In the twelve years that Mayor Bloomberg has presided over New York City, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (srsly, that’s for real, MENTAL HYGIENE) has been responsible for quite a few not always-well-received ad campaigns. The words “controversial” and occasionally “insensitive” come to mind — hello, human fat being poured out of a soda bottle; nice to see you, comically-crying “child of a teen mother.” (There was also that time they took a photo of a healthy two-legged man and Photoshopped him into a diabetes-suffering amputee.)
The department’s latest venture, which takes the form of posters to be found primarily in subways and on street corners, takes a slightly different approach than the usual I’m hungover and even if I weren’t I still didn’t really need to see that on my way to work this morning scare tactics. In fact, the NYC Girls Project is the rare positive stab at successful outreach. The posters, as well as the accompanying city-sponsored fitness programs and #imagirl Twitter campaign, are aimed at young girls aged 7 to 12. As more than 80 percent of 10-year-old girls are “afraid of being fat,” and with “body satisfaction” hitting rock bottom between 12 and 15, the idea behind the campaign is that some of these body image issues can be addressed as early as possible before things start to get rough (which we all know they will anyway, of course). Keep reading »
Remember in middle school when you thought you had “chipmunk cheeks” and hated yourself for it? Well, your face was prime real estate! Celebrities are paying upwards of $1,000 a pop for cherubic contours like yours. According to the UK’s Daily Mail, “baby face” becomes your personal fountain of youth when you start to get older and ladies are clamoring for it left and right. Women with naturally round cheeks have a leg up over thin-faced women when they want to begin attempting to “defy the aging process.” (Except you’re still aging on the inside, hun. Nobody’s defying anything.)
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Just when you thought humanity wasn’t headed down the shitter after all, novelty store It’Sugar thought it would be a fun idea to sell baby clothes with creepy sexual statements emblazoned on the front of them. Phrases like “hung like a preschooler”, “I’m proof my mommy puts out,” and “does this diaper make my butt look big?” stand out, amongst others. Gross. Young people are bombarded with the pressure to be “sexy” before their age even hits double digits these days, but now sexual jokes are starting before the kid can even walk? Not cool. These clothes aren’t just sexual, they’re also flat-out body shaming. Do we really need to be scrutinizing the size of a baby’s butt? I’m pretty positive the company meant for these clothes to be taken as a joke, but that’s how ideology takes root: it starts out as something seemingly innocuous that’s not to be taken seriously, but then all of a sudden it’s totally ingrained into a person’s thoughts and a five-year-old is crying over whether her butt looks big because she’s been wearing clothes with phrases like this on them since before she could talk. Can’t kids just be kids for half a second without having to think about their bodies? If this is a sign of the times, I’m not too excited for whatever nasty ideas people are going to come up with next. [Change.org]
I try to restrain myself from straying too far down the rabbit hole of the vaguely dehumanizing, inherently anti-feminist fuckery that is Victoria’s Secret, but that was before I knew they gave out a “Sexiest Curves” trophy. Sure, if they simply must do it, I’m glad they decided to give it to Shakira, a wildly talented dancer, philanthropist, and MENSA genius who also happens to be beautiful… But why? Where, exactly, does a Victoria’s Secret “Sexiest Curves” award fit into the world? Riddle me that. [Huffington Post]
The sad truth is that body snarking may not ever end. The pressure to look a certain way may just continue to get worse. The eating disorders and thinking disorders that accompany poor body image may keep spiraling out of control. The disconnection and hatred women feel for their bodies may only grow stronger. The dehumanization, objectification, and transmogrification of the female body may continue to flourish. The way we see it, the only way to protect ourselves from this sad truth is to steel ourselves against it. We might not have grown up armed with the right tools to fight the wolf in the cereal bowl or the mean boys on the playground or the airbrushed models in magazines, but we can prepare the next generation of young women to brush these messages off and treat their bodies with kindness and respect.
Below are 10 powerful body affirmations to help young women to stay strong and love their bodies in spite of all the insidious messages to the contrary. Because in crazy, complicated times like these, “Love your body” just doesn’t cut it anymore. Share this list with the young women in your life who might need a dose of body positivity, or use it to remind yourself that all of us, and all of our bodies, deserve better.
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We’ve all got to pay rent somehow. Kristy Love from Atlanta, Georgia, uses her 48NN boobs — but not the way you think. Love is a “busty masseuse” who smothers and massages clients with her large breasts. Keep reading »
It wasn’t long ago that Special K was selling us on the idea that we could “drop a jean size in two weeks” by replacing meals with cereal, shakes and their other food-ish products. In fact, the cereal has long been marketed as a weight loss/weight maintenance plan. This is a brand that once recommended pinching yourself on a regular basis to determine if you should watch your weight. “Can you pinch more than an inch?” Try the Special K breakfast! (Results not typical. May result in bruising.) But now they are singing a different tune. Sort of. Kellogg’s has figured out a new golden formula. Here’s a 5-step breakdown of how it works:
Step 1: Women believe we’re not thin enough, pretty enough, good enough because for decade after decade, advertisers have told us these things in order to sell products as the solution to the insecurities they stoke. Keep reading »
When I was a chubby nine-year-old, I worked up the nerve to ask my crush to “go out” with me. Well, I didn’t ask him. I sent of my friends to do it for me. That’s bravery, fifth grade style. They came back from the monkey bars looking cagey. I was hyperventilating. “Well!?” I asked, hopefully.
“Um … he said no –” my friend said gently. “Because you’re too fat!” the other interjected.
Obviously, I was devastated. But these things happen when you’re a kid. Children say the meanest shit. It’s a fact of life. From that moment on though, I began the long process of trying to never feel fat again. Let me tell you, that’s a losing battle. The feeling fat part, not the being fat.
By the time I was 13, I had shed the baby weight. Puberty and healthier eating habits helped with that. At 34, I would say I still carry around the mental weight. I’m 5′ 6″, 125, fit and healthy, but I have days when I look in the mirror and think I’m fat. It’s not like body dysmorphic disorder where I think I look fat. I know I don’t actually look fat, it’s more of an internal feeling. If I had a bad day, or did something that I perceive as negative, my go-to insult is to call myself FAT. You’re fat. And the crazy thing is that the insult has disassociated itself from weight, and even my physical body. It’s become a state of mind synonymous with negative feelings or poor self-esteem. Fat is bad, even though, intellectually, I know this isn’t a statement of fact. On bad days, I’m in a fat state of mind. Keep reading »
You might have already expected as much, but those before/after picture for the supplements that claim to help you drop 30 pounds in 30 days or give you an overnight six-pack or whatever insane thing they say they’ll do are all a bunch of hogwash. Aussie personal trainer and fitness blogger MelVFitness demonstrated how those pictures are nothing but an optical illusion by doing her own photo transformation in 15 minutes.
“Check out my transformation! It took me 15 minutes. Wanna know my secret? Well firstly I ditched the phonewallet (fwallet) cause that shit is lame, swapped my bather bottoms to black (cause they’re a size bigger & black is slimming), Smothered on some fake tan, clipped in my hair extensions, stood up a bit taller, sucked in my guts, popped my hip — threw in a skinny arm, stood a bit wider #boxgap, pulled my shoulders back and added a bit of a cheeky/Im so proud of my results smile. Zoomed in on the before pic- zoomed out on the after & added a filter. Cause filters make everything awesome. What’s my point? Don’t be deceived by what you see in magazines & on Instagram.. You never see the dozens of other pics they took that weren’t as flattering. Photoshop can make a pig look hotter then Beyonce.”
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Originally appeared on Role/Reboot. Republished here with permission.
I threw away all my underwear today. Scratch that. Today, I threw away all of my underwear that would be classified as “lacy little things,” “thongs,” or, in Victoria’s Secret parlance, “cheekies.” Scratchy, itchy, barely-there? It had to go.
I have never lived alone, but in two weeks I will be moving into my first solo apartment. I will be sans-roommate, single girl-ing all up in this city; I am woman, hear me roar! Among the many horrid chores of moving, there is one beacon of joy: the Great Purge. I am a packrat by nature — note every 5K bib I’ve preserved, the melted plastic cup twisted by a deck fire, the tile from the floor of a hostel in San Juan — but moving is the kick in the butt I need to separate what I hoard sentimentally (all of the above) and what I hoard lazily.
The underwear is lazy. No pair has been purchased in the last four years. No pair has been worn more than five times. No pair brings a smile to my face or a steamy memory to the forefront of my mind. The truth, quite simply, is that I hate them all. About a hundred bucks and eight ounces of lace and elastic are now buried by garbage and I feel fantastic. Keep reading »