Bikini Bod­ies

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - NEWS -

I’m about to un­roll one of those ubiq­ui­tous and fu­tile spiels where some­one past their prime gets their knick­ers in a knot about the state of so­ci­ety and how much bet­ter it (prob­a­bly never) used to be.

So it all started when I was scrolling through In­sta­gram in the usual man­ner – back turned on my child, mouth slightly agape, brain on standby. I fol­low the page of a 25-year-old Aus­tralian per­sonal trainer called Kayla Itsines. I do this out of noth­ing other than mor­bid curiosity. I never have and never will try her #BBG, which of course stands for Bikini Body Guide. And if you didn’t know that you’re clearly not one of her 6.6 mil­lion fol­low­ers. What have you been do­ing? En­gag­ing with real life?

Any­way, on Kayla’s page, young women post be­fore/after pics of their bod­ies. The be­fore pic usu­ally looks kind of fine and the after pic looks like they’ve been stranded on an is­land where the only food is kale and the only shel­ter some kind of gym­na­sium. In re­turn Kayla show­ers them with emo­jis and words of en­cour­age­ment. It’s all quite sweet but what pushed me over the edge was a re­cent post in which Kayla posted two pho­tos of her own body which con­sists of 100 per­cent mus­cle and a pony­tail.

In each im­age she was wear­ing or­ange hot­pants and match­ing bra and star­ing into her phone and beyond that a mir­ror. Be­hind her was an ex­er­cise bike – it was like one of those spot-the-dif­fer­ence games, but here’s the weird thing: there was no dif­fer­ence.

I think as a species we’ve hit peak self-ab­sorp­tion when we post two iden­ti­cal images of our­selves to mil­lions ex­pect­ing to blow them away by dif­fer­ences so minis­cule the hu­man eye can­not de­tect them.

And thus it was in this spirit of my­opic right­eous­ness that I read Britt Mann’s cover story on Miriam Lance­wood who doesn’t own a phone nor a mir­ror nor, I’m will­ing to bet, or­ange hot­pants. And yet she’s vi­tal and beau­ti­ful and for a minute it seemed like she was the one with all the an­swers. Un­til I got to the part about the goat... That’s on page 14.

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