I accidentally listened to Radio 5 for a bit this morning, having switched over for the football last night. They were reviewing today’s papers, with an eye for the human interest angle that the Today programme generally lacks (I don’t know why I persist with the Today programme: it’s so clenched, compared with anything else you can listen to at that time of day).
Anyway, as a result I can tell you that the tabloid press are “concerned” for Kate Middleton, who has apparently lost weight in the run-up to her wedding, and is having her engagement ring narrowed so that it won’t fall off her finger. The two facts were presented as though they were linked, making the assumption that Kate’s fingers have shrunk since she got engaged, without taking into account the possibility that the ring was always too large and she’s only just getting it adjusted. It’s a second-hand ring, after all, and I can confirm from personal experience that it’s very easy not to get around to having a ring adjusted to make it fit properly.
Anyway. Kate probably has lost weight, regardless of whether she meant to. I’ve lost weight, without intending to, because planning a wedding – or, anyway, planning a big wedding, which I have somehow accidentally ended up doing, though it’s not quite on the scale of Kate and Wills’ – makes you twice as busy as usual, so you have less time to eat, and what you do eat you burn up faster. That’s one side of it. The other side is that lots of women do deliberately lose weight for their weddings, because they’re going to be looked at all day by lots of people, and because for this one day they’re trying to match up to the fantasy adult version of themselves that they imagined when they were five years old, and that fantasy adult was almost always slim.
I’ve no objection to women losing weight for their weddings, any more than I’ve any objection to women losing weight for any other reason, if they can do it without being miserable (big if). But I do object to the expectation that it’s something all women will choose to do, and I especially object to the media criticising Kate Middleton for losing weight during her engagement when it’s almost entirely their fault that women in general, and those in the public eye especially, feel anxious about their size. If you want her to stop losing weight, I want to say to them, maybe you should try not talking about her weight.