My husband’s grandmother looked like a movie star when she was young. You should see the pictures! There’s one of her perched on a rock in her bathing suit, and it looks like she was posed there by a famous photographer. Everyone always comments on it. “Wow!” we say, “You were such a beauty!” And she sort of chuckles and looks away.
The story goes—she got selected as the prettiest girl at the local fair. I always imagine a dour panel of older male judges, shuffling through the cotton-candy eating crowd, hands behind their backs, in gray linen suits, sizing up the young women, looking for the prettiest one. They must have known immediately, when they saw her. Maybe she was laughing with her head thrown back, her hair lustrous in the sun.
“She was so beautiful!” we exclaim, looking over the old photos. Now she’s 95—a pert, tiny, stooped woman with a ready grin who thought Obama was cool long before the rest of us knew his name. She laughs a lot, reads a lot, and grows a wild garden in her backyard. Keep reading »
Ami and I have both experienced our share of tragically lonely lunches. In 5th grade, Ami had to sit alone at lunch because she was the new kid in school and had no friends; in high school, Winona often ate her PB&J in the chemistry room to escape the stress of the mean, crowded hallways. These were dark days indeed, but when we grew up and learned to love our alone time, we reclaimed the solo lunch and reinvented it as a positive and empowering experience. Nowadays, we both actually prefer to eat alone. Yes, really. It gives us a chance to regroup and steel ourselves to face the second half of our workday. To help other women conquer their fears of eating lunch alone, we compiled a list of dos and don’ts that will help turn your solo lunch from soul-crushing to life-enhancing (and, obviously, we illustrated them in GIFs). Keep reading »
I eat my secret cookies in the middle of the night. There is something clandestine, furtive about my stealthy trip to the kitchen, long after the world has gone to sleep. I am mostly asleep myself, I reason. This is hardly even happening. I can’t help it, it’s not my fault, I don’t even know what I am doing. These cookies don’t even count!
There is evidence in the morning — a cookie or two missing. We won’t speak of it. Who can remember what happened during the dead stretch between the dregs of the night and the pale creep of dawn? I can’t!
But wait a second.
What is really wrong with eating a cookie or two? What makes it an act of quiet self-deception? What about it requires sneaking?
I’ll be blunt. I mean, that’s why I’m writing this — to be blunt and confessional for a moment because I think that’s really the only way to address this sort of thing.
In my head, there is this eternal, infernal, absolutely obnoxious connection between food and failure. And you may find this next statement ridiculous, but: I think I’m actually pretty healthy about food. Keep reading »
With all this fine literature along the lines of I’m Beautiful and I Hate It! circling the Internet, I’ve felt it’s my time to chime in with my point-of-view on the subject. But how does one comment on their level of attractiveness without putting out the vibe that they’re a self-obsessed jughead dingbat or, worse, starving for attention? As I walked around my apartment, glancing at my reflection in various shiny household objects, the answer came to me: Honesty.
See, the problem with a lot of the articles making the rounds are their lack of total honesty. Of course, I don’t think they’re lying. I know these attractive people truly believe they’re beautiful, but what’s missing for me is how beautiful they think they are, or aren’t. So for the sake of integrity, I’d like to talk about how attractive I think I really am. Keep reading »
Winona was raised pseudo-Catholic and I was raised Jewish, which means we understand the feeling of guilt intimately. Mostly, we feel it all the time about pretty much everything. And we were wondering, what would be able to accomplish in life if we weren’t constantly paddling in an Olympic-sized swimming pool of guilt? Existentially speaking, we think a small amount of guilt is healthy to keep one’s moral and ethical standards in check. But the amount we wade through on a daily basis about something as stupid as the dishes in the sink is just a waste of energy. Guilt literally exhausts you, weighs you down and holds you back. It keeps you focused on the past or the future instead of the present. It keeps you in a state of anxiety instead of a state of peace. And worst of all, it makes you second guess yourself. One minute you’re feeling guilty about paying the cable bill late and the next thing you know, the guilt has shapeshifted into you thinking you are a bad person.
That’s ridiculous! Guilt, we are done with you! Goodbye, guilt. GOODBYE. Below is a list of things we’ve vowed to stop feeling guilty about RIGHT NOW. Keep reading »
I was so sure I was having a boy. I’d even given my baby a boy name, and I talked to my belly and told him he was a great son. A strong, noble, excellent son. People said, “A mother knows…” and nodded along with me.
Not this mother. Apparently, this mother doesn’t know shit.
“Can you tell if he’s a boy or a girl?” I asked the sonographer at the 20 week ultrasound, just to be sure.
She bit her lip and tried not to smile. “Oh yes. I can tell.”
He was a girl. She had always been a girl. I burst into overwhelmed tears. And then something shameful happened. Instead of being fully happy, the way every new mother is supposed to, I was worried. I was worried that she would look like me. Keep reading »
Sitting in the sports medicine clinic’s waiting room, I poked at my knee and winced, hoping that the doctor would be able to fix my troubled joints so I could run my first road race the following month. Half an hour later, I had my answer: my biomechanics were off, I suffered from the common patella-femoral syndrome, but with physiotherapy and diligence, I’d still be able to run. An acceptable prognosis, so I smiled. I liked the doctor; how she paid attention to my grimaces as she prodded my leg, and explained all the anatomical terms to me as she discussed my diagnosis with the observing resident. And then it happened.
“Could you turn onto your side, Sara?” the doctor asked as I lay on the examination table.
I obediently flipped over.
“No, a little closer to me.”
I shuffled backwards, mumbling apologies.
“It’s not a big deal,” she smiled. “You’re so tiny.” Keep reading »
According to an article in the New York Times’ “Well” Blog, a study found that a staggering 93 percent of college women engage in something called “fat talk.” Think, one woman says: “I can’t believe I just ate that whole bag of Oreos. I’m so fat!” Think, another woman says in response: “Oh my god, you’re not fat. Look at my ass, I’m the one who balloons when I eat sweets.”
Sound familiar? I’m sure it does. “Fat talk” is a vicious cycle wherein we tear ourselves down so we don’t seem too confident and then, in order to maintain equality in the friendship, we praise our friend and then tear our body down even more aggressively. If you’re a woman, than you’ve more than likely engaged in this toxic conversation cycle that sets the stage for poor body image and eating disorders, sometimes without even consciously wanting to. Why?
Because it’s become a way to bond with other women. And the really sick part is that researchers have found that it’s so automatic and embedded in women, that it may not even reflect the way we really feel about ourselves, but rather the way we think we are expected to feel about our bodies. That’s fucked up. It’s time for us to make an effort to shut the “fat talk” down. But how? Anything that happens automatically is a habit. Just like biting your nails or smoking cigarettes, we need to think of it as a seriously bad habit that must be broken. After the jump Winona and I have come up with some suggestions for cutting fat talk out of your life. Keep reading »
Bad news. That “Dove Real Beauty Sketches” video, where a group of women describe themselves to a forensic artist, and realize how skewed their self-images are and cry, was not quite as accurate as we’d like to believe. The message was moving, yes. And for a moment, it was reassuring to believe that “you are more beautiful than you think,” but according to research, the opposite is true.
A series of studies done at University of Chicago and University of Virginia suggest that , if anything, we overestimate ourselves. Not just in terms of our appearance — but in every way. Researchers took pictures of participants and created enhanced versions of those pictures so that some were more attractive and others were less so. When asked to select the real picture of themselves, participants tended to pick the most attractive one. When asked to select the real picture of a person other than themselves, participants were able to do that with no problem. Keep reading »
Have you been watching the new Comedy Central show, “Inside Amy Schumer”? I haven’t, but after watching the sketch above, I’m adding it to my now-lean DVR queue. In the clip, Amy and a gaggle of pals (including “Saturday Night Live”‘s Abby Elliott) exchange compliments on everything from clothing items to job promotions to pregnancy news, but each is, uh, incapable of accepting the praise graciously. The sketch is hilarious because it absurdly illustrates something that is totally true — by and large, many women have a hard time accepting compliments without at least disparaging themselves in some way first. Keep reading »