Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Keeping Up Appearances

Ros Reines is copping it this week. Tweeting as @tabloidterror, Ros is trying to outrun the social media explosion that occurred in the wake of her comments in the Sunday Telegraph about MasterChef celebrity Julie Goodwin (see below) and her controversial swimsuit pic on the cover of New Idea magazine. Ros has been very public about her recent 20kg weight loss, so she should understand the emotional minefield around weight and body image. Regardless, she waded in, even making reference to the health issues related to weight.

Julie wasn’t happy, and in one of the more reasoned and gracious blog posts of this kind, made her point, and in doing so, made her reputation with the folk who don’t give a rat’s patoote about MasterChef. This Julie Goodwin woman has class.

But what about Ros? Clearly she’s feeling the pressure, and not for the first time. Ros has had public stoushes with Brian McFadden and Ruby Rose. But this morning, she tweeted this, to her old friend-then-foe-then-friend-again.

Picture it: a club for those people who’ve been rolled by social media – but that’s another blog. For the record, Vile Kyle stood in for Ros when she was on leave last year, writing her column.

For now, let’s stick to Ros. Ros is a self-proclaimed gossip columnist. She is not a journalist, although she may have had aspirations once. No, Ros dishes the dirt for a living. She spends her working life surrounded by all manner of minor celebrities – soapie stars, reality show victims, footballists with models on their arms, tv chefs, and an assortment of wannabe Kardashians who spend their time sucking up to her, in the hope that if she writes something nice about them, they might find themselves another rung or two up Sydney’s social ladder.

That constant upsucking can lead to an inflated sense of one’s own importance, and a bizarrely off-centre view of the world. The Telegraph describes Ros as “Insider social columnist”. She brings us the gossip from behind the scenes at Fashion Week, from Sydney’s hottest parties, where she ‘chats with celebs’, and trackside, where she advises us on race-day etiquette. There are lunches and launches and cocktail parties and premieres and presumably, the occasional get-together where it’s just friends. Or not – I don’t know.

But life isn’t one a big series of parties and Ros knows that. Being thin is no indicator of health or worth or beauty or courage – and despite not being a doctor, Ros know that too. I sincerely congratulate Ros on her weight loss, but here’s something else I bet Ros knows: 20kg is just 20kg. It hasn’t changed who she is. She even admits that the reason for her weight loss was that two somewhat paunchy male friends commented on her appearance – not her health or her intelligence or her personality. Her appearance.

So it’s not surprising that Ros and her employer are still peddling the same skinny-is-better, beauty-at-all-costs garbage. Just look at the page here from today’s Daily Telegraph Online Diet+Fitness column. You’ll see that there’s not a single item there about fitness or health, but there are five stories about celebrities and their efforts to look good.

In 2012, it’s still about looking “good”, honouring a stereotype, appearances first.
Come on Ros, find something else to write about, something that matters.

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