Yesterday, I had the great honour of being nominated as a candidate for Marie Claire magazine's next Cover Girl. I was thrilled, and my delight wasn't in the least bit compromised by the fact that the nomination came from myself.
Many of you will be aware of the controversy surrounding Marie Claire's current cover girl, ex-Miss Universe Jennifer Hawkins. Ms Hawkins' naked body, untouched by photoshop, supposedly represented a more realistic and positive body image for women everywhere.
Well, Jen is gorgeous and I'm happy to feast my eyes on her. Still, Blind Freddy can see that this supermodel represents realistic womanhood about as accurately as a mooseburger represents a vegan stir fry.
I, on the other hand, am utterly realistic, if for no other reason than I have never won a Miss Universe contest (though, to be fair, I have never actually entered one, and it's entirely possible I would win if I did, given freakishly weak competition, poor lighting, and an inebriated judging panel).
Most importantly, though, I will certainly promote positive body image for anyone who lays eyes on my naked form. There's the caesar scar. The floppy tummy. The floppy boobs. The varicose veins. The chicken pox scars from when I couldn't resist the urge to see what happens when the scab comes off (and for those who don't know, it's way cool. Definitely worth permanent disfiguration).
Then there's my head. The sticky-out left ear. The un-botoxed wrinkles. The occasional pimple (which seems totally unfair - I mean, pimples and wrinkles at the same time?). And then, as the final showpiece, the Bum Finger - the digit torn off in an accident only to end up reattached and looking just like a bottom. Any woman with a normal body - no, any woman with a normal hand - will just love herself in comparison.
So yes, put me on the cover of Marie Claire and women will look at me and feel better about themselves. Momentarily. But then they'll go out and see someone young and beautiful and perfectly formed, and feel crap again. Or they'll turn on the TV and see a large, fairly ordinary looking Australian celebrity chef and feel even better. Or they'll turn on the TV and see a largish but sexy-as-hell British celebrity chef and want to stick their heads in the oven.
You see, the reality, my beautiful friends, is that there will always be people more and less attractive than you, just as there will always be people fatter and thinner, richer and poorer, and more and less intelligent. No-one - not any of these women, and not any magazine - can make you feel unworthy about your appearance except for yourself. I accept myself - with my Sticky-Out Ear, Bum Finger, scars and flop - and you - with all your overweight, flab, imperfections and unique beauty - deserve to accept yourself too.
So thank you all for your support in my campaign. It's actually not so important whether I make it onto the cover or not. But if I can encourage any of you to allow yourselves to feel comfortable with yourselves for a while, then I know I've achieved my goal.