I think we can all agree that the society’s issues with weight and body image have reached rock, rock, rock bottom when women are purposefully ingesting tapeworms to shed pounds. An Iowa woman had to seek medical attention last week after purchasing a LIVE tapeworm off the internet and swallowing it. She was advised to get on anti-worm medication as soon as possible to avoid illness or possible death. The woman’s lapse in judgment prompted the Iowa Department of Public Health to issue a statement warning against using tapeworms as weight-loss aids. Keep reading »
Andrea is taking a much needed week off from her Hitched column this week, after spending the last few days reporting live from the Texas State Legislature as they attempted to rid the state of nearly all its clinics that provide abortions. (Thanks to Senator Wendy Davis and the rest of the “feminist army,” they failed.) So this week, I’m rerunning one of Andrea’s first Hitched columns, originally published on November 2, 2011.
Wedding dress shopping. Here’s what happens to me: I walk into a bridal salon and tell the nice maternal saleswoman that I want a tea-length gown with no flowery accents. I am ushered into a dressing room where I am told that they have one tea length gown, it is covered in flowers, and did I want to try on, say, this $1,500 satin gown with a 14-foot train? For funsies? Repeat nine times. Nine. Nine.
“This is your one chance to be a princess!” one saleswoman told me. When I explained to her that my “princess” vision actually, like, seriously really did include a tea-length dress and she was just going to have to see if she could manage to wrap her mind around that, this total stranger looked at me like I had just shot her kitten point-blank in the face in the middle of the dress shop.
So, I went to the custom dressmaker. I told her what I wanted. She said she could totally do that, but she wouldn’t start the dress until next year, even though we’re getting married in April. Why?
“So you have time to get your weight where you want it.” Keep reading »
I was a full-blown feminist by the time I started college. I also had a full-blown eating disorder. As a teen I marched on Washington for women’s rights. I put out a zine called Wonder Woman. I played drums (and by “played” I mean I aggressively and skill-lessly beat the shit out of a floor tom, a snare and a cymbal) in a punk band whose songs included “Penis-Shaped Missile” and “Cute Band Alert.” I prepared all varieties of soy-based hippie stews for Food Not Bombs, though I don’t recall ever sampling any of them. And it wasn’t because of the soy. Or the hippie. While my dog-eared copy of Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth was proudly displayed on my bookshelf, my equally well-worn calorie counter book was hidden out of sight in my desk drawer.
I was terrified of gaining weight. I restricted. I binged and purged. I hated my body. Keep reading »
Eddie Murphy’s genetically gifted daughter Bria Murphy is now a model and recently revealed some … questionable … eating habits of her peers. Said Murphy in an interview:
“I’ve heard of people eating the cotton balls with the orange juice … they dip it in the orange juice and then they eat the cotton balls to help them feel full, because the cotton’s not doing anything. It’s just dissolving. And it makes you think you’re full, but you’re not.” Keep reading »
The June issue of Allure has the usual headlines about what beauty products to buy and how to get good hair and better skin. Also thrown into the sexy, sun-kissed mix is this tidbit of information about their cover girl: “Zoe Saldana: 115 Pounds Of Grit And Heartache.” Hey, she’s slight but this gal’s got might!
Do the editors of a beauty magazine think of a celebrity’s weight as just some random fun fact to share with their readers? No, of course they don’t. It’s aspirational. Even if the number itself is completely out of the realm of healthy possibility for most women, it reinforces a longing — that dream of ultimate thinness. It’s defining. An entire interview with Saldana and how do they describe the stand out qualities they learned about her for their cover? In pounds. But what is most insidious about that headline is that it immediately forces comparison. For many women, that comparison is likely to stoke insecurity. Even if it doesn’t, it’s still a giant waste of time and energy: Do you weigh less or more? But wait, are you big-boned or small-boned? You might weigh this much, but actually you wear this size in pants or that size in tops. You felt best about yourself when you were this weight. You’re proud of your weight and fuck anyone who says you shouldn’t be! Keep reading »
I used to feel like I was lucky for having zero body image issues. Those insecurities completely surpassed me well into adulthood, because up until about around age 25, I had a very conventionally attractive body: a slender frame with an hourglass figure. I could wear anything I wanted. No one — not my mother, not men, not random strangers — criticized my body. Body issues (too big! too small! too squishy!) were simply not something that crossed my mind.
But I was aware body insecurities concerned — even consumed — a lot of people, in particular women. A close friend struggled with anorexia. Family members were bullied for their size. I read fat acceptance blogs online and books like Lessons From The Fat-O-Sphere by Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby. As a feminist writer, I was keyed into the way our society privileges the skinny. Still, for a long time, it was not something I directly understood.
But body issues didn’t skip me entirely: they just came later in life. Keep reading »