Everybody Wants My Body; A New Magazine Feeds Our Unhealthy Obsession with the Skinny Figures of the Famous. and Geri Halliwell's to Blame

Article excerpt

Byline: LAURA CRAIK

JENNIFER Aniston was so anxious about keeping her claws in Brad before the run-up to the wedding that she'd go to the gym three days a week. And I mean three days a week - from 9am till 5pm."

"Everybody thinks Geri Halliwell s body has changed because of yoga. But actually she's just bulimic. My mate knows a mate who knows her publicist.

Once she'd given birth to Rocco, Madonna got her body back by only eating popcorn. It takes as many calories to chew as it does to eat."

Before the stars in question reach for their libel lawyers, we should point out that none of these stories is true. They're harmless urban myths that my colleagues and I exchanged only this morning as we flicked through the pages of OK! trying to console ourselves that, yes, the stars may be thin but they are also obsessive-compulsive control freaks whose lives are ruled by food.

Fascinating as these little titbits of gossip are (for all of two minutes), nobody takes them seriously.

Except for a bunch of people sitting in a boardroom at publishing group Emap. It has decided that there's a whole new niche market out there whose needs aren't yet met by any of the celeb-obsessed magazines on the market today. Wanna know which part of her body Jennifer Lopez hates the most? Wanna know what's in Dannii Minogue's makeup bag? Or exactly how Jennifer Aniston got those buns of steel? Then you'd better grab a copy of Celebrity Bodies.

In case you are in any doubt about the content of Celebrity Bodies ("You Can Get One Too!"), clarification is provided by a strapline which runs: "Get Courteney Cox's Arms, Liz Hurley's Stomach, Posh's Legs ..." If you're still not convinced about parting with your precious [pound]1.65, there is also an exclusive feature titled: "Donna Air - My Ideal Figure Is Natalie Appleton's". So now you know.

Much as I would adore to dismiss this new publication as a load of turgid drivel which won't sell, I'm afraid I can't. Much as I'd like to write a feminist polemic about how magazines like this are setting the women's movement back a hundred years, I'm afraid I won't. Why? Because women will like it and women will buy it. Women will read the article "Swap your Stomach for Geri's" because women want Geri's stomach. And if women want Geri's stomach, and there's a magazine telling them how to get it, then who am I to carp? Hell, I want Geri's stomach too. Can't be arsed with the yoga or the macrobiotic diet, though.

Might just buy a Slendertone machine, plug it into the mains and sit watching EastEnders as those patented pads get to work on my abs. Fab. Wonder if you can eat at the same time?

SOME might say that in a celeb-obsessed culture such as Britain's, Celebrity Bodies was a niche magazine accident just waiting to happen (next month: Celebrity Eyebrows!), but I'm afraid I can't blame the people at Emap entirely. No: I place the blame fairly and squarely on the buffed, toned shoulders of Geri Halliwell. …