This Flare magazine cover is actually a couple years old, but a GIF showing the unretouched photo of Jennifer Lawrence getting shrunk down into the final cover image is currently making the rounds. Stuff like this depresses me so much. The section of her torso they shaved down in Photoshop? Those are ribs. They’re kind of important. Lawrence has jokingly expressed her love of Photoshop in the past, but in recent interviews she’s been pretty vocal about the need for more realistic bodies on screen. While discussing the decision to portray Katniss as physically strong instead of starving, Lawrence told the BBC, “I just kept saying, ‘We have the ability to control this image that young girls are going to be seeing. Girls see enough of this body that we can’t imitate, that we’ll never be able to obtain, these unrealistic expectations, and this is gonna be their hero, and we have control over that.’” Fashion magazines, it’s time to take note. [Daily Mail]
Three or so days in, I’ve listened to Beyonce’s new, self-titled record straight through at least a dozen times. I say with all seriousness that I believe it is her masterpiece, one of those increasingly rare albums in which every track is essential to the overall story. While I have my favorites, there is not one track I have the desire to skip. The album and its 17 accompanying music videos tell a story about womanhood, but specifically Black womanhood, that is powerful, compelling and beautiful. At times, the songs are clearly autobiographical, but they also speak to themes that are relatable to many women — sexuality, self-expression, motherhood, love, heartbreak, power, and self-worth. The latter theme is especially felt in the album’s opening number, “Pretty Hurts,” which has Bey singing about the damaging effects of rigid beauty standards and body policing. The video for “Pretty Hurts” features Beyonce as a pageant contestant (from the Third Ward, the area in Houston where she grew up) who endures judgmental looks and objectifying weight and measurement assessments as she sings, “But you can’t fix what you can’t see/ It’s the soul that needs the surgery.”
The song sends a powerful message about the pressure we put on girls to look a certain way; the video depicts just one way that pressure is experienced by girls specifically in the pageant circuit. But according to Amanda Hess over at Slate, the video’s pageant theme is “based on an incredibly outdated vision of how we reinforce unattainable physical norms for girls.” According to Hess, “today’s beauty myth is constructed through collections of highly curated ‘candid’ selfies beamed straight from the stars themselves, and Beyoncé is its queen.” In other words, it’s not just the video that Hess has a problem with — it’s Beyonce delivering that message at all because, in her opinion, Beyonce is part of the problem. What Hess gets wrong is … well, everything. Keep reading »
When The Hairpin published a Guide To Eating Very Particular Feelings, we laughed, but it was a slightly bitter laugh, a nervous “Oh my God this is my life” chuckle. For those of us who eat our feelings or struggle with body image issues (so sadly, many of us), the holidays are especially treacherous times for emotional eating and body insecurity. This time of year can easily become a battle of wills: your self-restraint vs. that bag of Milanos. Your self-love vs. the panic you feel about seeing a higher number on the scale. Your self-esteem vs. the overwhelming pressure to start a restrictive New Years’ diet. There are plenty of articles out there about how to avoid overeating at holiday buffets and how to not let your mom’s passive aggressive comments spark a peppermint fudge binge, but we thought it was time to for a new set of holiday food and body rules: specifically, kinder, gentler, more realistic rules. Let’s stop over-complicating things and beating ourselves up for enjoying a slice of pie, OK? Here are 10 easy-to-follow commandments to help you make peace with your body during a season that’s all about eating… Keep reading »
Art student Anna Hill, 24, has been using Photoshop for over a decade and knows exactly how much magazine images are digitally altered to achieve that “better than perfect” look. To illustrate this disturbing fact of modern day media, she turned her Photoshop skills on her own self portraits to create a series of mock ads for Photoshop beauty products, like the “all-in-one beauty kit” above that promises everything from perfect skin to a nose job — instantly! The ads are sharp satire, but the craziest part is how the exercise affected Hill’s own self-image. “One thing I noticed when I was doing these was that when I suddenly went back to the unedited [photo of myself], it looked so wrong and kinda gross,” she said. “It made me extra aware of how skewed my perception was after looking at the edited ones for a while.” Who hasn’t felt a similar sense of shame and “wrongness” after flipping through a fashion magazine and then taking a look in the mirror?
Check out a couple more of Hill’s imaginary ads, including a limb-lengthening serum and a pore-disappearing treatment (“For that android look you’ll never achieve in real life”), after the jump! Keep reading »
I think everyone who writes about body image has a blind spot or a subject that makes them feel a bit hypocritical. After all, most of us haven’t gotten the whole “Love your body exactly as it is 100 percent of the time no matter what” thing down yet, and although we might have a great understanding of all the concepts, and can easily explain them to others, we haven’t quite internalized them for ourselves. Keep reading »
It gives me great pleasure to inform you that I HAVE A DATE THIS WEEKEND.
I was so busy complaining about being stuck in the single slog, that I failed to mention I’ve been casually chatting with a nice gentleman on OKCupid. I try not to get my hopes up these days, and wasn’t even sure our conversation was going to go anywhere, but one thing led to another and bam — we’re meeting on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Despite my I Give Up On This Shit attitude about online dating, I saw a message come through my inbox a few weeks back that wasn’t the usual “Damn baby, you lookin’ good,” or “Sup girl?” So I took a peek.
“The first thing I noticed was your smile,” he wrote. “A beautiful one like yours stands out from the crowd. Now what kinds of horror stories have you heard by opening yourself up to that question?”
He was responding to the part of my profile where I opted to ask guys what they first noticed about me, rather than answering the question myself. Not only was his compliment well received, but his counter question suggested he actually read my profile. He made it past the pictures and the desire to message me something stupid just because I have boobs. He was interested in me. Refreshing. Keep reading »
I love Thanksgiving – and I can’t wait to fly back to the Midwest this week to celebrate with relatives – but I have somewhat of a turbulent history with the holiday. My parents’ divorce has made me less than eager to head home and face splintered celebrations spread over three different households. One thing I’ve always loved about it, however, is the food. When I was more of an emotional eater, this played out for the worst, as I couldn’t imagine anything more comforting than a table overflowing with turkey, stuffing and pie. These days, I’m eating my feelings a lot less, but I still love to eat – and I wish that fact didn’t come with judgment or worry. This creates a complex dilemma on Thanksgiving: how do you let your body image issues go on a holiday that’s all about food? Keep reading »
The gorgeous, ebullient, and crazy-talented Amber Riley won “Dancing With The Stars” last night with her partner Derek Hough. Anyone who watched Amber’s energetic performances knows her win was well deserved, but I especially loved what she had to say to all her female fans who rooted for her this season: Keep reading »
“Though I NEVER care what the tabloids have to say about me… I wanted to address this certain story they are running this week and set the record straight. I DID NOT have surgery to lose weight. That is ridiculous. I lost my weight the healthy and good old fashioned way. Watching what I eat and working out with my trainer Bill Crutchfield. As for the assumed number of pounds lost…? I don’t even know! Like I have always said, it’s not about a scale, it’s about how you feel and how your jeans fit. And on November 10th when I turned 30, my skinny jeans were finally baggy! Mission accomplished! So for anyone who is tempted to read the “Trash Talk” please don’t. I am proud to be a normal size girl and I want to encourage everyone to be confident at any size.”
–Miranda Lambert served up some weight loss real talk on her Facebook page yesterday in response to tabloid rumors that she got gastric bypass surgery (!) to slim down. This right here is why Miranda will always be one of my favorite country stars: she’s honest and sassy and down-to-earth. Also, if you’re not following her Facebook page, I highly recommend it. In between anti-tabloid screeds like this, she posts dorky jokes and pictures of stray dogs she rescues in Oklahoma. Love. Her. [Facebook]