Category Archives: Body Image

Amen, Lorde!

She’s never seen a diamond in the flesh, she cuts her teeth on wedding rings in the movies because she’s just that badass, so naturally, we’re on each other’s team.

Lorde, music’s royalty and über talented 17 year-old became my Twitter heroine March 30. P.S. how is she only 17, amiright?!

She tweeted a side-by-side photos of herself, one photoshopped eliminating her blemishes and another sans editing with this amazing caption: i find this curious—two photos from today, one edited so my skin is perfect and one real. remember flaws are ok :-)

Being that she’s a 17 year-old (again, HOW?!) and in blinding light of fame, it’s refreshing that she use her fame as an opportunity to shatter some p-shoppin’. By using Twitter she was able to reach her fans directly (which I’m sure many are teens themselves) using herself as an example of the unrealistic results of photoshop and telling her fans that giving your flaws a big ol’ hug is a good thing, because it makes you, you.
Amen, Lorde!
Other celebrities should jump on this golf cart to dissecting photo editing! Forrreeee!!

Dear Barbie, Meet Lammily

Dear Barbie, Meet Lammily
We’re all familiar with the unrealistic Barbie biology and the pressures she subconsciously has on young girls growing up.

Hey there, Lammily! image credit: Nicoklay Lamm

Hey there, Lammily! image credit: Nicoklay Lamm

Nickolay Lamm, a full-time artist and researcher sat down a few months ago and designed a “normal” Barbie that reflected the proportions of a 19 year-old girl based on the CDC reported standards. His goal: to show that average is beautiful and to revolutionize how girls think about their body through a new fashion doll named, Lammily. Watch out Barbie there’s a new girl in town and she can bend her knees, elbows, wrists, ankles and isn’t constantly walking on her tippy toes.

After countless requests from parents and girls alike to make this average doll from an illustrator on paper to a physical doll for purchase, Lamm started his kickstarter campaign and as of March 5 has almost $20,000 raised!
Seeing that Barbie was featured as a Sports Illustrated model this year, (seriously) it’s clear Mattel has no interest in changing Babs measurements to be more realistic. However with the demand for change, there has never been more of an opportune time for toys to challenge societal standards. GoldieBlox challenged the pink aisle and restrictive gender stereotypes and so will Lammily.

I already donated $75 and I am looking forward to giving away one first edition Lammily doll right here on the blog! So stay tuned for that nugget of awesome!

I really believe by changing toys, freeing magazine covers of photoshopped images, and casting more female protagonists in television shows and movies we are changing the way girls think and view themselves and others.
Please donate to the Lammily project here: https://www.lammily.com/average-is-beautiful

 

What are your thoughts on making this average doll a reality for girls everywhere?! 

Where Are You Most Beautiful?

What if I asked you, “where are you most beautiful?” What would be your response?

For father and Clinical psychologist, Dr. Kelly Flanagan he wants his “Little One” to always know where her beauty exists: on the inside.
I LOVE THIS.

bonus points if you notice what's similar about these covers.

bonus points if you notice what’s similar about these covers.

Dr. Flanagan wrote a letter to his 4-year-old little girl on his blog about the oppressive language that’s seen up and down the make-up aisle of retail stores (and on the covers of magazines.) These words having staying power, power that grabs you by the throat and shakes you while saying (subconsciously) you’re not beautiful if you’re not “ageless,” “zit-free,” or “flawless.” (also see: clean.clear.and under control.)

He points out that after having a daughter he started to realize she’s just as strong and a force in this world to be reckoned with. She has the same gifts, potential and passions as any man. High-five, Daddio! Observing the words listed in the packaging of the make-up aisle many people, including her, won’t view her as someone that is fully capable of greatness, instead she will be thought of as a play thing or just a pretty face to gawk at. Society, you’re rude.

In his letter, father Flanagan (nope, not a priest, but it does have a nice ring to it) didn’t change the words marketers use, but instead gave them a new meaning, a better meaning. He redefined the make-up aisle.

Here are my favorite redefines:

Brilliant strength. May your strength be not in your fingernails but in your heart. May you discern in your center who you are, and then may you fearfully but tenaciously live it out in the world.

Infallible. May you be constantly, infallibly aware that infallibility doesn’t exist. It’s an illusion created by people interested in your wallet. If you choose to seek perfection, may it be in an infallible grace—for yourself, and for everyone around you.

Choose your dream. But not from a department store shelf. Find the still-quiet place within you. A real dream has been planted there. Discover what you want to do in the world. And when you have chosen, may you faithfully pursue it, with integrity and with hope.

He ends the letter with reminding his “Little One” that when she gets older and perhaps may want to wear make up, she should never forget where she is most beautiful: on the inside.

This letter truly touched me and I think more fathers, mothers, and overall people should take the time to dissect the beauty veil and how it impacts young girls/women psyches. I have found so much inspiration from Dr. Flanagan that next week I will be writing a letter to my own (unborn) daughter and posting it here.
In the meantime, I’m curious what life lessons you would include in your own letter to your child? Leave these nuggets ‘o wisdom in the comments! 

 

 

Karate Chopping Super Bowl Sexism

#NotBuyingIt app screenshot.

#NotBuyingIt app screenshot.

Social media has proven time and time again that it is a ninja raising awareness, causing chaos or in this instance, karate chopping (hiiiyahh) sexism in advertising.

For the past two years and before the existence of this blog, I would sit every Super Bowl Sunday in my yoga pants and Redskins jersey (yes, I’m aware they haven’t been to the big game since ’91) cross-legged on the couch nomming on mini potato skins (with bacon!), nachos con queso, watching teams of men go at it on the field to be the best in the nation. (Cue testosterone grunt.) And then there are the commercials drawing in the non-football fans to the TV. I think these commercials are always overhyped and in my opinion, pretty terrible and lack of creativity  (except for this one) because they too often degrade women, over sexualize women, and objectify women. For the record: If men were portrayed in these big game ads in similar ways, I would have the same problem. Why? Because “sex sells.” But me and many others are not buying it!
My thought: if the products and services were any good they wouldn’t need sex to sell them, amiright?

How many times did we see that Go Daddy commercial starring the first professional female race car driver, Danica Patrick and had NO CLUE WHAT GO DADDY WAS TRYING TO SELL?!?! This ad created that shock and awe factor I’ve talked about before, a buzz around the commercial that led people to figure out (thanks, Google) what or who Go Daddy is and what he was hiding under all that unnecessary sexism. This ad and many others are prime examples of advertising abuse, or not using advertising for the sake of selling, but for the sake of shocking (and awing).

These ads left a bad taste (and no, it wasn’t the queso) in the mouths of viewers everywhere who took to Twitter to share their disgust and concern by using the hashtag #NotBuyingIt. The #NotBuyingIt campaign, created by The Representation Project, is a movement that uses film and media content to expose injustices created by gender stereotypes and to shift people’s consciousness towards change. Due to the success of the campaign in the 2012 and 2013 Super Bowls an app was launched, which you can download for free from iTunes and upload your own examples in the media and everyday life of how sexism won’t sell.

I’ll be tweeting live during Super Bowl XLVIII using #NotBuyingIt and #MediaWeLike to call out the very worst and best in Super Bowl advertising. Super Bowl isn’t just a spectator sport, join me!

 

 

 

 

A Breath of Fresh Aerie

aerieREALThere’s a new real beauty advertising campaign on the rise by American Eagle apparel’s lingerie line, Aerie. Its spring 2014 advertisements will not be featuring Photoshop retouched images. (Cue happy dance.)

Aerie seems to be taking their lead from Dove’s Real Beauty campaign who took a risk and cannonballed into the deep end of the body image pool 10 years ago, and fortunately surfaced with numerous viral advertisements that are changing the way women view themselves.

What makes Aerie different? It’s young. Founded in 2006, Aerie is aimed at the high school and college female demographic. Females between the ages of 15-21 are the most impressionable when it comes to their sense of body image and these self-opinions are often dictated by what is seen in the media.

Aerie hopes to make women feel confident about the body they’re rockin’ and is asking them to participate by tagging photos of themselves using the hashtag #AerieREAL. Because “the real you is sexy.” (oh, snap!)

Though the ads still feature beautiful girls with model-like features: hourglass figures, legs-for-days, blemish-free faces, it still beats the alternative where images are digitally sculpted and shaped by the strokes of an (air) brush.

What do you think about Aerie’s real campaign? Good idea? Bad idea? Marketing ploy?

Let me know in the comments!

Bogus “Bikini Bridge”

bridgeWhat in the universe is a “Bikini Bridge” and who started such a thing?

“Bikini Bridge” is not a thing.

This breach of culture was started by the evil Internet imbeciles named 4chan (also responsible for “CuttingforBieber”) in an attempt to make girls hate their bodies (more than most of us already do) and feel insecure about not possessing this bogus body attribute. It’s the new “Thigh Gap” of 2014. No, no it’s not.  It was a test, of sorts, to see if the phenom would take off and become a society staple and so far, it’s working.

Now with 1,645 2,365 likes (since its inception, yesterday) the Facebook page is ever-growing with comments from mostly men (who are horned up, beep beep) rating the girls’ the “bridge” from 1-10. If a bikini bridge was a thing it would be formed when girls lay flat on their backs clad in a bikini and take a selfie of their undercarriage to capture the “bridge” of fabric created when their hips are protruding out farther than their stomach.

I couldn’t spend much time on the page because, well, I was starting to feel physically ill and tossing my cookies (mmm, cookies) was not on today’s to do list. The page description is “this is for those who don’t enjoy porn but do enjoy the erotic glimpse of Bikini Bridge. To see less is more.”

And click, buh-bye.

The Internet misfits weaseled their way into the Twitterverse where there is over 5,000 tweets using #bikinibridge hashtag as well as tragic blog posts that thought this “bridge” was the next body trending shaming thing, like this piece on Buzzfeed Community that shames women who don’t possess this counterfeit curvature and it’s by a woman.

Dropkick.

We have to do better, ladies. Because if we don’t, no one else will.

We have to take these hoaxes for what they are, FAKE, and instead of continuing to let them invade our culture, that’s already brittle, we have to put up those shields, blinders or both and be on the offensive (be ahead of the game, in control) of what we read in all mediums and what we write. We must do research to find truths instead of accepting a forged façade.

What words or phrases would you like to see banned from our culture? Ugly Cry? Bubble Butt? Thigh Gap?  Let me know in the comments!

Habit Inheritance is Accidental

I have always said I was bold, independent and spoke my mind on issues that make you squirm in your chair in discomfort, but college student Lily Myers really does exhibit what SGS is all about—she doesn’t just smash girl stereotypes into smithereens she slams them, poetry style.

In her piece she tackles body image and the destruction a negative image can do to the psyche and plays the lead role in what space, as women, we “deserve to occupy.” Men are taught to grow out (body, voice, demeanor) and women are too often taught to grow in (body, voice, demeanor.)

I like charts and I like visuals…

So here’s a comparison table for those visual learners out there.

habitstereotypes

What adjectives would you add to the above chart? (Let me know in the comments)

These stereotypes persist because we let them. Simple as that, right? Welllll sorrtaaa kinnndaaa. We should be able to red light them, BUT we often don’t even realize we’re stereotyping! We can’t allow these stereotypes to continue to weasel their way into our culture through modeled habits that slowly and often unconsciously leach into our own.

“Sit across the table from someone long enough and you pick up their habits.”-Lily Myers

We have to instead be mindful. Lily’s piece confronts today’s culture and the different sets of standards for men and women (see handy dandy chart above) and how we as friends, mothers, aunts, sisters really do play a vital role in the development of young girls around us! (Same goes for the guy side.) We have to be mindful of the treatment we are giving ourselves in the presence of others. If we are indeed more conscious the toxic body hate culture cycle will diminish and be nothing more than a fleck of light in culture. It matters because the little ones, they’re watching (link to dancers).

 

Question: What habits have you picked up from others around you? Good, Bad, Funny, Ugly. We love ‘em all around these shattery glass parts. Leave a comment below!

 

Teachable Moments Through a Lens

notjustagirl

by Jaime Moore, Jaime Moore Photography

Tis the season for all things dress up! As the air crisps, mums bloom and pumpkin flavored everything takes over, (reason numero uno I love fall) thinking about “what am I going to be for halloween” haunts the creative crevices in my brain as well as many young girls.

Will they go with the Mean Girls approach?
“Halloween is the one day a year you can dress like a total slut and no one can say anything.”

The Disney Princess approach?
You know the tutus, tiaras, wands, glitter and twirling all of the twirling (OK before everyone gives me a onetwopunch I love all of those princessy things, exhibitA) But I think Halloween is a time to use your creativity and brain power to come up with an original idea, a homemade creation, something totally silly or having to do with pop culture. Sorry Sally, princesses were so 2008. But just to prove I’m not living under a rock, though it was pretty comfortable there before Facebook, I totes know princesses of the Disney variety will be forever and ever (amen) be a “thing” until the next cultural fad comes into focus blurs all the other lines (link).

So in the spirit of Halloween I want to give a standing ovation to Jaime Moore, a photographer and mother of a 5-year-old young lady, for thinking out side the Mean Girls and Disney Princess mold!

When searching for creative inspiration to take photos of her daughter she stepped away from the fantasy driven princess mantra and centered on real women, history (herstory? hehe…I mean herher?) changing women.

What she did was spot on and not to mention inspirational like whoa.  She dressed her daughter as five women in history—Helen Keller, Amelia Earhart, Susan B. Anthony, Coco Chanel and Jane Goodall—and before the shutter snapped she educated her daughter on each woman’s great achievements. What up teachable moments!

Moore said in Ellen Degeneres’ The Good News column that it was important to educate young girls that there are other role models besides princesses.

“I realized there’s nothing else out there right now when you look at toddlers or young girls’ ideas for costumes or anything. Disney princesses are everywhere,” she says. “I think it would be nice to broaden the horizon a bit… there are real women and real role models for them to look up to.”

Who is your favorite history-making female? Let me know in the comments, pumpkin.

 

The Spooky Reality of Sexy’s Sister, Naughty

Naughty is not so nice when you’re talking about Halloween costumes for toddlers. This year Walmart housed costumes of the animal varieties on their shelves and labeled them as “sexy”, “naughty”, “playful.” However, what Walmart and the Consumerist.com seem to be the most concerned about are not the adjectives describing the costumes, but how inaccurate and non-animal-like the costumes are. Well, I agree with that!

ladies and gents I give you the "naughty leopard"

ladies and gents I give you the “naughty leopard”

For instance, as you can see in the photo to the left the “naughty leopard” frock has a tutu and purple leopard ribbon trim—not quite the furry feline we’re used to seeing in the pages of National Geographic. Spoiler alert: Walmart is pulling the costumes from the shelves to do more “research.”

So why am I writing about this ordeal? Well for one, it’s been cluttering the Interwebz for weeks and I just can’t ignore it any longer. And two, why the heck do people (myself included) get irritated when kid things are labeled with sexual-ese language that connotes that something (this costume for instance) is sexual when in reality it’s not? To be real: It’s a dress accessorized by animal ears.

To be real part deux: It’s marketing at its finest. I’m elated to know that people are opening their eyeballs to these marketing tactics and calling out their one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other bluff.

As Jezebel had pointed out, the Halloween costume industry has been a contributor to the over sexualized culture. So now, when we hear “naughty” we (for the most part, admit it!) picture a risqué and lewd version of the actual “thing”. In this case the “thing” is a leopard.  BUT WHY!?! Naughty has since the 1600s been a word used to describe someone being mischievous or behaving improperly. The 1900s is when “Naughty” became “Sexy’s” sister.

I know you’re tired of hearing about leopards, soooo let’s use the “naughty elf,” imagery as an example.

What do you picture when you hear “naughty elf?”

Half of you just pictured a nugget-sized human in the north pole clad in a coat with fur trim and a pointy hat, misbehaving or rigging all the toys to make children sad AND the other half of you thought of a hot-to-trot blonde in a mini skirt covered in jingle bells, sporting a cropped-coat that features white fur trim (surely, that thing can’t be warm) sounding out her vowels (ay-ee-iee-ohhh-ouuu *duck face*).

naughtyelf

north pole toy maker vs. human hot-to-trot woman ready for a costume party. disclaimer: cartoon elf not true to size (in comparison to woman elf on right)

You get the point. So it’s not about the costume being labeled as “naughty”, but rather what the word “naughty” actually means in our culture vs. the dictionary.

It’s time to send Naughty back to the days of wetting paper balls in our mouths and launching them through straws at our classmate’s head, to eating dessert right before dinner, and getting yelled at for not taking off muddy shoes before walking in the house!

Which imagery do you have when you think of “naughty?” How can we get Naughty to stray from her sister Sexy? Share in the comments!

Screw Beauty Standards, Natural is Gnarly

Marc Edwin Babej

Photo by Marc Erwin Babej. Click the photo and scroll to the bottom of the article for a slideshow of the other striking images.

Have you ever looked in the mirror and said, “When did that wrinkle appear?” Or “If only my nose was just a little smaller”? Probably, if not for those two reasons something else. I’ve said it before, we are cruel to ourselves as girls and women trying to live up to the “standards” that are laid out by the media. We’re trying achieve that Barbie look, and not realizing it’s impossible until it’s too late. And for the love of flying monkeys can someone create this real-life-beauty Barbie so our girls can get a dose of what real beauty looks like!

Trolling the Interwebz I found an article in Huffington Post, Women about the “Mask of Perfection,” a project by photographer Marc Erwin Babej. The purpose? To illustrate the difference between a women’s natural beauty and the “correctable flaws” a plastic surgeon is trained to see and thus make a living. He enlisted his plastic surgeon friend, Maria LoTiempo.

Armed with her plastic surgeon perspective and black Sharpie, Maria marked 12 model volunteers all in their twenties, TWENTIES, on the “upgrades” she would give them according to the (unnatural) standards of her profession. Interesting idea I’d say.

However, I did make me have flashbacks to movies that have girls wanting to be part of the “cool” girl group, standing on a table in their unmentionables forced to allow the cool girls to circle body imperfections. ::shutters::

Thank goodness Babej didn’t use the full body approach because I’m certain this post would have sounded quite different. Good move mister, good move.

So what are these “beauty standards” Though the article didn’t clearly map them out I think we all know what they are:
(and please let me know if I forgot any)
1. Wrinkle-free
2. Symmetry
3. Trim nose
4. Pouty lips
5. High/defined cheek bones
6. Trim jaw line

Scrolling through the images of the marked up models I was trying to hard to look for “flaws”, but honestly I didn’t see any, which is the point. These girls are beautiful and naturally so. I appreciate Babej’s project because it adds to the perspective that natural beauty is truly beautiful and for these twenty-somethings to “need” improvements to live up to the “standards” set by the plastic surgeon gods are ridiculous.

What do you think of “Mask of Perfection” and the images slap you (figuratively, of course), the viewer across the face and say “THIS EXISTS.”
What’s your opinion of the images?