily Fail Mail) for printing it when the girl was so clearly ill.

Ioana Spangenberg

Ioana Spangenberg. Source in2eastafrica.net

Having read the article, I still think that the Mail has been irresponsible but not for the same reasons. The model in question is Ioana Spangenberg, who is Romanian, aged 30 and at 5’6″ weighs a mere 6 stone which would give her a BMI of 13.6. Whilst the BMI is an admittedly flawed measure, if you consider that 18.5 and below is classified as being underweight, there is no way that she can be healthy.

Mrs Spangenberg claims to eat three big meals a day and snack on chocolate and crisps. I am not a doctor and I don’t claim to be so whether she has an eating disorder or a metabolic problem I don’t know, but for her to maintain such a low weight her metabolism would have to be extraordinarily high. And I mean obscenely high. To a point where it’s unhealthy.

I still maintain that publishing pictures of this woman is irresponsible given she’s claiming to be healthy. If she was anorexic and admitting she had an illness and this picture was a warning to others about the damage she has done to her body that would be one thing. But she’s not. And she needs help rather than publicity.

The other thing that is irresponsible is that the Mail does not disclose that in their picture Mrs Spangenberg is in fact wearing a corset and that said 20″ waist is not natural but only achieved when wearing a steel boned corset. She’s still unhealthy but if her real figure were shown rather than the restricted version of it (the picture in the Mail is not good quality so I have used one from a different source), the story would not be nearly as dramatic. The world record for the smallest waist whilst wearing a corset is in fact a ridiculously tiny 16″ (about the size of a big jar of mayonnaise) so whilst 20″ is tiny, it isn’t as horrific as it sounds.

My big issue with this piece of “journalism” is two-fold. It does appear that this woman is being exploited for a story. Quite what her problem is I don’t know but she cannot be healthy with a BMI so low. She needs medical attention, not media speculation. As for the omitted aspect of the story that she is wearing a corset and her waistline isn’t actually 20″, they are turning a person into a freak show by implying that it’s natural. And whilst I can’t entirely blame the Daily Mail as they only cater to an audience, they should at least attempt to produce a balanced piece.

But hey, why would they let a little thing like the truth get in the way of a good article?

Average Josephine x