Friday, September 30, 2005

Apples are not the only fruit

This morning I woke up to a slot on BBC Breakfast about apples. The presenters were discussing the fact that apples are imported into our supermarkets from all over the world at the expense of our native types. The Apple Expert held up a piece of very shiny, red apple and explained that the skin had been waxed to make it look more appealing. Apples are not that red, shiny and flawless naturally. Supermarkets need their apples to be even in colour, shape, texture; they cannot tolerate difference or natural looks.

I'm sure you know where I'm going on this!

The two male presenters eating said apples looked relatively flawless too. The female presenter had hidden her 'imperfections' under layers of make-up. Women's magazines regularly encourage their readers to purchase new and expensive types of cosmetics, to layer their faces with artificial pastes to hide any 'blemishes', to create an impossibly even and uniform skin tone. Adverts push these products onto women, encouraging them (overtly in the case of a recent No.7 ad) to 'stay perfect', show them fretting over having spots or wrinkles and brandishing the magic formula. Female TV presenters are inevitably immaculately made up.

Supermarkets cannot tolerate any blemishes on apples. It seems that our capitalism cannot tolerate any 'blemishes' on women. No signs of age, experience, individuality are acceptable. The lines on a woman's face that mark the expressions she makes and has made are hideous proof of her experience in the world and must be hidden. They speak of human action, of imperfection, of personal endeavor, of a person who is ill-suited for the pedestal. Women may not show signs of having had an individual life. They may betray no signs of difference or experience. They must appear as flawless and blank as an empty canvas, unfrightening for those who wish to consume them.

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