By Abbie Vicki Maguire
If you’ve ever met me, you’d know that you need to look far down to even get a glimpse of my face. The question I’ve always been asked the most is “So how tall are you?”, sometimes even before the generic “What’s your name?” But more often that not, it’s also my weight that comes into question as well. My grandmother always comments that I look painfully thin, my boyfriend calls the dinners that I order snacks and I can get both hands round the front of my waist with ease. I’ve never been one to be thrilled about the prospect of food and I’ll only ever eat when I’m hungry, not because there’s something good on television that needs a sweet companion. In many ways its become part of my identity; I am synonymous with being thin. Sometimes I am simply too body conscious for my own good.
I do find myself constantly overwhelmed by the media bombardment of the other side of the spectrum: obesity, filled the conflicting messages we send to our readership. Personally, I think Daily Mail has more use for a bonfire than it does to read it – in particular the articles written by the blogger that pens the most frivolous of all things: Liz Jones. However, all you have to do is delve into a few pages to come across an article with a bold statistic about how the nation’s children are getting fatter. But then, if you look a little further, you’ll see another article with another bold statistic derived from a scientific study at Oxford, Cambridge or one of the Ivy Leagues that discovered chocolate is good or you, low fat foods don’t have their desired effect and fizzy drinks are beneficial to the consumer.
We all have a conscience that tells us what is healthy and what is not: “Should I order the salad and tofu with a glass of fruit juice or should I order the double bacon cheeseburger slavered in barbecue sauce with a portion of large fries and a chocolate milkshake?” Most of us want to lose a few pounds but when it comes to it, we’ll more often than not make those tempting excuses so nothing ever seems to change. But sometimes it’s that we don’t know what to do: with all these apparent contradictions how do we know what and what not to eat?
Oddly enough, this blog’s purpose is not to tell you how thin I am, or that we’ve been told everyone else is overweight; it’s more to do with the role of the media in what we assume, read and how we form our opinions.
When only one source is telling us something we choose to believe it, whether it is misleading or explicit, bias or unbiased, true or false. The media is a critical instrument projecting exactly what we want to know, we think, and who else knows better than the powerhouse with all the information? In it, we place a great deal of trust, like any other relationship, but when the media fails us and contradicts itself, is there anyone that is truly reliable? When we only have one source to go by, how do we know what to do or what to believe? Is the world only ever guided by an individual’s conscience and is the media a reflection of a collection of individuals, not what is true, but what they believe to be true? Even when we have studies as evidence, it is clear we are misguided by experts and we all collide in confusion. So why have you spent a reporter’s blog criticising the media? Because confusion makes you curious.