Dear Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries,
I used to see your brand walk up and down the halls of my high school way back in the day. Before I really even knew who you were, there you were — in the form of jeans, shirts and other fashion statements of the late ’90s. At the time, I thought I hated you for the simple reason that the popular kids seemed to have a monopoly on you, and in my mind, popular was synonymous with evil. But, I’m older and wiser now, and know it’s not the popular kids that I loathe.
It’s your “you’re not good enough” mentality. Keep reading »
I don’t think it’s a secret that former teen star Amanda Bynes, 26, is having some issues lately. Starting in the summer of 2012, Bynes — who starred in the movies “What A Girl Wants” and “Hairspray,” and the TV show “What I Like About You” — had a string of vehicular incidents including a DUI arrest and two hit-and-run charges, leading to a suspended license. In September 2012, the actress locked herself inside a dressing room in LA for two hours and then a cupcake shop bathroom in NYC for a half hour. She’s created and deleted countless Twitter and Tumblr accounts, announced her early retirement from acting, and denied having mental health issues. For some reason, Us Weekly decided that Bynes was a good choice for their regular “25 Things You Don’t Know About Me” feature, but I really think it should have been cut down to 24 things, as one tidbit on Bynes’ list strikes me as disturbing. Here is #15 on Bynes’ list:
15. I moved to New York City and I love it! I lost 4 lbs. since I moved. I’m 121 lbs — my goal is 100 lbs.
Keep reading »
Dara-Lynn Weiss, the woman who became infamous for writing in Vogue about putting her daughter on a diet, wants it both ways: she repeats over and over in her new memoir The Heavy: A Mother, A Daughter, A Diet, how much she loves every inch of her daughter, including her pesky belly, but then painstakingly details the lengths she went to in order to shrink it. That dichotomy surely wasn’t lost on her daughter, and there’s no telling how that will affect her in later years. Weiss’s attitude is that she had to take extreme measures to combat the extreme problem of childhood obesity, but it’s the very extremity that concerned me. I felt anxious reading it as Weiss panicked and seemed completely consumed by this project when her four foot four, 93-pound daughter was pronounced obese by her pediatrician. Keep reading »
Discriminating against women because of their weight is a very real problem and it goes all the way to the jury box. A new study at Yale University observed 471 adults in mock court cases for four individuals, of whom they were presented pictures: a skinny man, a skinny woman, an obese man, and an obese women. As reported by Yale, “Male participants rated the obese female defendant guiltier than the lean female defendant, whereas female respondents judged the two female defendants equally regardless of weight.” Skinny male participants were more likely than their heftier brothers to negatively judge an obese female defendant. Yet there was absolutely no difference in how guilty the skinny and obese men were judged. Keep reading »
Today In Totally Awful News: Josh Smith, a junior on the UCLA basketball team, left the team in response to accusations that he simply wasn’t in good enough shape to play — and to a chorus of professional sports commentators and fans claiming he was “too fat.” “I have made the decision to leave the program for personal reasons,” Smith said in a statement. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at UCLA and am grateful for the opportunity that has been presented to me here.”
Smith said he had difficulties with training and conditioning, and struggled with his weight. And that, apparently, was enough to make some in the media attack him for it. Keep reading »
It usually starts with widened eyes and a slight lift of the eyebrows.
As I walk over to greet a new student, they slowly stick out their hand to meet mine. “Hi, I’m Anna. I’m so glad you’re here!”
“Hi,” they say back. “You’re the … teacher?” Keep reading »
“I think it’s about time people stopped judging women on their appearance and more on their intellect. Like you can appreciate my style without having to appreciate my weight. It’s not actually mutually inclusive. I just get frustrated because, just because I exist in this shape, doesn’t mean that I’m like advocating it and being like, ‘I look great.’ How do you know I’m not looking in the mirror and going ‘I wish I could gain ten pounds?’ Which is actually quite often the case. But if you say that you sound like you’re bragging that you’re naturally thin, and you’re not allowed to do that because even though it’s not the ideal weight, it kind of is as well. So it’s really fucked up. And how people that are bigger can be on the front covers of magazines being like ‘I’m really happy with my shape.’ But if I was to do that, I’d be compeltely criticized and ridiculed. But why can’t I be happy with how I look? … I’m just a bit sick of it. I just think that whole culture of hatred, and also feeling like it’s your right to judge people when you don’t know them is really fucked up.”
– This is Alexa Chung talking to Fashionista about the controversy that erupted awhile back when she posted a picture of herself looking quite thin on Instagram. Chung was derided by commenters on the site for being “thinspiration” for women with eating disorders. The whole interview is quite good and I recommend you read the entire thing. She says some very smart things about how naturally thin and skinny women are not immune to body scrutiny and, while it doesn’t compare equally to larger-sized women, it’s still body-policing. As a naturally skinny person, Chung is on the receiving end of insinuations and comments that she must have an eating disorder. Larger women can’t win and skinnier women can’t win, either. Alexa is right: it’s time we stopped judging all women on their appearance. [Fashionista]
Dear Fat Girl,
Last week, I saw an overweight news anchor respond to a bully with such power and confidence that it made me cry. It also made me want to write about my own experience of being a fat girl. I almost wrote this letter to my younger self: a deeply sad, chubby fourth grader who endured horrific taunts from classmates at recess, and even worse abuse in her own head when she’d go home and look in the mirror. But then I realized that there is something about these two little words, “fat” and “girl,” that denotes a shared life experience. If you’ve ever been a fat girl, you know what it’s like to have a body that feels like an enemy, to suppress your own voice because you think it doesn’t count, to be informed with a sigh that you have “such a pretty face,” as if it’s a bit of a tragedy. Here are some things I wish someone would have told me, back when I felt so hopeless, back when I felt like I would never be anything more than the fat girl… Keep reading »
As some of you may have noticed, I’m really rather fat. I mention it only because it’s relevant — it has a significant impact on my life; people treat me differently because I am fat.
Or, in some cases, refuse to treat me. Which is what happened recently to Ida Davidson, who was turned away from her new primary care physician. The stated reason? Ida Davidson weighs too much for the doctor’s office to accommodate her. Keep reading »
When I think of locales that are likely to offer me an onslaught of body-related judgment, I think of the beach, the bar, and the gym. I mean, body judgment is incredibly pervasive, but all three of those places are renowned breeding grounds for intense figure scrutiny, comparisons, and body-snarking. Recently, I discovered that my doctor’s office should be added to the list. Doctors are supposed to support and encourage us as we attempt to balance healthy lifestyle decisions with actual life events and pressures. But our country’s current obsession with obesity as the big, bad, magically all-encompassing factor in good health means that doctors feel perfectly comfortable judging patients based on weight alone. As someone who sits right on the BMI border of normal-overweight, I can tell you that when I cross over, I get lectured. Even if my crossover is a mere pound. No fooling.
It irks me to feel evaluated based on my body’s shape and size at the beach, the bar, and the gym. But it infuriates me to feel evaluated based on my body’s shape and size at the doctor’s office because I’m being evaluated by someone who actually knows more about my body and its overall health than the average casual observer. And I started to wonder if there are ANY places and situations that feel completely free of body judgment. Keep reading »