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March 6, 2016 / thackersam

Dear Cheryl Tiegs

Dear Cheryl Tiegs:

For my 11th birthday, or maybe it was the Christmas less than a month later, my father got me a year’s subscription to Teen Magazine. This, for a girl whose mother frequently reminded her that she was immature because a piano teacher, an amateur piano teacher told her so. But yeah, I guess as a child I was pretty immature. I’ve outgrown it some.

The first issue of the magazine I remember had a very pretty, fresh-faced blond girl, with very long perfectly straight hair and blue eyes. No, it wasn’t you Cheryl but you and the blond girl were pictured throughout the issue, and others, I recall, looking like what we were told the perfect teenage girls should look and behave like. There’d often be all these pictures of you with your perfect little nose and white teeth. And there was me, awkward in my own skin and in my own house, yet to have my first period, whatever that was. Oh wait, I think that’s what the meeting in the school’s auditorium/gym/lunchroom, where all the mothers brought their 6th grade daughters, was all about. We saw a film. My mother and I spoke about it neither before nor after. My mother often told me, and I heard her say it to others, that girls were much harder to raise than boys, so I think she didn’t really bother much. I had some nice clothes though, although some were age inappropriate. But that’s a whole ‘nuther story.

I went through the year with you Cheryl. You were also the face in the Bonne Bell ads. Your skin was flawless. Since it was his idea in the first place, I thought my father would renew the subscription for me. Shouldn’t he have asked me if I wanted to renew? He renewed my brother’s National Geographic every year, after all. But I never asked him to. I was kind of not allowed to ask for things. I got things, however I was not comfortable asking for anything. Oh but that is also a whole ‘nuther story.

I renewed the subscription myself for another year. I wanted my multi-cultural hair to be straight and frizz-free like yours. And as pimples started popping up on my skin, I envied your smooth poreless skin with not a blemish in sight. I looked up to you and the other young models, perfect in your bikinis that were more modest for the times, frolicking on the beach, getting all the attention from the cute guys. You were all so happy and pretty and fun. And you made me feel so much less about myself.

I can’t blame you because my parents were jerks, causing massive insecurities and making me susceptible to bad influences such as yourself, as you are trying to blame the media for making a big deal out of your comments about the meaty model on the cover of the men’s magazine that you yourself graced so many years ago. Now as a thinking adult, I dislike “models” and what they stand for, though I understand the need for a Beverly Johnson, or the “plus-sized models” crossing over from Lane Bryant to more “mainstream” magazines. But “models” are not a healthy influence on women and girls. They are often abnormally tall and abnormally skinny. Particularly in this age of obesity, the chubbier models set a much more realistic goal for all of us. I think if we had more realistic looking “models,” more girls would feel more confident about themselves and we’d have less eating disorders.

While I never had a weight problem until the last few years, and it’s not that serious, it’s only been over the last few years that I’ve begun to realize what an incredible person I am, as I’ve become a more confident, kinder and wiser woman (“I can’t complain, but sometimes I still do” – Joe Walsh Life’s Been Good). And though I don’t want to judge, I feel justified in pointing out that your comments about the unhealthiness of chunky models make you appear to be the melding of two unfortunate female clichés – the dumb model and the bitter old woman.

So, I close with another quote from a song that I have used before. Frank Zappa once asked us “What’s the ugliest part of your body?” The answer – “I think it’s your mind.”

BTW – Regarding last week’s post, if you have not yet seen The Producers parody Trumped performed by Mathew Broderick and Nathan Lane (with the wonderful Cloris Leachman), that was on Jimmy Kimmel’s post Oscar show (please note that my post was PRE-Oscars), you should take a look at https://youtu.be/OemqVWi_R0k. It is not only spot on as a Producers parody, it really explains the absurdity of the situation. Thanks J.

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