Pictures are worth thousands of words, they say, but some people use the wrong words for a picture and they end up with the wrong message. Words have an important use, especially when the picture can be misinterpreted.
Such a misinterpretation has cost the Bouches-du-Rhone council in France tens of thousands of euro.
The local governing body produced a booklet to help new mothers track the progress of their newborns. If you're going to be bragging about the wee little ones at the park, you want written proof of your assertions, or you might need a log to keep records of rapidly changing progress. You would feel foolish if you boasted that little Pierre had grown two centimeters since last week when in fact he had stretched out another two and three-quarters centimeters.
You don't want your friends to think you're not paying attention to the bebe's progress, now, would you.
Look at that, they screamed, using some of the thousands of words that the picture replaced. A girl is measuring her waist. A girl is looking at the circumference of her torso and she is near to tears! Mon Dieu! What is the French government trying to do to our daughters but encourage them to develop eating disorders.
The French government is only trying to maintain the French fashion industry, and today's little girls are being asked to step up and do their part. That means a focus on body size, unfortunately, but someone has to do it.
Fashion models are tall and slim, and that fact is well reflected in the cover art for the health brochure. Be tall, be thin, and the celebrities will continue to flock to the ateliers and French seamstresses will continue to find employment.
The feminists just used the wrong words, and the local council pulled the booklet rather than try to explain the hidden message behind the photograph. It's a complicated issue, and it would take far too many words to fully explain the image. And when you are dealing with feminists, they are not huge fans of the fashion industry to begin with, so even an explanation would still result in cries of sexism.
The feminists are not looking at the bigger picture of an industry that employs thousands of people, from those who design the fabric prints to those who grow the cotton or the wool or the spandex. There are shop clerks selling the fashion and they have families to support. The French government just wants to keep the industry alive and thriving with the subliminal message to new mothers.
Don't let your babies grow up to be fat, lumpy Americans or dowdy Irish types. Keep the French look for your infants, or the world as we know it will cease to exist.
Then it will be nothing but Italian designs coming out of Milan, and that would be intolerable.