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Bridget Jones - Contemporary Cultural Icon?

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Introduction

Amy Nickell Bridget Jones - Contemporary Cultural Icon? 'Charlottes weight battle', "Stars say 'Stuff The Diet!'", 'Lindsay's Weight Plunges'. Those are the three headlines from 3 consecutive issues of Heat magazine. As I flick through the most recent I am met by yet more headlines. I am greeted in the first two pages with images of a rather ordinary looking Brad Pitt and headlines claiming how the 'worlds sexiest man has gone from hunky to haggard'. As I delve into the heart of the magazine - I come across photos taken of Charlotte Church from a recent holiday in which she is wearing a bikini. The magazine praises her for not caring and putting comfort first. This is the same magazine which in an issue from the month prior had run a front page hitting story concerning' Charlottes Weight Battle' and the constant 'fight to keep her contours under control. Surely this would pressure any woman to think twice about their eating habits? The influence of the media on women's perceptions of idealism and beauty cannot be refuted. We as a society are constantly bombarded with images and messages that to be happy and successful we must be thin. ...read more.

Middle

Here was a character who had faults, showed her flaws and was vulnerable. She was believable, a real woman. She epitomised the change that was happening at the time. The change from the 'Margaret Thatcher' 1980's. Women were pressured to be concrete successful females with strong opinions and views. By the 90's women were tired and Bridget came along as a breath of fresh air and relief to women. They gained confidence and realised their was no need to pretend. Helen Fielding realised this and was reported as saying 'So many women nowadays have ideas in there subconscious that they are meant to be perfect, thin. Look as though they've been airbrushed - so it's kind of comforting to see Bridget - a disaster - but still likeable!' Everyone could find something in Bridget that they had in themselves. She was a reflection of the 'real woman'. Women could identify in Bridget's lack of perfection - she took the pressure off and proved that imperfect was acceptable, and in fact - often society prefers average. Bridget isn't a threat - most fictional characters often have extraordinary qualitities. ...read more.

Conclusion

Surely such extremes are ridiculous considering how much she 'loved her new figure'. By going to such extremes Zellweger was criticizing what her character stood for and in effect demolishing any respect she once had for the character. The extremes of her weight loss also put a match to rumours of eating disorders and crash dieting. This sent out the message once again that 'fat was bad'. So does this prove society is truly weight obsessed? In a culture where a reported 81% of 10year olds fear being overweight. A world where fad diets fill the pages of the endless array of brainless 'celebrity' magazines, in a society where Dr Atkins is not only a household name but for many, a lifestyle -is it really a surprise that 3/4 of women believe they are over weight when in reality only 1/4 are? If the media continues to hamper upon our societies quest for the body ideal then I see a bleak future. Eating is becoming more of a guilt trip than a practicality or one of lifes pleasures. We need a true Bridget Jones role model to fill the pages of our magazines - a reachable target - realism. Realism over idealism. ...read more.

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