Thursday, January 05, 2006

Madonna looks in the wrong place


It’s incredibly reassuring to know that all over the world, scientists are grappling with the pressing issues of our times, peace, famine, disease and how fabric types can affect the perception of bottom size. Yes folks, female volunteers will try on hundreds of types of clothing and have their bums photographed in a study by Dr Lisa Macintyre of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. They will then look at the photographs and answer the age old question “Does my bum look big in this?”

It’s all in the interests of finding out which fabrics and patterns are most flattering to the posterior because “enhancing body perception can improve confidence and self-esteem”.

It’s not going to help, everyone knows that drawstring waists, bum pockets and checks make your bum look huge, but spend five minutes on the beach and you’ll see that nobody pays attention to any of that. Despite their better judgement, people still wear track suit pants, stiff fabrics and those lycra tights you can see the cellulite right through. Levi’s are now putting lycra in their jeans, is nothing sacred. All you have is the illusion that the wobbly bits are being pulled in, whereas they are merely being outlined.

Everyone knows these things, but still they do it and why, because we all think we’re much more fucking special than we really are. According to this study on Self-Assessment (PDF) Blissfully Incompetent, by Wendy Williams of Cornell University, we all think we’re fabulous whereas most of us are barely average. Apparently we’re wildly off base when it comes to judging our skill, knowledge, expertise, talent, personality and moral character and this has serious consequences for the millions of decisions we make every day. We’re over optimistic about our health, reckless with our physical safety and over-confident about our hotness factor, to whit Internet dating sites where nobody will ever claim to be less than “above average” in attractiveness. The world is “rife with people whose flawed self-assessments create a burden shouldered by everyone except, seemingly, themselves”.

In other words, self-esteem in a pair of pants is not the answer, we’re so blinded by our own magnificence, we just don’t notice that those pink stripes make our bum look HUGE.

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