“I’m constantly telling girls all the time everything is airbrushed, everything is retouched to the point it’s not even asked. None of us look like that. … It’s a form of violence in the way that we look at women and the way we expect them to look and be for what sake? Not for health, survival, not for enjoyment of life, but just so you could look pretty.”
—Rosario Dawson talks body image and airbrushing in Shape magazine. She also said that she lost a lot of weight to play Mimi in “Rent” because her character was supposed to be a dope addict with AIDS. But instead of telling her she looked sick, the actress said she got tons of compliments. “I remember everyone asking what did you do to get so thin? You looked great,” she said. “I looked emaciated.” Oh, Rosario, I love you so. [CNN] Keep reading »
Two and a half years ago, an email landed in my inbox with the subject line, “Cover story?” At the time, I was a freelance journalist and those two words made me drool like none other. But as I read the email, my face sunk—Good Housekeeping wanted me to write a feature where I’d interview five woman who’d lost 100 pounds each. Normally, I would have rolled my eyes—I fancied myself a “serious journalist” and stayed away from weight loss stories at all costs. But this was the beginning of the recession and I needed money. I felt pained as I wrote back and begrudgingly accepted the assignment.
I felt defeated for the next few days as I tracked down women to interview. Really, was this the state my career was in? Weren’t there more important stories I could be working on? I thought.
My first interview was with a woman named Janice, a stay-at-home mom who’d lost 75 pounds doing Weight Watchers and had gone on to become a counselor herself. We spent more than an hour on the phone as I asked her a zillion questions about how she’d gained the weight, how she’d changed her eating habits, and how life was different as a thin person. Near the end of our conversation, she asked me a simple question:
“How do you feel about your body?”
It landed like a slap against my jaw. Keep reading »
This weekend, I had a bookcase to assemble. So I turned on the television hoping to find something fun and mindless to watch while I tried to decipher Ikea assembly instructions. I am normally very anti-wedding shows—I don’t like how they play into the fairytale of weddings
and put all the focus on spending an extravagant amount on one day rather than on working hard to make a relationship work every day. But for some reason, I decided the thing to watch was a marathon of “Say Yes To The Dress: Big Bliss.” And I would now like to declare this my new favorite guilty pleasure show.
The series follows the wedding dress consultants of Kleinfeld’s boutique, which has one of the largest collections of plus-sized wedding dresses out there, as they help brides—sizes 16 through 30—find the perfect wedding dress. So why am I so obsessed with this show? Keep reading »
Five years ago I had an “ideal” body.
I don’t mean to say that my body was free of imperfections, but rather that I had a body that most women are taught to believe is close to perfect: I was 5” 5’, weighed barely 115 pounds, and wore a size 2. I had a tiny waist, medium-sized breasts, a taut stomach, round bottom, and cellulite that was practically nonexistent. I was extremely slender, yet still somehow carried a feminine hourglass figure. I could never have been a contestant on “America’s Next Top Model,” but for a perfectly normal girl I had a perfectly enviable body.
Flash forward five years. Though I don’t own a scale, I’m probably 20 pounds heavier thanks to a slower metabolism, college drinking and a dire love of cheese. I now wear a size 6, my waist isn’t quite so minuscule, my stomach jiggles, I have cellulite swimming on my thighs, and I have ample junk in my apple-bottom trunk. My breasts have gotten ever-so-slightly bigger, but for every tiny bit that they’ve grown, my ass and thighs grew 10 times that … leaving me much more of a pear than an hourglass. Keep reading »
When legendary sex symbol Bo Derek appeared on Oprah a few months ago, Oprah kept pressing her to tell the world something profound about being a beautiful woman, and Bo kept brushing off the questions, saying, “It’s just about the way the bones line up.” That felt pretty profound to me. In our culture, the standard of beauty is narrow, and every day we face countless reminders of the ways we fall short. When it comes down it, though, our society’s definition of beauty is simple and unromantic: it’s high cheekbones and a button nose and long legs and a small waist and so on and so on. We can only congratulate or punish ourselves so many times for the way our bones line up. Here are 50 vastly different definitions of beauty that I know to be true… Keep reading »
The trailer for “Dark Girls,” a new documentary about black women and their skin tone, had me in tears by the end. “Dark Girls” examines racism and colorism both inside and outside of the black community and the societal devaluing of dark-skinned blacks (cough, Psychology Today, cough) dating back to slavery. I don’t feel as if I, as a white woman, can really do justice to the potential of this film, so I’ll encourage you to read this great post about “Dark Girls” on The Black Snob by blogger Danielle Belton. For us documentary fans, this one is definitely a must-see.
[The Black Snob] Keep reading »
Dang it, Meghan McCain is really making me like her! The conservative up-and-comer visited “The Tonight Show” on Monday and spoke out about vile Glenn Beck, who devoted several minutes of barf noises on his radio show to fat-shaming McCain after she posed in a nude bodysuit for a skin cancer PSA. “No man will ever make me a victim, least of all Glenn Beck!” McCain said, wagging her finger in the air and laughing. You go, girl! Keep reading »
There are feminists in Hollywood after all: the Tumblr blog WellsBones unearthed a letter Vogue published written by a 17-year-old Zooey Deschanel, long before she was famous. Without context, I don’t know what Zooey wrote to Vogue in response to. But to be honest, the question she posed to Vogue — “Why would you want to limit the spectrum of beauty to an ‘ideal’ when you, as a popular women’s magazine, have the opportunity to expand it?” — could apply to any issue of Vogue, really. Zooey tweeted her delight at the letter being dug up: “wrote this letter to vogue when I was 17 & someone found it! proud of my feminist teen self.” Zooey Deschanel: twee princess and angry teenaged letter writer? It’s too good to be true.
[Twitter] Keep reading »
Glenn Beck‘s gone on a juvenile, woman-shaming, fat-hating rant against Meghan McCain and it’s one of the most hurtful, sexist things I’ve ever heard in my life. Meghan appeared with a bunch of female celebs in a PSA about skin cancer, talking about being “naked” by not wearing sunscreen. Both of Meghan’s parents, John and Cindy McCain, have fought skin cancer. Meghan, Brandy, Danielle Fishel, and the other celebs all appear discreetly naked in the PSA, but are actually wearing flesh-colored body suits. It’s a pretty effective PSA and the kind of thing I’d rather see Meghan McCain use whatever influence she might have for rather than, say, taking dopey cheap shots at the president.
Glenn Beck is fat-hating sexist pig, however, and jumped all over Meghan to hate on her body. Glenn’s radio show devoted three-and-a-half minutes yesterday to an eye-rollingly puerile segment in which a bunch of guys fake-barf on air while they talk about Meghan naked. Keep reading »