body image

Thursday Things: Randomness as of Late

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1.) Someone posted this video on Facebook the other day, and I just had to share. Cheers to positive body image and a f*** you to impossible beauty standards perpetuated by the fashion industry.

2.) My sister is hilarious. The other day she randomly asked me my favorite dinosaur and then to guess hers (I should have gone with my gut instinct on the first try, but brontasaurus seemed too easy). Our text conversations are often like this. dinosaur

3.) Speaking of dinosaurs, who told men that adding “-asaurus” to online dating profile names was a good idea? Also baffling: the insertion of “taco” into said usernames. Because nothing says, “romance” like extinct, supposedly-cold-blooded creatures and…tortilla-wrapped salty things? I’m confused. Where have all the #kalemales gone?

4.) I spent the better part of Monday night trying to decide whether I had appendicitis. Eventually, I said, “Jess, it’s 2-f***ing a.m. If you can’t motivate yourself to get out of bed to hail a cab to the ER, you’re probably fine.” I also figured that, worst case scenario, my appendix had already burst, so may as well get some rest to fight off the potential for sepsis. I guess this is what eventually happens to hypochondriacs who work in health care. Of course, I still ran down the list of nearby hospitals in my head, deciding which ones were more appealing than others based on who I knew who worked there and what the food was like. Since most appendectomies are done laparoscopically now, patient stay is pretty short, but still.

5. I made chili again, only this one featured black beans and a can of salsa verde.

6.) When I began the process of clearing bad energy and promoting the flow of good energy in my apartment, I was told to hang art featuring “pairs” of things in my bedroom area. This photo by LA artist Claire Oring gave me “I want to go to there” chills. Yes, I first saw this at Urban Outfitters, but when I couldn’t stop looking at it, I knew it was the right thing, hipster retail-dom aside.

Hanging art is not my specialty…Claire Orig photo

…but eventually, with the help of a pencil, straight edge, a hammer, and nails, I managed. It was almost as satisfying as that time I set up that IKEA coffee table by myself. Definitely as satisfying as that first time I made a soufflé when I was 23 and realized, “Oh. Hypothetically speaking, I can do this whenever I want. Sweet.”

What’s on your mind this Thursday? Do you have a favorite dinosaur? Are you a hypochondriac? 

The Model with the 20-inch Waist

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While there are tons of super-skinny fashion models out there, Romanian model Ioana Spangenberg—aka The Human Hourglass—insists her 20-inch waist comes naturally, even with 3 square meals a day! Recently profiled in the UK Sun, 30-year-old Spangenberg, who is 5’6″, insists she’s been desperate to gain weight since she was a teen.

She said, “No one seems to believe it, but every day I eat three big meals and I snack on chocolate and crisps all the time. I just have a small stomach. It’s a bit like having a natural gastric band — if I eat too much, I feel sick.”

She went on to explain, “In Romania it is better to be overweight, because that means you are from a wealthy family…So while my friends were going out and dating, I was sitting at home with Mars bars wishing I could fatten up.”

However, she says her husband Jan, whom she met in 2006, was “the first person who saw me as beautiful and encouraged me to celebrate my body.”

Wow. While I’m happy to hear a woman say she’s comfortable in her own skin, a 20-inch waist is, well, tiny! Several publications have pointed out that’s only a few inches more than a CD…Yikes!

It brings up some interesting questions about the modeling industry and whether showing glamorous photos of Spangenberg is an example of promoting unhealthily skinny body types. What do you think? 

Do you have “I’m f-ing fat” days?

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Yesterday, my friend, the lovely and talented Jade Sylvan, posted a great blog entry on body image, which sparked quite a discussion on Facebook. It seems that everyone has a story to share about a time when they felt judged* for how they looked or felt uncomfortable in their own skin.

It’s ridiculous the way we’re made to feel bad about our appearance—regardless of what we look like. We should be spending our time and energy doing the things that make us feel good and help us spread positive energy,

Thank you so much to Jade for putting out the word and getting a dialogue going.

Do you ever wrestle with body image issues? How do you deal? 

Read the rest of this entry »

Life-size Barbie starts a conversation

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Mattel’s Barbie has long been cited a contributor to girls’ messed up body image. Though I don’t remember being particularly fascinated with Barbie as a kid (I was more into building forts and writing plays with my friends and reading obsessively about the Titanic and other lost ocean liners—don’t judge), I definitely played with dolls, including Barbie.

In a perfect world, we’d have PMS Barbie and Double-Shift Barbie and Yoga Injury Barbie to balance out the promises of dream homes and big, perky breasts, but alas.  Though I can’t say I ever believed I was supposed to grow into a six-foot tall physics-defying veterinarian, I wouldn’t be surprised if my workaholism came not only from my parents but also from the message that I was supposed to be a gymnast, a lifeguard and a Radio City Rockette. And an astronaut. Astronaut would be like that second job you do on the weekends or something when you’re not saving baby animals or winning pageants. Read the rest of this entry »

On not hating your butt

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Token blurry mirror photo

We all have things about ourselves that, um, stand out. For example, though I have tininess genes on both sides of the family, I also inherited the Greek/Turkish ass that comes with the territory. Even when I’m a little too thin, I still have hips and a butt—and I’d never change it. At 4’11” and a BMI on the low end of normal, anything that keeps me from looking like a little kid is a bonus.

Studying and working in nutrition, I’m surprised that the topic of body image doesn’t come up more often amongst my peers. It almost feels like we avoid it sometimes, or try to intellectualize it. I, for one, resent the media’s not-so-subtle pressure on women to be unhappy with our appearance. Why should we want to alter our natural shape, the things that hint at who we are and where we come from? I get annoyed when I feel like one of the only people I know who’s not trying to make themselves smaller.

And hey, sometimes having a big ass can be an advantage! I actually had a conversation with my sister the other day about times our butts have saved our lives. Her story involved skiing into a tree, and while mine was a little less exciting—let’s just say this winter has involved my falling more than once in public—we agreed that a little extra padding can be very protective.

Yes, falling in front of other people is still embarrassing and a little scary (if you, like me, have a huge imagination that jumps to all kinds of worst-case scenarios), but getting up and walking away unharmed is a plus. I’m surprised and impressed by my lack of bruises…

So do yourself a favor this week and don’t hate on your butt—or whatever it is that makes you you! I know it sounds silly sometimes to say stuff like that, but we all could use a little reminder now and then.

Who (or what) has shaped your body image?

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This morning when I opened my Google reader, a headline from The Checkup of the Washington Post caught my eye:

Aack! Has comic-strip ‘Cathy’ shaped your body image?

I don’t know if any of you guys ever read Cathy in your newspaper’s weekly Funny Pages growing up, but I sure did, and I think that the self-deprecating sense of humor the main character had about herself and her body were not things I should have been reading at that age. As a child and young teen, I thought I was “supposed” to always have some kind of hangup or be displeased with my appearance because that, somehow, was what made you a woman. Weird, right? Read the rest of this entry »

Body Image Boosters

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I can’t think of a single woman I know who doesn’t struggle with body image. Coming from all directions, we’ve got messages darting towards us about what (or whom) we should and shouldn’t look like, what we should eat and how much, how we can look better—It’s tough out there!

The National Eating Disorders Association has a wonderful list of ways to boost your body image.

Some of my personal favorites are:

  • I will wear clothes that are comfortable and that make me feel comfortable in my body.
  • I will list 5-10 good qualities that I have, such as understanding, intelligence, or creativity. I will repeat these to myself whenever I start to feel bad about my body.
  • I will surround myself with people and things that make me feel good about myself and my abilities. When I am around people and things that support me and make me feel good, I will be less likely to base my self-esteem on the way my body looks.
  • I will treat my body with respect and kindness. I will feed it, keep it active, and listen to its needs. I will remember that my body is the vehicle that will carry me to my dreams!