YOU’VE got to love Lewis Capaldi. All of him.
As he handed Lorraine Kelly a copy of his new single, Forget Me, this week, he quipped: “Here’s 7in of me.”
He’s funny, self-deprecating and has a voice that belies his young, innocent face.
He also plastered himself on billboards, to promote said single, while wearing only a pair of budgie-smugglers — displaying his somewhat out-of-shape body and joking on Twitter that he was “traumatising the general public”.
I have to confess, his images reminded me of the inequality in how we respond to the physical appearance of men and women, which I rile against.
Despite Lewis being acutely aware that his body isn’t what the world expects, I do think we are, in general, much more willing to approve of larger men than we are of larger women.
Granted, over the last few years, society has been better at acknowledging women of different shapes and forms.
But remember the whole marketing and advertising malarkey which made women think that a ridiculous size zero should be our ambition, our goal?
Not to mention all the weight-loss marketing which has predominantly been targeted at women.
Now, we’ve gone several steps further and actively rejoice in women who don’t conform to tiny sizes and those who are willing to show off their plentiful curves.
Many go as far as claiming it is “empowering”. And I’m thrilled.
Women have been programmed to criticise their own bodies because we should have the shape that society, and in particular men, want.
And “fat” ain’t where it’s at.
I have to actively stop myself from calling bits of myself “fat” whenever I see something wobble because, fundamentally, I know that it isn’t.
I’m quite a skinny-minnie. But it has been so ingrained in me to constantly assess my shape that unlearning all that BS takes time. And I know.
I wrote several weeks ago about how we really need to stop referring to women according to their body shapes because it keeps the narrative going that this is all we see when we look at a woman.
I don’t think people mind Capaldi being a bit weightier.
They definitely see beyond his body because he’s a bloke with a remarkable voice.
And it could just be that his mickey-taking of his body goes against his very real self-consciousness about it.
I think we may have overlooked men’s negative feelings about their bodies because judgment of women has historically always been so much harsher.
Capaldi posing in his underwear is doing the classic thing of making a feature of his shape because he presumably knows that’s all people are thinking about — his body.
He knows that’s people’s first impression of him.
I admire the fact he is knowingly sticking two fingers up at everyone.
He has accepted his body — he owns it and it’s up to the rest of us whether we accept it or not.
I respect his affirmation of his body and respect that he is simultaneously reminding us that men, too, feel judged for their bodies.
For me, it’s about the health of the person. If you’re a bit bigger than societal expectations and you’re happy, I’m happy for you.
I’ve always strongly believed that, ultimately, it’s about the quality of the person and not about the quantity.
We can’t pretend we still don’t have a problem with “fat” — the word itself is loaded.
But if we’re going to criticise one gender for being large, then the same rules should apply to the other.
In the meantime, obvs, I shall enjoy every extra inch of Capaldi.
For as long as he lets me.
Er, Gigi’s 27, Leo – will you be all right?
WELL, blow me over with a feather. Could there be a break in Leonardo di Caprio’s tradition of ensuring all his girlfriends are under 25?
So much so that he actively terminates any union once they move beyond this age.
In fact, only recently he broke up with Camila Morrone, 25, right around the time she hit the landmark age.
The man is 47 and he does like the younger woman.
But rumours is that he may have “connected” with supermodel Gigi Hadid and she’s positively over the hill at 27 when compared to all those who have gone before.
Leo’s had plenty of other famous and not famous girlfriends, aged 18, 20, 21, 22 and 24.
I’m worried how he would cope with a woman of 27 because it feels like his rule of thumb is that, once women hit 25, they’re effectively dead.
But let’s face it, as he gets older, the age gap will get more and more pronounced and become more and more awkward.
Of course, we do have different rules for older men dating younger women. We think it’s cool and it shows he’s “still got it”.
But when an older woman takes a liking to a young buck, it looks sad, desperate and a bit . . . yuck.
It’d be nice if Leo would just like to try a woman over 25, or even over 27, in order to reassure himself and the rest of the world that women don’t all expire at 30.
We’re actually quite funny, experienced and interesting.
But then again, perhaps that is not what our Leo is really looking for.
Luvvie Jessie’s a Royal pain
THE grief I’ve been feeling since the loss of our late Queen was momentarily eclipsed when I had to hear Jesse Armstrong, the creator of TV show Succession, stick his luvvie oar in while accepting an Emmy this week.
In a very blatant dig at the fact our new King has not been democratically elected, he said there was “evidently a little bit more voting in our winning”.
I’m pretty sure, though, that, if the nation voted, they would by a large majority all hail the King.
I’ve grown increasingly bored and frustrated with stars and creatives making their political thoughts and beliefs known at showbiz gatherings and award ceremonies.
And using these events for campaigning and drawing attention to causes.
For a start, this was an evening of entertainment.
It wasn’t, to my knowledge, a political debate or discussion.
I don’t much care for your opinion on the monarchy, Mr Armstrong.
If I did, I’d ask for it.
A woman, grandmother and great-grandmother has just passed away. Many people are mourning.
For some it may just be a tinge of sadness but for others it is a great loss.
There is a time and a place for protests and statement-making – a time for objection and for having your opinion aired.
This wasn’t it.
This is getting me excited
I HAVE only managed to sneak a brief preview but am SO excited to get stuck into new show Minx, on Paramount+.
It’s set in 1970s Los Angeles and features a somewhat serious and earnest young feminist Joyce (Ophelia Lovibond) who decides she wants to level the playing field between the sexes by creating the first erotic magazine for, by and about WOMEN.
I love the idea already! It looks funny, witty and provocative.
Also featuring Jake Johson, this show is of its time but also very timely, as such a huge proportion of the male population is so heavily invested in, and addicted, to watching porn.
There are so many reasons why porn is damaging to men (because, among other things, it gives them wholly unrealistic expectations of sex; objectifies women; sexualises them at a young age . . . I could go on).
So, while in the real world it’s not necessarily helpful to create erotic or pornographic content just for women – you gotta get behind it! Not literally . . .
For too long, it’s all been about satisfying men’s needs.
Well, I hope Minx will be a lot of fun in these dark times and will help me imagine what it might be like if we could redress the balance.
Of course, I might be imagining a whole lot of other things while I’m watching, too . . .
Forget “Netflix and Chill”.
It’s gonna be Minx and Chill at my gaff.
Buble knows mums’ battle
MICHAEL BUBLE said in a recent interview that he would have been a much bigger star if he hadn’t had children – because “you can’t do both successfully”.
Buble has four young children and a loyal wife, Luisana.
With 75 million records sold worldwide, four Grammys and countless other awards, how much more successful do you want to be, Michael?
But joking aside, what he is saying is what women have been forced to debate since the beginning of time.
Or, at least, since we began to elbow our way into the workplace.
Careers for us were, historically, as rare as hens’ teeth.
It was always assumed we would stay at home and care for the children.
It is only in the past few decades that for those who have yearned for something other than nappy changes and playgroups, and have been marching out to work, the whole “juggling home and work” debate has got louder and louder.
‘Just a mum’
And this is still something we grapple with to this day.
Women are constantly evaluating whether it’s possible to “have it all”.
For what it’s worth, I don’t think it necessarily is.
I’ve struggled hard trying to find a balance between my career and creating a home life that isn’t compromised by my desire and my ambition to be more than “just” a mum.
Many women are happy staying at home and I wholly respect that.
Others are driven by their career alone.
I’m pretty sure I’d have had greater success if I hadn’t insisted on having four kids and then complicating life by doing so with four different men.
I have no regrets. Nothing in life is perfect.
But it was nice to hear a man acknowledging and expressing that having it all is not possible.
The battle and exasperation of trying to be everything to everyone is very real. So, thank you, Michael.