Fergie’s daughter inherits her “imperfect figure”

// 30 April 2008

The Daily Mail is running a truly revolting article today. I mean, seriously. They have actually surpassed themselves on the We-Hate-Women’s-Bodies front. Sarah “Duchess of Pork” Ferguson’s daughter Beatrice has gone on holiday, had the temerity to wear a bikini (how dare she!) and been photographed in it. And since she is now 19, she is considered fair game for a disgusting, bitchy character assassination based on the fact that she seems to have inherited her mother’s thighs:

Puberty can be a cruel thing, but there is a time when a young woman must take responsibility for her own thighs and accept that whatever genes you inherit, you can – and probably should – make changes to your lifestyle and diet in an effort to do something about it.

I suspect that for all her natural beauty, when Beatrice sees these holiday snaps, she may think that moment is fast approaching.

Beatrice does not have to carry the sins of the mother on her thighs.

She has a wonderful and privileged life ahead of her, but unless she gets her body under control, she’ll have a lifetime of yo-yo dieting and pitiful self-esteem. Just ask Fergie.

Which does make you rather wonder where her mother is in all this.

Having written so movingly (and lucratively, thanks to a multi-million pound WeightWatchers contract) about her own eating problems as a young woman – the obesity that drove her to despair and wrecked her marriage, about the pain of being labelled the Duchess of Pork – you’d have thought she’d have taken a more interventionist role in her elder daughter’s physical well-being.

But all is not lost. I’m sure Weight-Watchers would snap up a royal mother and daughter deal. At least Beatrice has now got the “before” pictures.

You heard it here first girls – control your wayward bodies or else people will be able to see your SINS! What a disgusting, pathetic, catty*, bitchy* attack. What concerns me most is that there must be people out there who actually enjoy reading stuff like this.

*Not gender-specific terms – I use these words to describe men too and wish more people did.

Comments From You

Claire // Posted 30 April 2008 at 11:56 am

So right – this is REALLY disgusting and pathetic to write this kind of stuff about any woman, let alone a 19-year old girl. And Beatrice’s mother Sarah Ferguson was never “obese”, that’s crap.

I’ve had a look at the article and was heartened because quite a few of the commentators also thought it was nasty (surprised they got posted).

Cara // Posted 30 April 2008 at 12:15 pm

*Sigh*…the Mail has outdone itself…oh and the article had to include lots of totally irrelevant pictures of women in bikinis, um, to compare. Not for men to perv at, of course. After being forced to look at pictures of, shock, real women who are not a size 0! The poor things!

And – they are not even fat. Not that it would be OK to write this kind of crap if they were, but they aren’t. They are NORMAL. I would kill for that waist anyway as a pretty much straight up and down woman.

Milly // Posted 30 April 2008 at 12:18 pm

How utterly disgusting.

“there is a time when a young woman must take responsibility for her own thighs”

– um, what if she has already ‘taken responsibility’, and responsibly decided that her thighs are just fine the way they are, thanks?

And since when has not encouraging an eating disorder in your children made you a bad mother?

On a separate issue, do you, the Fword bloggers, use nofollow tags when you link to evil stuff?

Apologies for the SEO lesson if you already do, but just in case anyone else reading this wasn’t aware: every time you link to something, Google regards that as a ‘vote’ and awards the linked-to site greater importance in search results. So if you want to link to something so your readers can see it but you don’t want to award that site precious google juice, you can use a ‘no follow’ tag so that the searchbots know to ignore the value of that link. In the HTML change sitename to sitename

Lesson over! =)

Info here: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2005/01/preventing-comment-spam.html

Samara Ginsberg // Posted 30 April 2008 at 12:22 pm

Milly, that is really, really good to know. I’m no HTML expert and don’t think many of the other bloggers are either so thanks for the advice! Have left this here despite its off-topicness so that any other feminist bloggers who know less about computers than gender equality can read it.

Anne Onne // Posted 30 April 2008 at 12:23 pm

Take responsibility for our thighs? and make changes to our lifestyle to control our wayward bodies? Sins of the mother?

How about this: We refuse to subject our bodies to some starvation regime in the name of fitting a mould we may never physically be able to fit, should we wish to. We have no desire to fit your standards, to be your poster-girls for what a perfect woman should look like. If we change our lifestyle or diet, it will be because we want to be healthier, because that makes us happy, and not to play your games. And if we choose to not do that? It’s our choice. We don’t lack self-control or discipline, we decide that we don’t want to enforce it. And what you think about our appearance really doesn’t matter.

Funny, I thought yo yo dieting came from precisely what they recommend- an obsession with slimming! And eating disorders are in part about an obsession with controlling your body, amongst other things.

In all seriousness, this really is a new low. Even for the Daily Male. Good for pointing it out. Now I want to eat something really calorific just to give them the finger.

And what do they mean ‘puberty can be a cruel thing’? Maturing physically from a girl into a woman is wrong, now? Where’s all the medical evidence they have to back this up?

Oh, I forgot, if you want to shame women, you only need to pretend to think about their health.

Seph // Posted 30 April 2008 at 12:34 pm

“and pitiful self-esteem”

Oops, I think they left out the rest of the sentance here, which is of course “and we’ll make sure of that!”

Sonja // Posted 30 April 2008 at 12:43 pm

I’m so glad you read the Daily Mail for me and highlight these vile and vicious pieces. This way I don’t have to touch the filthy rag. Just made the mistake of clicking on the link to the article. It really makes you want to puke up your breakfast – and that would be a waste of perfectly good food. At least the comments are almost universal in their shaming the authors.

PS Milly – thanks for the nofollow tag hint, I’m going to pass it on to blogger friends who may not know.

fenris // Posted 30 April 2008 at 1:26 pm

i just contributed “fuck off” to their comments box, i await it’s publication with bated breath ;)

i fail to see what is so horrifying about beatrice in any case, she seems quite the hourglass with her teeny waist. not that it is anybodies business anyway!

sian // Posted 30 April 2008 at 1:31 pm

ugh. i hate them. it’s difficult to know where to start. troll commenters too, the one at the top when some man says she’s just fat – and you just know there’ll be a scare article about eating disorders in there soon…i hate them!

Leigh-Anne // Posted 30 April 2008 at 1:32 pm

At the FEM 08 conference Germaine Greer said something along the lines of

” Newsflash! Oestrogen gives you a fat arse. If you don’t like women with hips, you don’t like women!”, in response to the current media trend of displaying thin hipped girls as the acme of male desire…

Vanessa // Posted 30 April 2008 at 2:23 pm

I am disappointed with Germaine Greer for the comment quoted above. She is implying that women who do not have “fat arses” are not “women”. What on earth are they, then? Men? Non-humans? That comment does not help anyone. I know I should be commenting on the article from The Daily Male (yes, Male) but I think most of what I would have said is already there. I also think Beatrice looks good.

Betsy // Posted 30 April 2008 at 2:24 pm

Yes, puberty can be a cruel thing, everything changes, the body you’ve known everything about suddenly decides to take control of itself and all of a sudden there are boobs! and periods! and hormones! and hips!

And if you come out of that wearing a bikini then the winner is you.

It makes me really sad that the people writing these articles are women. Really really sad.

Sonja // Posted 30 April 2008 at 3:59 pm

Vanessa – I think you can do a generous reading of the Greer quote. Oestrogen does things to our bodies – deal with it. The soundbite hits at fetishising a particular look, and doesn’t need to be thought to demonise that look by implication. Well, at least that’s what I choose to think.

Sarah // Posted 30 April 2008 at 4:25 pm

What an unpleasant article – and the comments referring to her as ‘morbidly obese’ – she looks a perfectly fine, normal size and shape to me. Though of course she should be free to enjoy her holiday and dress as she likes without being held up for public scrutiny and approval, regardless of what she looks like or how much she weights.

Vanessa – I see your point, I get a little irritated with the whole ‘real women have curves’ thing, not only is there the implication that less ‘curvy’ women are somehow lesser women, also it gets a little too close to that ‘skinny bitch’ trope where we’re supposed to hate other women for being thinner or more attractive than ourselves. But I didn’t read Germaine Greer’s comments that way, she didn’t seem to be making any judgement about women with slim or boyish figures, just saying that it is normal for women to have a curvy shape and to store fat on our hips/thighs. And it is normal – not universal, not necessarily better or worse than any other body shape, but it is the norm.

BareNakedLady // Posted 30 April 2008 at 4:41 pm

Fucking hell. Just when you think you’ve got used to the blindingly hateful hypocrisy and just general complete bastardness of the Daily Mail (rage is making me inarticulate here), it comes up with something new.

Amy // Posted 30 April 2008 at 5:33 pm


You know what would give Beatrice “pitiful self esteem”?

Articles like that.

faith from USA // Posted 30 April 2008 at 6:07 pm

this is truly horrible. How could you say that about another person? Especially a 19-year old girl. There is no reason to print anything about her weight. It’s just plain mean.

ines // Posted 30 April 2008 at 6:57 pm

Honestly, I feel disgusted. And everything I’m thinking here in the midst of my hysterical, mind-numbing rage is been said before in the comments above. thanks people. I agree.

Nonetheless: does really the Daily Mail believe their readers are size 0s awaiting the chance to pick on poor ‘morbidly obese’ girls? Is the writer unidimensional maybe, and that’s why she thinks it’s correct, empathetic and productive to go around writing adventurous articles on the ZOMG HUUUUGE curves of a (perfectly gorgeous) girl?

Shea // Posted 30 April 2008 at 7:08 pm

Are they totally insane? Why do they think Fergie suffered so much? Because of filthy little gobsh*tes like the Daily Male. Hateful, hateful rag, I wouldn’t even wipe my shoes on it- they are dirty enough. (It does make a nice cat litter tray liner though!)

shatterboxx // Posted 1 May 2008 at 12:03 am

Disgusting article, absolutely shamelessly sexist.

As far as the curvy/skinny thing goes, I can see how it’s a problem to assume that if you’re skinny you must be starving yourself to be fashionable. I work with a girl who is very attractive and skinny (gets lots of attention from men because of this). But she is only so skinny because she’s quite ill and her body can’t process food properly… The point of the whole size zero “debate” (har har) is that we shouldn’t care what women look like at all. It’s not important.

Lindsey // Posted 1 May 2008 at 12:04 pm


And today on the Daily Hatemail – aren’t skinny legs gross!

What I wouldn’t give to trial my patriarchy-deprogramming therapy on Liz Jones…

Marcella // Posted 1 May 2008 at 1:37 pm

What is worrying is that the Daily Mail has 2,340,255 readers a day (2006 figures) and they all seem to think this kind of article is acceptable.

I hope one day we will all look back at these kinds of articles with shock and horror. They are a nothing more that bullying.

Seph // Posted 1 May 2008 at 2:21 pm

“And today on the Daily Hatemail – aren’t skinny legs gross! ”

So what kind of legs do the Mail find acceptable then? tentacles?

BlaBla // Posted 1 May 2008 at 3:19 pm

I think we are witnessing the beginning of the “beautification-of-women movement”, and I believe it to be an autogenous thing.

I mean, we’ve come to a point where we don’t have to worry about the basic survival issues and focus on the trivial stuff like this. I remember reading -or watching- somewhere that beauty has become something ‘expected’ now, rather than ‘desired’. And this expectation will expand over the years and reach a point where everyone will be able to be beautiful with the plactic surgeries, a procedure which will turn into a very simple and affordable practice by then. Of course men’s turn will come as well.

What I mean is, science is developing quite fast and we will be able to do these kinda things in a very near future and I think everyone will want it because of the norms social evolution brings.

The point is, these norms are not defined by a couple magazine writers or fashion designers. They are the outcomes of the values, desires and likes of the evolving and ever-changing society. So, although I protest the mean pressure we’ve been put through to be beautiful, I also know that it’s a quite normal and inevitable thing caused by the level that humanity has come to. After all, a taste for aesthetics was one of the most vital points that played a role in the evolution of men.

However, I think that “plastic surgery for everyone” would be a good thing. Because then, people would have the chance to engage in life without having to deal with the restraints their physical apperances bring and people would have the chance to start life with the same points.

Anna // Posted 1 May 2008 at 4:59 pm

your ideal of ‘beauty’ disturbs me massively. whatever happened to loving who you are? individuality?

I see no appeal in rows of plastic women..

Rhona-Mairead // Posted 1 May 2008 at 5:19 pm

Re the skinny legs article – poor Liz Jones. I’d really like to like her, then she goes and writes some tripe like that again.

How I would love to usher her into my home for a month, feed her lots of nice sandwiches, take her to my lovely local charity shops and introduce her to my nice, loving female friends, each and every one of them free of self-hatred and shoe envy.

Do you think she’d realise then that we’re not all neurotic, diet-obsessed, fashion-baiting f*ck-ups?

No? Ah well, thought not.

Anne Onne // Posted 1 May 2008 at 11:03 pm

BlaBla, I disagree. People would not start life at the same point, because they would not be having surgery at birth. and many people would always, always not have enough money to beautify themselves, even if it did become cheaper, because they would need that money to put food on the table, no matter how cheap you claim it wouls become. Also, no matter how cheap it would be, why would even more pressure to transform your appearance, away from its natural tendencies be a good thing? What exactly is limiting about our natural appearance? Only the fixation we have with beauty, that’s what. If nobody cared bout it, then it would not affect people’s lives, or limit them. And to be honest, it’s

I just think we’re not animals, and capable of change and rational thought, so chalking up anything to inevitability is rather defeatist. There is no entirely inevitable human behaviour (though we can’t erase any bad behaviours entirely), because we are capable of great social change. What our ancestors considered inevitable (no votes for women, no real contraceptives or safe abortions, women shouldn’t work, etc) we have moved on from as a society. We learned to care a lot less about some things. Whilst I don’t entirely disagree that appearance will be a huge factor in our lifetimes, I don’t think that spending much more time and effort changing our phyisical appearances, is a good thing, or to be encouraged or seen as inevitable. It’s something that really can’t be all that good physically if we will be having much more surgery for no real reason, and it will foster the belief that how you are born, and have evolved over millions of years, just isn’t good enough.

‘Normal’ implies that it is healthy, something to be ignored, just because it’s frequently forced upon people to obsess about appearance. 1 in four women being abused or raped would make that ‘normal’ by virtue of being common, and a result of the same misogynistic society, but we can also recognise it as wrong, something to fight and not just accept. This epidemic of pressure that our bodies aren’t good enough is the same. It doesn’t help women. If it wasn’t for screwed up images giving women low self-esteem and making them feel imperfect, they wouldn’t want the surgery to feel prettier. And let’s face it, there’ll always be something else they will get criticised for if they get surgery.

Isn’t letting go of our obsession over appearances better than accepting and encouraging it?

Tom // Posted 3 May 2008 at 11:44 pm

Calling it the “daily male” may seem wonderfully witty in your head, but the fact remains this paper finds itself as the leading female read paper in the UK. More women buy the mail than any other paper, and almost two-thirds of its purchasing readership are female. Thats the disturbing thing, imo, and simply blaming “men”, so as to whitewashaway this is stupid – The Mail is capitalism at its worst, using insecurities and fears to drive up their share value and readership figures. In this instance the insecurite of their own features which our society places on average women.

Anna // Posted 4 May 2008 at 12:47 pm

aye.. I always preferred calling it the Daily Heil..

Anne Onne // Posted 4 May 2008 at 7:23 pm

Tom, I don’t think anyone was trying to imply that only men read The Mail by calling it the Daily Male (though I’ll only speak for myself in this).

I always thought it was more a pun on its role as a tool of the patriarchy, and the sheer misogyny of it all. It, like the majority of media, styles itself as being primarily for male consumption, by relegating anything it sees as to do with women in the ‘Femail section’. Which is ironic if so large a part of their readership is women.

We’re well aware that most of the problematic (from a feminist point of view) articles are written by female journalists, which is pretty despair-worthy in itself, and that many, many women (as well as men) read it.

Who knows, perhaps I’ll start calling it the Daily Fail, or something. To be honest, my reasons for occaisonally calling it the Daily Male stem from nothing more than frustration with the newspaper. There’s not much to be said in defense of it (nor need there be), but it doesn’t mean that I’m unaware of their readership, theme (jokes about the Mail and paranoia are a penny a dozen, aren’t they?), and how warped their relationship with their female readership (not to mention poor families) is. It’s ultimately a futile form of stress relief and should be seen as such.

Incidentally, they now have a lovely article about how gay marriage doesn’t work, because men are just too predatory. Because one break up means all relationships of that type can’t work out. I guess seeing all the heterosexual breakups we must now assume that no relationships can ever work out, so should just live separate, asexual lives. Yay…*rolls eyes*

They also call gay marriage a ‘commercial break’ compared to the ‘full movie’ of het marriages. How nice.

Carol // Posted 4 May 2008 at 9:48 pm

“BlaBla said:

I think we are witnessing the beginning of the “beautification-of-women movement”, and I believe it to be an autogenous thing.

I mean, we’ve come to a point where we don’t have to worry about the basic survival issues and focus on the trivial stuff like this.”

BlaBla, do you not pay attention to what’s going on in the world? There’s a major crisis internationally because of the escalating cost of food. There’s been food riots in several countries. Even in relatively wealthy countries like here in NZ, many people/families/households are struggling to pay their basic survival bills.

Even before this crisis, the state of relative wealth in some countries was directly related to abysmal work conditions and pay in poorer countries or communities. The money spent on cosmetic surgery by wealthy people, IMO, could be better spent on contributing to health, nutrition and survival improvements for those struggling to live – not to mention a whole different approach to business & production of goods that benefits wealthier countries at the expense of poorer ones.

Who is the “we” that you refer to BlaBla? You make it sound like you are referring to all of humanity, while ignoring the plight of the majority on earth. Worrying about the shape of one’s thighs is an insult to all those suffering people across the planet.

Anna // Posted 4 May 2008 at 10:34 pm

Anne, your comment reminded me of this;

How do you confuse a Daily Mail reader?

Tell them asylum seekers kill paedophiles.

BlaBla // Posted 8 May 2008 at 7:04 pm

Anne Onne and others,

First off, let me start by saying that I look at this beauty thing from a very objective and unemotional angle and in my first comment I stated my opinions as to what will happen in the future, so don’t attack me for my imagination of a futuristic world, you might find it implausible but offensive? Come on…

My only personal statement is that, I think it would be a good thing if everyone had the chance to decide on their looks. Why should that be a bad thing? When we have the technology to reach our own aesthetic desires for affordable and practical procedures, then why the hell not? What is wrong with wanting to look good? Is it not kinda weird to want to stay the way you are for the sheer purpose of protest? I think the latest pressure has made women characterize beauty as a negative thing, that’s really sad…

Of course there will be people who won’t be able to afford it, (I find talking about exceptions pointless, it’s a rule of statistics, there will always be exceptions) but the majority will be able to and each and every one of them who are not happy with their looks will want to make use of these technologies. And blaming these people as if they would be doing something wrong or immoral is uncomprehensible. Though I agree that there’s no end to it for obssesive ones, they will never be satisfied.

I believe the point where natural looks started bothering people was when they reached to a point where they could change them rather easily. Now, you have the means to look much better than you normally do (contrary to the past times where only the rich had the chance to doll up) and as a result, modern people might have acquired a new subconscious that might be telling them to try and look better because they have the ability to. Likewise, people tend to tell this to other people too, billboards, magazines, people we see on the street every day… They all give us clues as to what is beautiful and what is ugly. And I’m sorry to inform you but no matter how much you deny it, you are a part of this circle unless you’re designing and sewing your own clothes without any inspiration from the outer world or not wearing any make up or using branches of a tree for accessories. . You are a part of the society that forces its values on you. And you DO play a role in the formation of these values. So, I think, getting off the high horses and stopping reflecting yourselves as a couple of “cool outcasts who has never even bought a lipstick in their lives” would be the honest thing to do.. (not trying to be cocky, I promise)

Anyways, in the future, where this ability to look better will improve drastically, the subconscious feeling will get stronger and maybe won’t even stay in our subconscious anymore and it will be “politically correct” to say it. So, the desire to transform your natural look into what is more aesthetic will happen, gradually.

People are capable of change, sure, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. They are a bit too capable of it actually and they always, constantly look for the better. Giving women the right to vote was a change for better like all the other things you said. And the desire to level up the appearance of the race IS a desire to change to for the better, however you look at it…

I should clarify that I am not promoting the pressure, I absolutely hate people who are rude to unattractive people or who list beauty and beauty only in their standarts on choosing someone (whether it be a significant other or an employee or a friend). That’s incredibly dull, mean and immoral. I am simply saying that wanting to be beautiful as well as other things is not “wrong” or “unhealthy” or “obsessive” where wanting it for the wrong reasons might be.

I mean if I they ever invent a miracle cream that will reverse the wrinkling process in a couple days, I would run out and buy it and I really think you guys would too. And there is nothing-wrong-with-that. Man, they will be able to code the “don’t get old” message on the cells and stop aging in the future. I really would like to see you reject that :)

Carol, I am really surprised that you didn’t get my meaning when I said “we don’t have to worry about survival issues”. There will always be the poor, you don’t have to point that out to me. I didn’t think the world was a magical place with smiling and singing people in it until you told me about what’s really going on. I simply meant that finding shelter & food and civil rights & safety are not the number one issues many countries have to deal with anymore (majority is what I take my statements on the basis of and in the future the not-so-well-doing countries too will gradually reach to a certain prosperity.) And I’m sure you can appreciate the fact that rich people are not the only ones who make money to the cosmetic industry. The avarage person buys cosmetics and has plastic surgery (I have 2 girls in my 20-people-class who’s had nose jobs -twice). I’m just saying that the status quo on aesthetics and cosmetics will develop, and reach a point where these kinda things will happen. You can go on denying it. I am just being realistic and I consider it as an improvement for humanity, looking at the big picture.

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