I figured that after I had a baby my body would be like a soldier after war, with the proud, annoying battle scars that have a good story but don’t dress up well. A few things went differently than expected:
- I had a real baby, which is sort of impossible to imagine beforehand and sort of trumps everything else.
- I didn’t stop caring about the way I looked (this isn’t a story with a moral or something), but I was really busy caring a lot about other things.
- I looked surprisingly great.
No one ever talks about how you might feel sexy and beautiful after you have a baby. They talk a lot about how you might feel shitty and floppy and bad and you might have to work really hard to look good again and your belly might never ever be the same and the goal should be for everything to be the same as it was because that was so much better. It’s stressful, being pregnant and being yelled at by all of the headlines about pregnancy “YOU NEED TO START THINKING ABOUT HOW BAD YOU WILL LOOK AFTER YOU GIVE BIRTH!” Keep reading »
It is time to have a serious conversation about just how amazing Rebel Wilson really is. She has a law degree and an arts degree, proving that she’s one smart cookie. Most importantly, she has a refreshing lack of vanity in an industry where vanity is a pre-requisite. There are a lot of misleading and confusing messages about how to feel and how a woman should look, but Rebel Wilson is incredible for the fact that she just doesn’t care. She stresses that being healthy is key, but acknowledges implicitly that health is relative to the individual. As a woman who is neither fat nor thin, but somewhere in the nebulous realm between “plus” sized and average, Rebel’s attitude resonates. Check out a clip of her talking with “Extra” above.
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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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 in sixth grade, I’d advanced far enough along in my math studies to be in pre-Algebra. I went to magnet school in Fort Worth, Texas, with a bunch of other smart kids who had tested into the advanced program, but when I walked into Mr. Zoromski’s math class, I felt suddenly out of my league. English and drama classes, even life sciences made sense, but math didn’t.
But instead of powering through, I found a smart boy in my class and had him help me. When I say “help,” I mean he practically did my homework every day. Where I’d previously been super keen on learning everything, that sixth grade year, I decided math wasn’t for me. That, in the words of Teen Talk Barbie, “math class is tough.”
And it may have something to do with the way my smart girl-ness was socialized. 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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The morning of November 16th, I am going to wake up, strip off my pajamas, stand in front of the full-length mirror and bask in the glory of my own body. That is because I turn 34 on November 16, marking the first day of the year on earth in which I will be most delighted with the way my naked body looks. That’s according to a study by a UK-based skin and body care firm that says women are happiest with the way they look in the buff at age 34. I have to say, at three months shy of this gloriously self-assured birthday year, I’m feeling pretty damn good about my bod. The study posits that women feel most satisfied with their naked physiques at 34 because by that age many of us have figured out the best diet and exercise to suit our lives and body types. This is certainly true for me — this year, I’ve been far more invested in finding a fitness routine that interests me and have been eating healthier. Simply feeling better has made me look at my body with a new appreciation. Keep reading »
One of my clearest memories is of sitting in a diner with my mom and a family friend when I was a kid. I’d just ordered a chocolate milkshake (a treat since my mother only kept fruit pops in the house) when the friend pointed to a fat woman sitting at the counter nearby. In my memory, the woman’s bottom was so large the stool looked too small for her, and her bright, pink top showed off every roll.
“Be careful,” the family friend said, gesturing toward the woman.
In hindsight, I’m horrified at this memory. The woman, who was already brave enough to wear an eye-catching top, had to have heard our friend implying that her body was disgusting. But for my grade-school self, this just inspired feelings of shame and defiance. I wanted to enjoy my treat in peace for once, rather than be reminded yet again how I already had trouble finding clothes that fit. Keep reading »
I am trying to be a little more organized, since I’m going to have a baby in about five minutes, and in honor of this effort, I sat down to weed through the old photos on my computer. Apparently, I used to take a lot of selfies (before they were known as selfies). You know, back in college, when I had more time on my hands. And before college, when I would just sit around in my room in front of the long mirror some evenings, wearing a thrift-store gown or the new shirt I thought was the coolest thing ever, or occasionally nothing at all, and snap about, say, two million photos.
And then I guess I grew up and didn’t have so much time and most of the pictures of me began to be taken by other people. So there are a lot less of them. And also, I discovered: they are a lot less flattering. Keep reading »