Fat people can’t win in popular culture. Either they are the subject of reality TV shows about often-extreme weight loss (“The Biggest Loser,” “Heavy, “I Used To Be Fat”), they’re headless bodies in news segments about obesity (or chunky cheerleaders), or they’re the butt of some hack’s lame joke. Fortunately, one new documentary currently raising funds on Kickstarter is looking to add something more thoughtful into the cultural discussion about size. “Fattitude,” an independent documentary by Lindsey Averill and Viridiana Lieberman, will explore the warped sizeism within our culture, from TV shows and movies to Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign. It will also address misunderstandings around health and BMI (body-mass index) and misinformation surrounding the “obesity epidemic.” Watching the trailer for “Fattitude,” it occurred to me that even being someone who is generally aware at how society privileges thinner bodies, there is still so much prejudice against larger people that I don’t even notice. If this project sounds as important to you as it does to me, consider giving it your support. [Kickstarter]
“I’ve gone up about 20 pounds. I think I’m at my perfect weight!…I work out an hour, six days a week. I love classes like SoulCycle, I also loosely count calories, but sometimes I might eat an Oreo. It’s not the end of the world.”
“Biggest Loser” winner Rachel Frederickson talks about her 20-pound weight gain in the latest issue of US Weekly. This still seems to be a bit of a non-acknowledgement about finishing the season of the reality show at an alarmingly low weight (either on her part or the part of “The Biggest Loser’”s publicity team), but Frederickson does mention that the backlash over her weight loss was a “gift” because “it started a discussion about body image.” I can’t argue with that. And I have to support anyone who feels good about their body … and eats Oreos. [US Weekly]
OK, so it’s a little difficult to feel tons of sympathy for the genetically blessed amongst us. But everyone has their struggles in life and when you’re a person who is only known for their looks, sometimes people treat you like you don’t have any brains. Case in point: Cindy Crawford learned an awful lesson about judgment on her first day of college calculus. The supermodel received a scholarship to study chemical engineering at Northwestern University, but all her professor seemed to see when he looked at her was a pretty face. Watch this clip from “Oprah’s Master Class” as Cindy tells her sobering (and infuriating) story — and think twice before you assume someone is dumb just because she or he is attractive. [Huffington Post]
“There’s a whole list of things I would probably change about myself. For example, I’m always trying to lose fifteen pounds. But I never need to be skinny. I don’t want to be skinny. I’m constantly in a state of self-improvement, but I don’t beat myself up over it. … It’s really tempting not to take chances [with fashion]. But I don’t want to be fearful. I don’t want my tombstone to say, she hid her imperfections well on the red carpet.”
Mindy Kaling dared to tell Vogue that she has no interest in being skinny and, amazingly, the world did not explode. I love how honest Kaling is about, yes, trying to lose weight, but also acknowledging that the pursuit of skinniness — being and looking skinny – is not the most important thing in the world. Love her. [Vogue]
It’s easy to say that pornography is empowering for women, or that it degrades them. Oversimplifying, certainly, but easy.
The truth is it’s much more complicated than that.
I was 19 when I realized I could go to college without the debt that my friends were already beginning to complain about. I could take care of myself. It was when I held in my hand $100 for one hour of nude modeling, something I never even realized a chubby girl could make money doing. I was juggling three jobs that paid me only twice that amount per 40-hour week doing physically stressful work for minimum wage.
At the time, it was simple mathematics. Keep reading »
I’m currently in the process of losing some weight. While the experience has been less life-changing than I expected, I’m proud of myself for eating healthier and exercising more often. I feel good. The one downside so far? I’m at the stage of weight loss where my clothes mostly still fit, but they all look kind of…weird. My jeans are now saggy in weird places. My blouses billow in the most unflattering way possible. My bras straps slip and provide no support. Every time I get dressed, I feel awkward and unattractive, and it has nothing to do with my body, just the way my current wardrobe fits my changing body. It’s clearly time for me to update my closet to reflect the new number on the scale. Here are a few tips for anyone else who’s struggling with shopping for clothes during a period of weight loss: Keep reading »
The editor of UK Vogue, Alexandra Shulman, gave an interview this weekend and revealed very candidly how people who create fashion magazines like Vogue think. In an interview on BBC Radio 2, Shulman — who has been editor of UK Vogue since 1992 — spoke about what makes for a successful magazine cover. Here she is quoted by the UK’s Telegraph:
“If I knew exactly what sold it would be like having the secret of the universe, but I’d say broadly speaking, if you’re going to talk about a model or a personality, it’s kind of a quite middle view of what beauty is. Quite conventional, probably smiling, in a pretty dress; somebody looking very ‘lovely’. The most perfect girl next door.” … People always say ‘why do you have thin models? That’s not what real people look like’ But nobody really wants to see a real person looking like a real person on the cover of Vogue. I think Vogue is a magazine that’s about fantasy to some extent and dreams, and an escape from real life. People don’t want to buy a magazine like Vogue to see what they see when they look in the mirror. They can do that for free.” Keep reading »
I started running regularly about six months ago, moving slowly from the “Oh My God I Hate This So Much” stage to the “Hey This Is Kind Of Cool” stage to the “If I Go More Than 2 Days In A Row Without Running I Miss It And Get Really Aggro” stage, which is where I’m at now. As someone who was always the slowest runner in gym class, whose favorite workout has always been “anything but running,” learning to enjoy my almost-daily jogs has been something of a revelation. The craziest part? Realizing that the cliche about running being 90 percent mental is totally true. As I slowly build up my mileage on the treadmill, it’s the mental obstacles, not the physical ones, that intimidate me most. Self-doubt, insecurity, body image issues: these challenges are invisible to everyone but me, but they’re real, and finding ways to conquer them has been one of the most rewarding parts of my running journey so far. Here are five invisible obstacles I have to overcome every single time I run. Keep reading »
How awesome would it be if we could hand a kid a doll that didn’t have absurdly unrealistic proportions like Barbie does?
You may remember last year’s 3D print of a Barbie created using the average measurements of a 19-year-old girl. It made waves on the internet because, spoiler alert, the original Barbie’s shape was nothing like the average-sized doll. Artist and researcher Nickolay Lamm, the genius behind that project, got bombarded with questions about where parents could buy a doll like his creation. Lamm couldn’t point to any doll on the market with a realistic look, so he took things into his own hands. Keep reading »
I blinked a couple times in disbelief, jiggling the sliding weight marker on the old school scale in the corner of the YMCA. An inch to the right or left, and it would clank down, but the weight it was balanced on couldn’t be right, could it? If I was doing the math correctly, I’d lost 13 pounds since the last time I weighed myself, two months ago.
I hadn’t been trying to lose weight, exactly. I had tried more consciously to lose a few pounds last year, getting up at 5:30 every morning to work out for an hour, but I hadn’t changed my diet much, so, to my disappointment and frustration, the scale never budged. A few months ago I decided to ditch the goal of weight loss and just start eating intuitively. I still exercised because it made me feel good, but I didn’t go crazy about it.
And now here I was, staring at proof that I was shedding pounds, and I wasn’t sure how to feel about it. I was surprised, happy, but more confused than anything: how could I have lost more than 10 pounds without really noticing? And why didn’t it feel like a more momentous occasion? Keep reading »