Tag Archives: girls body image

Grow Your Voice To New Decibels

BeBoldIt’s time to be bolder, older. The complex navigation of the “in between stage” is something we all go through, some of you might be there now, and others have come out on the other end, thriving.

There’s this new phenomenon, OK not new just now being talked about (finally). It is the “losing their voice” phenomenon that is muting girls in the adolescent phase through to adulthood as they become more astute to the culture and societal, albeit ridiculous, standards infiltrating their psyche.

Does this really happen? Absolutely, I’ve been a witness to it time and time again through friends and young girls I interact with at the dance studio. Does it have to happen? No way! And here’s why…

When I was young, I was the girl that hid behind my mother’s legs in elevators, never uttering a peep until I got into the house or car with my family—my “safe” space, while other kids were running around giving their unfiltered opinion of the world around them. Today, I’m a more confident woman, who is bold and isn’t afraid of voicing my opinion, something that has developed over time and really escalating in the last few years, post-college. Who do I have to thank for that?
The real world: It’s complete with an all-too-often male-dominated (we’re working on that!), career driven environment forcing me to be ballsy and step out of my comfort zone.
My mother and other positive female role models and entrepreneurs in my life: They encourage me to be vocal, go after what I want (no matter how big the dream) and never bat an eye at the haters (because haters gon’ hate..hate..hate..)

How can you encourage those girls and women currently idle in this “in between”? Well, Fast Company published a well-articulated article to encourage women to not be comfortable fitting in the feminine and often “passive” role, but to instead be confident, fearless and wildly obsessed with their lives and own their opinions!

Here’s my commentary on Fast Company’s list on how to pump up the girls and women in your life (p.s. you’re included in this!):
1. Encouraging their interests
If it’s boxing, snowboarding, dancing, or putting together vision boards lift them up.  Step into their world, be curious and ask questions, who knows you may learn something yourself. Never ever, shrug it off or tear them down for being into something that’s not your mug o’ joy.

2. Call out and monitor the media, which includes user generated social media (Instagram, I’m looking at you) and be avid in smashing the stereotypes into smithereens through discussions 😉

3. Watch your own talk
OK, THIS IS THE HARDEST. If I’m having a downtrodden day, we all have them, and overall feel “bleh” about my body, I try to spin it around and find something positive about myself, rather than intoxicating my social feeds both online and IRL with my “woe is me” messages, that inadvertently girls and women are reading and listening to which leads to the appearance dictating self-worth in their subconscious, similarly to those Photoshopped teen magazines that show the unrealistic beauty standards. This is a great practice for all you mothers and sisters out there who are constantly around your favorite girl!

4. Create a safe space for them to express themselves
For me, growing up, my expression was in the dance studio, which looking back is strange because I think dance has a stigma of being body obsessed.  I was fortunate enough to grow up in a studio that believes dance is for everyone (shape, size, color—all are welcome!)

5. Bring awareness to the “loss of voice” phenomenon!
Sometimes talking it out (or writing it out) and helping others see that this does happen at their age—but it doesn’t have to—if you’re surrounded by the right people with the right uplifting messages you will forever build your voice to new decibels.



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?

Barbie Biology

::Singing:: “I’m a Barbie girl in a Barbie worrrld, life in plastic, it’s fantastic!”
Except not.

As a little girl I owned many Barbie branded items, (who didn’t?) the multi-level “dream” house complete with pulley elevator, the battery-powered pink Jeep that I drove around the cul de sac collecting autumn leaves and rocks, naturally. I also owned shififtyfive multi-talented, career-driven Barbie dolls, who had drawers full of clothing for any and all occasions. I mean what if she wanted to roller skate in the park with her puppy and sister Skipper? A girl needs options!

However, being a kid I’m not sure I even realized how un-proportional the Barbie doll actually was compared to the human species because I was too busy using my imagination (yay, creativity!) and finding the matching minuscule plastic high heel in the air vent. Pesky things never stayed put.
Shoeless Barbies forever.

After I grew up and playtime was over I began to realize the trademark Barbie bod was no where near that of normal girls’ errr… humans’. Reality check: Barbie’s are the in-hand version of the digitally altered images we see on the glossy pages of magazines.
Refinery 29 put out an article with the most glorious graphics from Rehabs.com demonstrating the ridiculousness of the Barbie body, asking “Is the Barbie body possible?” The short answer: No. But read on for just how ridiculous.

Let’s start from the top down, yes? Yes.

The Bigger the ‘Thigh Gap’ the Bigger Your Popularity Status

Often the Thigh Gap is camouflaged to being motivation for exercise and fitness. Image from the Thigh Gap Tumblr

Often the Thigh Gap is camouflaged to being motivation for exercise and fitness. Image from the Thigh Gap Tumblr

OK so the first I heard of this new body image obsession was on The Kane Show, the morning radio show I listen to make my hour or longer commute bearable. You should listen. The DJs are an entertaining bunch.

So what the hell is a “Thigh Gap?”

According to the NJ high school juniors interviewed by GMA reporter JuJu Chang it’s when you’re standing with your feet and knees together and there is a space between your thighs that is viewed as the “ideal body shape.” Yup don’t have one, not sure I ever did.

Why is this a new and dangerous obsession? Well besides that fact that it’s predominately runway or severely photoshopped models that sport this new “trend,” it’s damn near impossible to achieve this “gap.” Teen psychologist Barbara Greenburg called it an “unattainable goal.”  Agreed. Personally the closest I ever got to a “gap” was between my teeth during my adolescences for which slllooowwwly corrected, we’re talking 5 years people, by braces due to my over bite and a whole mess of other dental problems. Thanks genetics.

No really, genetics plays a huge role in how we’re built. I like to call it the 50/50. Half is genetics and half is the lifestyle we lead, which means what we eat, how often we exercise and being overall happy campers. Also side note these genetics mean some of these images on Tumblr and walking up and down a runway have bow’d legs which can look just like a Thigh Gap.

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