Archive for July, 2008

Image Found Here

The title of this post comes from a Yahoo Answers thread I found this morning. The question was “Are men really attracted to curves?” There have been plenty of times when I’ve flipped through a magazine and read something like “80% of men prefer curvy women,” but I guess my question has always been “what do you mean by curvy?”

The 1985 song “Digital Display” by Ready For The World describes the “perfect” woman as a 36-24-36 which I assume means a woman with a 36-inch breast circumference, 24-inch waist and 36-inch hip circumference. This would give the “perfect” woman a waist-hip circumference of about 66% which is a very desirable size to many American men according to this study.

So sure, it seems many men like a little “junk in the trunk” as one of the yahoo answers men describes it, but what I’m suggesting is this: most men like a certain type of curvy woman. As one of the yahoo answers men said “A Happy medium is best. A thin girl with nice curves is the ideal for most men….including myself.”

Curvy women come in all shapes and sizes, some are thin and some are not, so I’m not sure its safe to make a sweeping statement like most men like curves, its too ambiguous and like I said before, I think that its not so much that men like curves necessarily, but that they like certain type of curves.

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Senior Hottie Part 2

Just in case you haven’t heard the news, we at EAC are here to let you in on the biggest media craze this summer: Helen Mirren looks hot in a bikini and wait…she’s 63! That’s what has got the media buzzing and the bloggers (not FA’ers but others) blogging.

The Sunday Times
columnist India Knight wrote an interesting article about Helen Mirren’s bikini clad body and all it represents for the modern woman. I think she makes some excellent points about how our society now allows for women’s lives to be about more than baking, sewing and raising the kids (not that there is anything wrong with that if that is what a woman truly wants). I was speaking recently to a dear friend of mine who is in her 80’s and after her three boys were out of the house she decided to go back to school. She ended up getting a PHD in Psychology and opening her own practice. Her friends always say to her “You are the only one out of all of us who really made something of yourself” and she responds with a smile “You’re right!”

So I am all for older women feeling empowered and making an impact in this world but what I didn’t like about Knight’s article is her implication that women’s hopes and ambitions are wrapped up in their looks. (See first paragraph of the article). Maybe Knight is just stating the simple, hard truth about women in our society and our obsession with the way we look and that may be true, but I don’t accept it as ok.

The whole point of this blog is to create a forum for women (and men) that challenges society’s notions of beauty and encourage women to care more about other things in life beyond the ability to fit into the same size paints you wore in high school.

So, do I think it’s a big deal that Helen Mirren looks like a 35-year old hottie in a bikini? No, personally I don’t. That’s just the way she looks, so stop making her (and the other list of older hotties Knight notes) the new standard of how to look good when you’re pushing 60. We are much more than our bodies.

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In a society where models are starting their careers as early as age 12 and youth is more highly coveted than ever before, the “hot” older women of the popular show Desperate Housewives help create a new standard of beauty for aging women everywhere proving that you can never be too rich, too thin or too young.

I once overheard a conversation a man was having about his wife who he described as a “senior hottie”. His wife at the time was in her early 60’s (but you really couldn’t tell with all the plastic surgery, she looked like she was in her 40’s) and weighed 98lbs (I know because I also overheard him mention his wife’s weight). Every time she came into the office her hair was done, her nails were perfect, her makeup was flawless and her jeans were falling off of her. This woman to me is the epitome of the desperate housewives phenomena, a senior hottie through and through.

Let me just make clear that the cheeseburger definition of a senior hottie doesn’t necessarily have to be a “senior” technically speaking (which is usually like 55 and up), but quite simply an older women who is young-looking, thin, rich and desirable, in essence, she is “hot”.

I am in no way trying to judge individual women who I think fall under the senior hottie category, nor am I blaming Desperate Housewives for anything, I say all this to point out that now more than ever before there is huge pressure for older women to be young, thin and beautiful.

In fact, there is an increasing amount of older women checking into eating disorder clinics. Now more than ever before older women are turning to eating disorders for one reason or another. I certainly don’t put all the blame on mass media, but I do think it plays some role in the lives of these women.

Although I can’t speak from personal experience about the pressure older women must be under not only to have a thin body but also to remain as youthful-looking as humanly possible, I can say that when I get older I don’t want to allow myself to conform to this pressure. It’s called aging for a reason (meaning we won’t always look like we did at 25), and I intend to do it gracefully. 🙂

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Just a friendly reminder from the EAC team…PLEASE read this section before posting a comment. If you notice that your comment has not been approved, it’s probably because you haven’t followed the guidelines.

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I was looking through last Monday’s LA Times and found an article in the Health section that boiled my blood. The opening paragraph reads like this:

CALL IT Fattergate. Americans are getting scandalously big for their britches (and shirts and skirts and dresses and suits). And scientists would like to know why, so they can make it stop. After all, this sharp trend toward a well-rounded population has some pretty hefty (and heinous) consequences for public health.

There’s a simple explanation for the weight gain, of course: People consume more calories than they burn. The favorite explanation: They eat bigger portions of less nutritional foods at easier-to-get-to fast food places, even as they hunker down more and more faithfully in front of their TV and computer screens. “Most of us say it is a combination of reduced energy expenditures plus dietary intake not declining enough,” says Barry Popkin, a nutrition professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

But why does that happen far more often now than 30 years ago? It’s not obvious, says Susan Roberts, a senior scientist at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston: “There is definitely no definitive answer on ‘what went wrong.’ “

Some of the “Fat” theories include:
too much stress
too much high fructose corn syrup
a “fat” virus
an overpopulated world
not enough sleep

Can anyone say ludicrous!? First off, let me call your attention to the last line of the quote which flat out says that scientist are trying to figure out what “went wrong” and guess what? They haven’t got a clue how to make fat people thin (See Gina Kolata’s Re-thinking Thin) so good luck with that one.

Second of all, the language that is used in this article is appalling. “Fattergate?!” What in the world is that?! Like we need any more language to isolate, criticize and label fat people. Then she uses the words “scandalously” and “heinous” which I might remind you usually refer to some type of crime punishable by law!

And lastly, she proceeds to give “simple explanations” for weight gain with NO empirical proof. People insist that weight gain/loss is simple mathematics and yet no matter how hard some people try they will never be a size 4. Why is that?

I got into an interesting conversation with someone yesterday in which we clearly disagreed. He told me that he was pretty upset by the fact that he had gained 10 pounds and really wanted to diet to get it off, after all, it wasn’t healthy. I gave my opinions on dieting (since he asked) and asked him to challenge the mainstream’s notions of weight and health. He proceeded to say, “Well, come on, a 600 pound person needs to lose a few pounds!” At this I was pretty furious…why do they ALWAYS bring up the 600-pound person???!!!! They are ALWAYS the scapegoat for the obesity/ weight and health argument. In the end we agreed to disagree but I think I left him with a few things to think about. (Plus, he told me how much he admired the fact that I’m not easily swayed in my opinions:-)

How did my friend get to these conclusions in which at the end of the conversation, it became clear he had no proof for? Well, it just so happened that it was his LA times that I found in the recycling pile which is where I stumbled upon this article. Coincidence? I think not.

Language is a powerful thing. Don’t ever underestimate the power of words like “heinous” and “scandalous” in an article, the writer is clearly trying to tell us something. (It’s no wonder we think weight is such a public issue.) I think it’s important that we know why we believe what we believe, after all, we are living in a world where we are all walking around with pretty strong opinions about health. And articles like these, as we like to say, “ain’t doin a thing!”

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Lipo in a Bottle

volume is extremely low, so I recommend headphones ;o)

I just finished watching a documentary about a British reporter who investigates the world of “plastic surgery junkies”. As part of his research on the topic he decides to get a tummy tuck to see if he will feel any differently about himself. Well, when the commercials came on it was only fitting that this ad came on for a product called Lipozene.

This product claims to help you lose weight effortlessly without doing a thing. My favorite part was when it said that we have excess weight due to having kids, stress, poor diet and exercise. The first two are natural parts of life and the second two are just untrue assumptions. There are several fat people who eat healthy and exercise and there are several thin people who eat junk and don’t exercise (that would be people like me). So one day when I have kids I should just, what..SUCK THE FAT OFF OF ME!? What is wrong with our bodies the way they are? Risk free…hear of phen-phen anyone? I doubt that any pill you take that magically melts the fat away is risk free.

Going back to the documentary, one of the subjects was getting a tummy tuck, breast implants, and lipo on her hips and lower back area. She made the decision after breaking up with her on-again/off-again boyfriend of nine years. She told herself it was because she was tired of not feeling “pretty”. Of course after she gets all the work done her boyfriend swoons and says that he can see their relationship going somewhere now. Right.

I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to suck the fat off of you to feel pretty, and you shouldn’t pay for something to be desirable to someone else. Instead of chasing after the ideal beauty and living in fear of our natural bodies, why can’t we just live everyday of life to the fullest? I guarantee that any excuse you give is one brought on by someone else’s idea of beauty and not your own.

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Lately, it seems that there is a baby boom among celebrities and you know what that means… “baby weight.” Tabloids are filled with stories of celebrity mommy weight gain/loss tales. Last month, one of my friends was at the store and noticed a grip of magazines, each with a different celebrity who had recently had a baby next to the words “How I got my body back” on the cover.

Although I’m not a mother, I can certainly empathize with the pressure women go through to “lose the baby weight” after childbirth. So let’s say I’m a new mom and I’m in the store with my newborn baby enjoying the joys of motherhood. I’m in the check-out line and I glance over at the magazine rack (first mistake) and alas I see five different celebrities looking absolutely “perfect” with the words “How I got my body back” next to them. I’ve been feeling a little insecure about the weight I’ve gained and pretty eager to get it off and now I’m convinced, if Jenny McCarthy can do it, so can I! The diet starts tomorrow.

Not only are these tabloids ridiculous because after all, weight is not a newsworthy story, they put an enormous amount of pressure on new mom’s to focus on their bodies and how unacceptable their post-child birth bodies are to society.

I found a quote from Will & Grace’s Debra Messing about the pressure she felt to lose the “baby weight” post child-birth.:

“…Though Debra says that both she and her husband are enjoying her “new, womanly body,” she admits that she felt pressure to get back to her prepregnancy weight ASAP. “It’s an implicit expectation, I think…at the beginning of the season, I was really working out a lot, and dieting, and it affected my ability to breast-feed. My doctor said, ‘You’re exercising too much, and you’re not eating enough to make enough milk.” Well, that was enough for me. I said, “I’ll stop exercising as much, and I’ll eat enough so that my body can produce nutrients and milk for my child…period. If that means I’ll be five pounds heavier, then I’ll be five pounds heavier.” (Quote Found Here)

Since so many women hold themselves to celebrity standards, the pressure to be thin post child-birth is worse then ever. The desire to be thin should certainly not affect your ability to breast feed your child!

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Apparently, this is Jennifer Hudson’s new album cover. Anyone notice anything different? That’s right, in a matter of hours, a person behind his/her computer was mastering the art of photoshop and managed to slim Jennifer down to something her record company apparently things will sell better. The writer of the linked article calls it a “digital diet.” I wonder how Jennifer must feel about this album cover? I wonder if it makes her feel at all like that is what she “should” look like?

It seems like photoshop is being used as a weapon more and more to nip, tuck, clip, trim women’s bodies into something they’re not. I think this is a sad display of how our society insists that thinner is better even if it’s not reality. I guess the big question is, “What was wrong with Jennifer before?” She had already lost a bunch of weight since American Idol, what more do they want from her?!

As the writer of the article suggests, this is very reminiscent of when Beyoncé went on that crazy lemonade fast and lost a ton of weight. It’s almost like the media is screaming, “See a fat celebrity? Don’t worry guys, we’ll take care of it!” They assume that we HAVE TO have a thinner star, as if to say something terrible would happen to us all if we just let women stay themselves. Well, we loved Jennifer the way she was before the digital diet and I think it’s safe to say that no one is going to suffer a brain aneurysm from seeing a beautiful women showing her curves. So big media if you are out there: WE DON’T NEED YOU TO MAKE ALL WOMEN THIN, WE ARE FINE WITH WOMEN THE WAY THEY ARE.

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Two nights ago I attended a support meeting for a popular weight loss program with a couple of friends. I was interested in seeing what the meeting was like and if I could get a good post out of it. Although there were obviously things I didn’t agree with or subscribe to, there were a few women at the meeting who made some insightful comments, including the leader of the discussion.

One topic in particular that was discussed was the issue of what to say when people comment on your weight/body (something we have discussed at EAC before).

As different people shared about their reactions to people’s comments on their weight loss, the group leader had some interesting insights on how to handle other people’s judgments. She admitted that although these comments are wrong, we can’t avoid them. The only thing we can control is our own reaction to the comments. And rather than worrying about what others think, we should be confident in who we are and not allow them to affect us. I thought this was a pretty positive message for body acceptance.

The first commenter admitted that she hates when people tell her she looks great just as much as when they say negative things to her. “I don’t want to be seen as a body,” she confessed. What woman does want to be seen as a body or a size? And yet at the same time, size is SO important to us…getting down to a 10 or an 8 or a 6 can become consuming.

When I was at the meeting I asked myself, “Why all the body acceptance talk and the ‘I need to get down to my goal weight talk’ at the same time? How can they coexist together?” This is a dichotomy that I have been fascinated with for a while now. Many people love the idea of this blog (and body acceptance) in general, but they still have such a hard time loving their own bodies. It’s this dichotomy within that makes us love our bodies when they are smaller and hate them when they are larger, all the while professing that positive body image is something we all need a little bit more of.

We seem to have a love/hate relationship with our bodies as well as with the concept of body acceptance. We want to accept our bodies for what they are, but at the same time its so hard to give up the Thin addiction and the Weight Loss Fantasy.

We’re only human, so perhaps the dichotomy can exist for a while, but at some point we are all going to have to chose sides. Are you going to choose the side of endless “goal weight” dieting? Or are you going to chose the side of total body acceptance?

(A BIG thanks to the reader who submitted this photo to us)!

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For those of you who are facebookers, have you ever noticed that when you go to your profile there are those weight loss ads to the left of your screen? The pic above is one of those ads.

As the reader who sent us this pic pointed out, the most absurd part of this ad is the fact that the girl was skinny before her weight loss so what exactly did she lose? What is it that this ad seems to be promoting? Well, they come clean and say it up front don’t they (at least their honest)? “How I got skinny.” The other thing that is troubling about this ad is the fact that it professes that this girl lost 37 pounds in one month! I won’t get into a debate about whether or not thats even probable, but I will point out how detrimental and harmful this message can be to a person who is struggling with weight or self-image. Many women might look at this and think “Yes, I CAN lose an absurd amount of weight in a short period of time even though I’m already thin!”

Yesterday, I was walking down the street near my office and heard a man and woman talking. The man mentioned something about a good ice cream or sweet shop in the neighborhood and offered to share something with the woman he was walking with. She refused and told him that she was trying to keep the five pounds she just lost off and she added proudly that today she was wearing her skinny jeans. As they sped up to me and walked past I was astonished at the size of this woman. She must have been a size 2, what was she worrying about five pounds for?! (Not that I think anybody should be worrying about five pounds). The other thing I noticed was that the pair of jeans the woman was wearing were not actually “skinny jeans” so far as fashion is concerned (they weren’t the actual skinny jean style), so I assume she meant they were the jeans that make her look her skinniest.

I share this to say that, these days, many people are no longer hiding under the guise of “lose weight to get healthy” and are shamelessly promoting the “How I got skinny” message and its hurting people. It contributes to the “I can’t share ice cream with you because I want to be five pounds lighter” mentality. So Facebook, could you please stop selling me skinny? I just want to read my wall without being bombarded with weight loss ads.

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