Monthly Archives: December 2011

[Never Say Diet] Body Image Baggage and the Holidays

chocolate-covered-marshmallow-reindeer

I actually wrote this Never Say Diet post back before Thanksgiving, but I somehow missed posting about it here (maybe this was why). (Un)Fortunately, it’s what we in the news biz call an “evergreen” because, well, mountains of holiday food + family members who press all of your body image buttons can = mayhem at Christmas or Chanukah just as easily as at Thanksgiving. I could probably also make a note to repost this at the 4th of July. See also: Arbor Day.

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Sh*t Girls Say: Funny Because It’s True? Or True…But Not All That Funny?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbovd-e-hRg&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL]

The newest episode of Shit Girls Say is out, so I’m pondering the meaning of it all over on iVillage today. Is it really funny? Subversively funny? Sexist-ly funny? Or just not funny enough? Why can’t YouTube just stick to LOL-ing about cats?

One quick coda: I wrote that I didn’t think any real, live, self-respecting girl would ever yell “Twinsies!” when she discovers that she and Juliette Lewis are wearing matching bracelets, the way Kyle Sheppard does in Episode One.

But anyone who has ever shown up wearing the same article of clothing as me can tell you that I will immediately exclaim, “People will know we’re friends!!”

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What Do Women (and Men) Want From Work?

More Magazine Great Careers 2011 Virginia Sole-Smith

Yesterday I brought you up to speed on some of my recent writings, but I saved this one for its very own post because it’s a bit more of a thinker. 10 Great Careers for Women Who Want a Life is online now and ran in the November issue of More Magazine.

As part of our research for this story, the More editors commissioned a survey of 500 professionally employed women (aged 35 to 60 with at least a college degree, and annual household incomes starting at $60,000 to $75,000) to find out what women want out of careers today —  and the results were pretty surprising. In a word: Flexibility, which 92 percent of women say is important in a job (second only to salary) — up from 73 percent in 2009. 43 percent of survey participants also said that they are less ambitious now than they were ten years ago; 73 percent said they don’t want their boss’s job.

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Michele Bachman’s Dating Advice and Other News

iVillage pulled me off the body image beat again last week so I could bring you these two breaking news stories:

  • While Michele Bachman believes a woman can be President (I mean, as far as we can tell from her campaign efforts) but she sure doesn’t think it’s okay for a girl to do something crazy, like call a boy up for a date.

And while I’m throwing links at you, here are a few other articles of mine that came out recently(-ish) and are making the rounds of the interweb. Click, link, love, etc.

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[Never Say Diet] AskMen.com Thinks You’re Fat

But don’t worry. This website — which culls its literary talent from the very finest of frat boys and 40-year-old virgins — won’t come right out and say that to your face. Instead, they present a slideshow, imaginatively titled “Top 10 Subtle Ways to Tell Her She’s Getting Fat,” so we can all learn and share.

I don’t usually link directly to garbage like this, but in this case, I am — so y’all can click-through and add your votes to the “First Impression” poll. I trust that you will not feel that reading this article makes you “a better man.”

Because here are some of the gems on their list: “Buy her smaller clothes” on purpose, “try serving her smaller-than-usual portions,” and “plan a beach vacation” — all to shame your lady until she looks down at her body in horror and realizes how fat she has apparently gotten. Maybe because she has, I don’t know, birthed your child recently? Is too busy working hard to support your family to get the gym? Or is just a human with a full life and better things to do with her time than constantly train to be your sexbot? Anyway, as soon as the light dawns thanks to all these sneaky AskMen strategies, she’ll apologize for putting you through the hell of having to look at that. Oh and vow to take up a shame diet of carrots and Spin classes, obvs, until she can shrink back down to a person worthy of your love. Everybody wins!

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Body By Glamour Spoils You For Choice

Glamour Don't

On page 160 of the December issue, Glamour invites you to “design your best body,” explaining that the difference about — weight training? society’s expectations? democracy? it is unclear — today is “you can pick your look.”

So. Big decision time. Do you want to be a tall, leggy blonde like Gwyneth? Or a tall, leggy blonde like Cameron? Are you confused by the many, many options here? We can go over them again. Slowly. Does it help to know that Gwyneth has wee little muscles (aka “mini”) while Cameron’s bulkier brawn was apparently named after a feminine hygiene product? No? Then however will you decide? 

Surely, you aren’t still wasting time loving the body you currently have, no matter how lacking in blonde legginess it may be. Glamour set us all straight on that notion months ago.

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[Never Say Diet] Does The World Really Need Another Online Dating Site?

Whitney Thompson Dating Site

It’s a valid question — but it is not the question that former America’s Next Top Model winner Whitney Thompson asked herself when she set out to create her new online dating site, “The Big and The Beautiful.” Thompson seems to have been asking, “what can I do to earn $40 per month from tons of women I’ve never met?” Or, alternatively, “how many times can I use the word ‘real’ when I describe my new project?”

The answer to the latter question is three, as in: “I created this site for real women with real curves … looking for real pleasure,” says Whitney.

As regular readers know, copious use of the misguided “real woman” concept is one of the first warning signs of bodywashing… which is a term I just made up for when celebrities or companies pretend to be all about body positivity but are really all about themselves. Like what Bare Escentuals and CoverGirl did here. I’m borrowing liberally from greenwashing and pinkwashing, obvs. Except, yes, my term sounds like a sponge bath. We can work on it.

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[Never Say Diet] H&M Models are Inhumanely Beautiful, Not Human

H&M Cyborg Lingerie Models

Nope, those aren’t real girl bellies.

And they don’t belong to the models whose (heavily Photoshopped) faces you see above.

Those bellies are actually all one and the same belly — let’s call her Eve. Eve is H&M’s digital representation of what they feel to be the Platonic ideal of torsos. She has pointy hip bones, a concave abdomen, very many ribs between her belly button and eerily symmetrical breasts and absolutely no body hair of any kind.

Yes, we’ve reached the point in these end times where it’s not enough to merely Photoshop already flawless but nevertheless flesh-and-blood women to match one impossible, narrow ideal. We’re now able to take that ideal and clone it, so we can build a digital army of lingerie modelbots. I don’t have to worry about the implications of the whole real women vs. models debate, because these models are not and never have been real women. And you don’t have to wonder why your H&M underwear gives you a muffintop and back bacon — you can just know that it does this because it was never intended to be worn by an actual human body.

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9,598 To Be Exact.

Hi there. Remember me? I’m that chick who went to beauty school, writes about beauty and body image and stuff, and then went MIA on you for all of last week without a warning.

Sorry about that.

The fact of the matter is, I had to write a 7,000 word story (that, hopefully, a few months from now — because that’s how time works in magazineland!  – I’ll be able to tell you all about) and let’s just say when you owe somebody 7,000 words, you don’t feel like you have a lot to spare for anybody else.

I did, however, also churn out my usual 1,500+ words for Never Say Diet, plus one extra post because of how we took a short week earlier in the month.

So here’s what you missed while I was typing all of the words in the world:

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