Here are all the things I know about my body: My angular face no longer gains weight at the same rate that the rest of my body does, so when I gain weight my head looks smaller even though everything else looks about right in ratio to each other. I have proportionately very large thighs, and specifically proportionately very large quadriceps. My hamstrings and calves aren’t as developed. My ankles are likewise really wide. I have splayed breasts and my nipples don’t point quite forward. My rib cage is just about as wide as my hips. My hips are very wide. My butt has a pretty round shape but it doesn’t sit very high and I still don’t know if that can change via infinite squats (or if I care?). I have thin fingers but knobby knuckles. I have wide shoulders. My upper arms have some heft, so when they’re flat to my sides they splay out a little. My toes curl into each other. The tops of my feet are kind of hairy. I have a genuinely big-boned frame. The way I carry fat on my body has changed significantly in the last 10 years. I bloat up the week before my period. My skin never tans, it just gets sort of burnished. My legs are short for my height. I’m 70 inches tall, I weigh 176 pounds, and I have 24 percent body fat.
None of these things are criticisms — well, none of them are criticisms anymore. I spent the larger part of my life avoiding looking in the mirror, and when I did, I would only catch glances. It’d be a glance here at my legs, a glance there at my arms. It was always part of a subconscious effort to compare a part of my body to a part of someone else’s body — not just celebrities, but women I’d see walking down the street. So I only knew about my body the things that didn’t match up to someone else. Keep reading »
Maybe you are a lady and you hate your body because you don’t deserve to have control over it, according to the highest authority on law in the land. Or maybe you are a man and you hate your body because it doesn’t look like what you see on TV or in pornzz or whatever.
Well, don’t worry! Because I have a few pieces of advice for you on How To Not Hate Your Body, whether you are a woman, a man, or a genderqueer person who does not conform to the binary system! Some of these ideas may seem silly and lame and non-snarky, because guess what? True things are often sincere things, and sincerity has never been “cool.” Right now, we’re going to dispense with ideas of what is and is not cool and we’re going to do our best to save your self-esteem and maybe your life in the process, so strap the fuck in for a loving ride (no, not THAT kind of loving ride, jeez, we are not a pornzz site, OR ARE WE). Keep reading »
Gabourey Sidibe wasn’t the only woman to deliver a beautiful speech at last week’s Gloria Awards and Gala, hosted by the Ms. Foundation for Women. Comedian Amy Schumer also took the stage and gave a speech on confidence that was as moving as it was funny, and no doubt relatable to any woman who has struggled with self-esteem issues. Schumer’s humor is often raunchy and the speech did not disappoint in that regard either, but amidst the jokes about bad sex and semi-soft erections were incredibly inspiring words about the importance of being your own Fairy Godmother. Unfortunately, there isn’t video yet but you can read the full speech after the jump. Fair warning: you’re going to want to share it with every girl friend you can think of. [NYMag.com] Keep reading »
Last week, ABC News reporter Claire Shipman and BBC World News American anchor Katty Kay published an essay in The Atlantic called “The Confidence Gap” about the divide in confidence between men and women. The piece is promoting their new book, The Confidence Code: The Science And Art Of Self-Assurance — What Women Should Know. The basic gist is that although women have proven themselves just as competent as men in higher education and in the workplace, we struggle with confidence in our abilities (even while men who lack those abilities are assuredly overconfident).
Predictably, these statements have set off a flurry of response pieces. On Al-Jazeera, Alice Driver criticized the book for setting the male status quo as the standard for women (as did Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In). Amanda Hess took a similar tack over at Slate’s Double X blog. Over at Jezebel, Tracy Moore argued there there’s no confidence crisis at all: “It’s just sexism.” 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 »
Dr. Drew Pinsky’s daughter, Paulina Pinsky, first came out about her seven-year struggle with anorexia and bulimia in a brave essay she penned for the Columbia Daily Spectator in November 2013. The 21-year-old junior at Barnard College described the moment she revealed her secret to her mom in her essay “Get Your Teeth Checked.” She wrote:
I paused, but before I knew it, the words were out of my mouth … “I’ve been throwing up since the seventh grade.” … [T]he words flew out of my mouth before I had a chance to take them back. The following moment was the longest and most painful silence of my life; I felt like my stomach was going to fall out and that I was going to projectile-vomit onto the windshield. After a silence that lasted far too long, [my mom] responded. “Well, get your teeth checked.”
Keep reading »
This morning, a friend asked me what I thought about all “The Biggest Loser” finale drama. I hadn’t watched it yet, but I had a feeling.
“Can I guess?” I said. “Rachel lost too much weight, didn’t she?”
I was right. I didn’t want to spoil the outcome of finale as I’m an avid fan of the show, but I had to look at the pictures of Rachel Frederickson, who is now weighing in at 105 pounds after losing a whopping 155 pounds. People on social media and the blogosphere are freaking out about her weight loss — including Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper — a screenshot of their faces when she walked out on stage says it all. The girl lost 60 percent of her body weight, which can’t look any other way but shocking. Keep reading »
It wouldn’t be January without the media focusing on anything and everything having to do with weight loss. One of my favorite activities around this time of year is to hate-scroll through The Daily Mail, the website with what I find to be the most absurd/offensive/dumb diet and weight-related headlines. Why do I this? Because it reminds me how important it is to continue to challenge these twisted ideas about body image. It’s easy to think that because you’re intellectually aware of the insidiousness of weight loss propaganda and body shame rhetoric, that you’re immune to falling prey to it. We’re all susceptible to the negative messages we receive our bodies that we receive. That’s why I make it a point to spend a little bit of time each January detoxing my mind — reminding myself what’s real about my relationship to my body and what’s a load of noise being piped into my subconscious. I already wrote about The Daily Mail’s warning about “buffalo humps” and “bingo wings,” but below are some more headlines that I need to call bullshit on. 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 »
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 »