When I was wee, I was best friends with the girls who were handy. Neighborhood kids, playgroup participants, and the like. In grade school, I gravitated toward girls who were brainy like me. Since book smarts were considered to be at odds with potential popularity, and since I had more going in the Brains Department than the Social Graces Department, I sought out equally bookish girlfriends. High school was pretty much the same as grade school, but in college, I ran with girls who shared classes, activities, or interests with me. And after college I befriended women who worked with me. Longstanding friendships from school and activities sometimes lingered, but new friends were drawn almost exclusively from my coworker pool. Keep reading »
Writing about body love and acceptance? That’s my jam. Teaching women to embrace their supposed “flaws,” accept that physical beauty comes in infinite forms, and learn to love their own bodies just as they are? My life’s quest. So it is with great trepidation that I reveal the following: I really dislike being naked. I mean, if there’s gonna be a roll in the hay, that’s one thing, but hanging out in the locker room? Sleeping? Just about anywhere except the bathtub? I’d rather have a bare minimum of knickers and a bra. Keep reading »
When I think of locales that are likely to offer me an onslaught of body-related judgment, I think of the beach, the bar, and the gym. I mean, body judgment is incredibly pervasive, but all three of those places are renowned breeding grounds for intense figure scrutiny, comparisons, and body-snarking. Recently, I discovered that my doctor’s office should be added to the list. Doctors are supposed to support and encourage us as we attempt to balance healthy lifestyle decisions with actual life events and pressures. But our country’s current obsession with obesity as the big, bad, magically all-encompassing factor in good health means that doctors feel perfectly comfortable judging patients based on weight alone. As someone who sits right on the BMI border of normal-overweight, I can tell you that when I cross over, I get lectured. Even if my crossover is a mere pound. No fooling.
It irks me to feel evaluated based on my body’s shape and size at the beach, the bar, and the gym. But it infuriates me to feel evaluated based on my body’s shape and size at the doctor’s office because I’m being evaluated by someone who actually knows more about my body and its overall health than the average casual observer. And I started to wonder if there are ANY places and situations that feel completely free of body judgment. Keep reading »
Most conspiracy theories make me giggle. I’m a pretty open-minded gal, but the notion that the moon landing was faked strikes me as downright bizarre. However, I do believe that most major cosmetics and personal care products companies actively conspire against women. These corporations strive to manufacture discontent among women to convince them to buy new products, more products, complex systems of products to combat our apparent flaws. In many cases, the conspiracy goes even deeper, getting women hooked on certain cosmetics or procedures as mere gateways, eventually revealing that more costly versions will yield even better results. It’s a system that not only convinces women we’re undeniably imperfect, but also snows us into believing that our “imperfections” can be cured with products. And, of course, bales of money. Keep reading »
I ran with a pretty tame crowd as a high schooler. We considered it a wild night if we’d wrapped a musical theater production and all piled into someone’s basement to watch the entire Star Wars trilogy on VHS and surreptitiously make out with each other. I liked it that way, and never sought out anything more raucous, so the first time anyone actually offered me a drink was in college. And when I say, “offered,” I mean, “forced me to consume through endless, irritating cajoling.” My housemates heard that I’d never been drunk and insisted that we do a shot together. It was some vile concoction called Black Haus, and knocking it back nearly made me gag. They pushed for another shot, but I stood my ground. I loved them, but I wasn’t going to guzzle a substance that tasted like blackberry-flavored cough syrup to prove it. Keep reading »
I started watching what I ate around third grade. A boy in my class had made a crack about my weight — an aspect of my physical self I’d never even pondered before — and, suddenly, I was self-conscious about and uneasy in my body. I didn’t dive into actual, formal diets until much later, but third grade marked the beginning of my weight obsession. An obsession that lasted beyond my college years. I won’t bore you with the details because honestly? They’re textbook self-loathing and body dysmorphia. My story could be anyone’s. Keep reading »