There’s quite an exciting tease on the latest Vogue cover. Under Alexa Chung’s lovely face, opposite the big sexy number hit, the bottom right cover line promises that Vogue is going to tackle “The last taboo”. What could the last taboo in Vogue-land be? Maybe it’s being a size 12. Maybe it’s pedophilia. Maybe it’s acknowledging the existence of poverty (or at least, women who feel a bit sick at the idea of paying over 100 quid on a shirt).
Obviously, it’s not any of those things. Those things are worse than taboo – they’d be the undoing of Vogue’s special kingdom held together by dreams, where skinny teenage girls wear clothes you can only afford with an income that would serve half-a-dozen modest families. Anyway, I can’t wait around guessing any longer. Tell me, Vogue: what is the last taboo?
It’s poo. Poo, poo, poo, poo, poo, poo, poo (thank-you for chucking it all over the page, art editors). And because it’s so unspeakable, Christa D’Souza has written three astonishing pages on the subject. It’s a bit like the editorial team has had a momentary lapse of self-censorship and forgotten that an obsession with elimination is a symptom of eating disorders. (“Oh no, you’ve caught me being bulimic in the features section!”)
“So why, then, if it is such an integral, pleasurable part of our lives, are so many of us hung up about it?” wonders Christa, who then undertakes an odyssey of self-discovery in the lower bowel – which involves going to a Harley Street doctor who puts a balloon up her bottom and watches her excrete it, in order to assess her technique.
Because – and maybe you weren’t aware of this, what with this being the Last Taboo – there is a U and a non-U way to defecate. Yes there is. The fashionable shitter needs to consider “the shape and the colour” of her emissions. You see, without Vogue, you’d never understand all the very subtle ways in which your bodily functions can be shameful. And now you can go straining after the perfect movement. That, my stylish friends, is what aspiration is all about.
Text © Sarah Ditum, 2010