“I’ll starve to death before I’ll cook for myself. I think I could survive a week without eating.”
- Megan Fox*
Megan Fox has ticked me off.
I don’t normally follow Hollywood and music gossip. Most of my celebrity information comes from the TV show “The Soup” and the occasional look through “O.K.” and “People” when I’m at a hair salon. Once, I heard Ms. Fox had bad-mouthed the director of the “Transformers” movie. And I know she’s pretty with an impossibly perfect body and has a Marilyn Monroe tattoo.
When flying back from France, I read an interview with her in Allure magazine. On page 159, the woman commented on her underwear add for Emporio Armani:
“People always airbrush me, especially in my stomach, because it looks like I have a 24-pack – they soften it. It’s been softened, which you’d think they’d want to make me skinnier, but…”
Who needs to hear this? Imagine having those problems.
I’d love to say:
Can you imagine Calvin Klein thought my legs were too long? They airbrushed off part of the thighs and calves to make them shorter because my gams couldn’t fit on one page.
The funny thing is the interviewer called Megan “down to earth”. The problem is people in the industry hover over earth so high they wouldn’t recognize someone all the way down on earth.
Now I’m not a big “body image in the media” complainer. I loved my Barbie dolls, even if at full-size Barbie would be anorexic, and topple over on her too-small feet. Hey, I didn’t even mind that they were all blonde and blue-eyed until Hispanic “Teresa” came out in the 1980s.
Every person on the planet has body issues. Every woman. Every man. There’s some part we’d like to increase, shrink, stretch, lighten, darken, remove, add. My list would be long indeed. But at this point in life, I don’t dwell on it. I highlight the assets and hide the not-so-assets as best I can.
Why am I writing about this? I’m glad you asked. (SEGWAY.) Last Monday and Tuesday, I was given the honor of teaching two days of Spanish at a very difficult middle school. This was NOT a good way to get back to work after a week break. (Don’t cry for me since I vacationed in Dublin and Paris.) Apparently, the teacher was on Paternity Leave and left the same boring plans for the kids to do each day. The kids had already endured several days of this, and were beginning to rebel. To add to the fun, his Smart Board had just been changed, and decided not to cooperate. And I had jet lag.
Considering the obstacles, I survived Monday. The first classes on Tuesday went better because I gave them choices. Then a particular middle-school class came in. Two girls volunteered to do the date and weather on the Smart Board. The rest of the students were pretty cooperative, and it looked like it would be a decent class.
One of my two helpers got right to work, while the other, a big girl, started speaking to a few boys in the back of the classroom. I would’ve tried to get her back to her own seat, but I was helping a student define a word. I caught her movement in the corner of my eye, so I looked up to see her charging at a group of boys. I ran to the back of the room just as two boys restrained her from a third one seated on a desk. I warned, “Don’t kick him or I’ll have to send you to the office.”
The girl kneed him in the groin area anyway. She must’ve missed because he didn’t double over in agony. “That’s it. I’m calling the office,” I said. The boys kept her back and she took a couple of steps back. As I made my way to the phone in the front of the room, she charged again, pushing the boy in the chest. He fell backwards, landing on the side of his face, with his neck at an awkward angle. How he was okay, I have no idea.
The commotion caused both side doors to open, as well as my front classroom door. Another teacher escorted her to the office, while I phoned to announce her upcoming arrival. I sent the boy to the nurse to get ice. He came back without any, insisting he was fine.
(On the upside, this is the only fight that’s ever occurred in one of my classrooms)
For a good fifteen minutes, most of the students would only talk about the Jerry Springer event. I sat with the boys to find out what happened. They told me she was trash talking, calling them skinny (they were tall and thin). One boy told her she was jealous. She said, “I got all this,” giving a peek of her stomach. “Yeah, you do,” the boy on the desk shot back. Then she lost her mind.
I reprimanded the boys for taking the bait and talking back about her appearance. “She’s not as confident as she pretends. I know it’s hard, but you shouldn’t say anything back.”
Being that every teacher wrings their hands over these eighth-grade classes, I’m sure it didn’t work.
Children notice appearance. My son knew he was the smallest out of the boys in the kindergarten classrooms in his school without anyone having to tell him. When he wasn’t, he noticed that too. I was a skinny thing who was teased for being skinny. My own grandmother called me “Olive Oyl”. My teenage years weren’t any better for self-confidence over my stick-like appearance. It was a time for voluptuous girls – not waifs.
When I write teen characters, I always have them note how they feel about the way they look. No teens are entirely happy with their bodies or their faces. And they check out their classmates, A LOT. They’re experiencing big changes and never feel quite normal.
As an adult, I’d love to let teens know they’ll want those tight bodies back when they’re older. Because even the physiques that aren’t exactly tight aren’t going to get any better unless they’re willing to work at it....
... unless you’re Megan Fox:
“She doesn’t do cardio, preferring Pilates and yoga for their mentally calming properties.”
- Alexandra Jacobs on Megan Fox
*Top and bottom quotes from “Allure” magazine, page 156.