Friday, April 24, 2009

Miss Universe Australia and the Supergran

It seems that this week, Miss Universe controversy abounds. The story today is that one of the 32 finalists of the Miss Universe Australia beauty pageant has been labelled by disturbed onlookers and the media as having an eating disorder. The model in question Stephanie Naumoska is 180cm tall and weighs only 49kg, which gives her a BMI of 15.1. She is of Macedonian heritage and the organiser of the pageant have cited this as simply being her body type. Fellow contests have rallied in her defense and she has spoken out herself stating that she eats well and is happy with her body the way it is. Well, probably not any more.

One the one hand it is frightening to see her pass through to the final, thereby being someone's definition of beautiful, on the other hand I remembered about a few people I went to school with. All were very skinny and one of confessed to being unhappy with her body because of being consistely told she looked anorexic and helpfully advised to eat more. I knew her well enough to know that she did not have an eating disorder. Could it be that this is the case for this woman? I doubt we will ever know the truth.

In any case, although this skinny might not be very common, is it necessary to criticise everyone for their size? Those carrying extra weight are criticised, those deemed to be carrying too little weight are, women with curves are labelled as 'real women' which perhaps leaves those without thinking they aren't ok either. Crazy would be a mild term to describe the extremities that are evident in our society regarding body image. On the one hand we have a media that pushes unaturally skinny, while the average person is overweight. We have children as young as five who are showing signs of eating disorders and most women dislike their bodies. Would it be fair to say that we are sending the wrong message to almost every woman?

And now to a woman who I do aspire to - Bette Calman the yoga 'supergran'. She is an 83 year old yoga teacher who proves that you are never too old. It is inspiring to see that old age doesn't have to bring frailty. Her pictures are really amazing. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to my yoga mat.


  1. Better Calman sounds amazing.

    It's really horrible how no matter how we look, we'll always be criticized. I guess that's why it's so important to accept and love ourselves for who we are.


  2. It is interesting that she got so far through the process so obviously her thinness is considered beautiful/acceptable by the judges. Perhaps a number should not be assigned to entry requirments but a Doctor's certification that the contestant is healthy?

  3. Sagan - Bette is definitely someone to aspire to!

    Sue - I agree and I was trying to think of a solution because a single number just doesn't seem right. I think you are spot on about the doctor's certification.



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