"Thinspiration", as seen by the Daily Mail

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Hey, Daily Mail!

I don't believe I've done this for a while, possibly because there's only so many times we can criticise abominations like the Sidebar of Judgment and the Mail's hypocrisy relating to the sorts of pictures and stories they feature there, but I felt I should point something out following Lorraine Candy's most recent column, published yesterday.

In this column, Candy talks about being amazed at the self-discipline and willpower Victoria Beckham must have to be appearing in public looking "back to normal" so soon after the birth of her fourth child. And so as one might expect, the Mail decided to illustrate this point of a picture of Beckham with baby Harper.

What I find particularly inappropriate, particularly "squicky", about this is the picture caption, which reads "Thinspiration: Victoria Beckham".
Let's get this straight: "thinspiration" isn't some casual descriptor you can insert into picture captions on the website of a national newspaper. It's a term that has long been used by pro-eating disorder websites and sufferers, as described in the Wikipedia entry for "Pro-Ana" (warning: triggers abound in the form of photos).

It has very particular connotations, none of which make it acceptable to use in a column about post-pregnancy weight loss. Given that the Mail has enjoyed, over the years, expressing outrage at the harmful influence of thin celebrities, Kate Moss's quote "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels" and "the size zero trend", you'd think it would be clued up on appropriate usage of the word "thinspiration".

Let's not see this become a regular occurrence.

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