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Archive for January, 2009

simpsonJessica Simpson’s body has been the media’s sweetheart for a while. But apparently the honeymoon is over because Jessica Simpson has put on a little weight and she is, of course, being scrutinized to death for it.

“Yesterday, when I saw the pictures in the newspaper and they made some crack about her looking like she’s playing for the Dallas Cowboys as a linebacker, like her boyfriend (Tony Romo), who is the quarterback, I was so mad,” Rodriguez said. “Why do they have to pick on her?”

It’s so ridiculous that we rake women through the coals for gaining weight. We make cruel jokes about it. We show an endless number of before and after pictures to show the weight (pun intended) of the person’s crime. I found this comment to be especially ridiculous:

Today, the songstress looks like she’s having a little trouble strutting around on stage at the Radio 99.9 Kiss Country’s annual Chili Cookoff this last weekend. Dressed in a tight low-cut black top, high-waisted rib coverin’ mom jeans, and not one but two tummy-tuckin’ leopard print belts, the former toast of Hazzard County hardly looked comfy in her new curves.

Really?! So what, she’s not a size 2 anymore! So, she doesn’t look like an anorexic teenager! Does that mean she now has a hard time getting around the stage? Is that implying that people who gain weight (or are, “God-forbid,” fat) have a hard time moving around a stage for a concert?!

I think Jessica’s sister Ashlee put it quite well:

“I am completely disgusted by the headlines concerning my sister’s weight,” Simpson wrote Tuesday on her website. “A week after the inauguration and with such a feeling of hope in the air for our country, I find it completely embarrassing and belittling to all women to read about a woman’s weight or figure as a headline on Fox News.”

Ashlee Simpson goes on to say:

How can we expect teenage girls to love and respect themselves in an environment where we criticize a size 2 figure? Now, we can focus on the things that really matter.”

I would add that we can’t expect women of any age to respect themselves when we criticize ANY figure, not just a Size 2. If we truly believe that women come in all shapes and sizes (as people always say they do in situations like this), then no woman, no matter what size she is, should be criticized for what she looks like.

Jessica’s weight gain is yet another indicator that the world we live in is a cruel and merciless one that doesn’t allow for women to be who they are without critique. No doubt these criticisms will probably spiral the poor girl into a state of starvation mixed with an incessant workout schedule that will result in a tiny waistline once again. And at the end of the day, that’s what people want to see. They don’t want a “curvier” Jessica, they want to see a woman with a girl’s body! They want to know that perfection is possible and they want to see its possibilities lived out in their celebrities.

(Please note that the title of this post is just meant to be a funny exaggeration. I don’t have the slightest idea, nor do I care, about how much weight Jessica Simpson gained).

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sag-awardsI was watching the SAG awards with a friend last night and after about a half an hour I turned to my friend and asked “Is it just me or are these actresses getting skinnier?!” I mean, actresses have always been small, but this is like a completely new kind of thin. I remember in the early 90’s when actresses actually got criticized if they didn’t have a little shape to them but now it’s like forget about it, the thinner the better. (Seriously…when did Claire Danes get this skinny)!?!?!?

Not to mention all of the inappropriate comments that were made throughout the night. One actor got up there and said something along the lines of “I don’t know who I want to jump more, Diane Lane or Tony Hopkins.” Then he went on to say how great Anthony Hopkins looked because he lost so much weight. Later that night, when Anthony Hopkins went on stage to present an award, I was convinced that he must be sick or something. Was I missing something?

The ultra-inappropriate comment of the evening came from another 30 Rock cast member who accepted an award for the entire cast.

“We’ve all been lucky enough to be a part of great ensembles on stage and on TV. And I was lucky enough to be a part of Ally McBeal for five years. But I can honestly say that this ensemble is a thousand times…heavier.

Jane Krakowski’s comment was no doubt a hurtful dig at the small size of Calista Flockhart!

Maybe I’m being over-dramatic, but I really see this as a problem. The shrinking figures of so many actresses show us that this is the new standard for many Hollywood actresses now. If they want to work, they have to be thin; shockingly thin. Weight is something that more and more people think they can joke around about in public places. And the ease at which some of those comments were made last night about other people was scary. I just don’t think that these things are okay in a world where more and more girls are obsessing over the size of their jeans and looking to Hollywood for cues on how to look. Will this ever end?

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3adele01161

There is a fabulous new British singer that I’ve been listening to a lot lately named ADELE. I, along with millions of other U.S. viewers, first saw her perform on Saturday Night Live. I was pleasantly surprised not only by her sultry, power-house of a voice but by the fact that she didn’t look like every other new artist that seems to be gracing the stage these days (you know the type…petite, blond and southern). Her voice, appearance and personality were unique and a breath of fresh air in an industry that seems to be getting more and more homogeneous.

ADELE is a UK Size 14-16 and has addressed her refusal to diet in interviews saying:

“I’m really mouthy about not having the Hollywood look. Everyone asks me ‘Why don’t you feel pressured to get the Hollywood look?’ and I’m like, “Because I don’t.”

adele19What I find interesting is what a friend pointed out to me a while back when she first saw ADELE’s album cover. Although I find the album cover to be very artistic and cool, I have a nagging feeling that there is more to it then what meets the eye. If you notice, the album cover shows only the singers face which is very dark and shaded so you really get no idea as to what this beautiful woman looks like. Call me a skeptic, but I think this elusive album cover might have been designed to intentionally try to hide what ADELE really looks like. It might be a stretch, but as thin-obsessed as our society is, it wouldn’t shock me if I were wrong.

I think this girl is amazing and so beautiful just the way she is. She adds variety and soul to the music industry and I’m hoping she does amazing at the Grammy’s this year!

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Cheeseburger Bizz

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Hey Guys,

It’s been a great week back in the blogging world! I wanted to say a big THANK YOU to all of you faithful readers who have returned to Eat A Cheeseburger, as well as welcome all of you newbies. All of your comments have been so thought-provoking and insightful.

Also, don’t forget about Cheeseburger of the Month. January is coming to a close, so start submitting a pic of your favorite burger this month to tiffabees@yahoo.com along with a little blurb about where the burger is from and why you loved it so much.

Lastly, EAC will have it’s first guest blogger post next week! If you have something EAC-related on your mind and would like to write a post please submit your entries to tiffabees@yahoo.com

Ok that’s it from the cheeseburger girls.

Have a great weekend and remember to love your body exactly as it is. 🙂

-Tiffabee

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slimdownforthegown

One of my best friends is getting married and she recently pointed out to me that she and her fiance noticed how rail thin some of the girls who model wedding dresses are these days. She was particularly taken back with this designer and encouraged me to write about the intense pressure bride’s feel to stay super thin and to fit into their dress on the big day.

Many of you who are/were engaged mentioned during our Facebook threads that you receive a lot of weight-loss ads on your Facebook that are specifically geared toward brides. In fact, the pressure to be thin, lose weight and/or fit into your wedding dress is a real pressure many brides feel.

bridewars1I recently saw the new movie that’s in theaters right now, Bride Wars, and as you can probably imagine, there were many lines in the movie having to do with weight, weight loss and body image. In one scene, when the brides-to-be go wedding dress shopping, Kate Hudson’s character tries on a Vera Wang gown to which the sales woman warns her (I’m paraphrasing here) “You should watch any pre-wedding weight gain. You don’t alter Vera to fit you, you alter yourself to fit Vera.” Kate Hudson’s character assures her that she had nothing to worry about because she is focused, determined and in control.

Later, when the brides-to-be begin fighting and playing mean tricks on each other, Anne Hathaway’s character begins sending Kate Hudson treats in the form of cookies, candy, etc. which Kate Hudson assumes are from her fiance. She begins snacking on the treats and despite her crazy work out schedule (she even puts a treadmill in her office), she gains five pounds and totally freaks out about it. Because after all, you don’t alter Vera to fit you!

Sa mre ou moiI found this whole story line interesting as I recently watched the movie Monster-in-Law starring Jennifer Lopez whose character had a very different idea of how wedding dresses should be altered. In a scene when she meets her mother-in-law for lunch, she orders a cheeseburger (yay!) and fries for lunch to which her mother-in-law comments on how brave she must be, seeing that most brides are super concerned about fitting in to their wedding dress. And JLo’s response is perfect: “I’m going to alter the dress to fit my body, not the other way around!” A much better attitude!

I know I certainly felt a lot of pressure to be thin and fit into my dress when I was married two and a half years ago. When I went to get the dress altered, the man was very reluctant to bring it in anymore because he was afraid I was going to gain weight (much like the sales woman in Bride Wars). And much like Kate Hudson’s character, I assured him that I wasn’t planning on gaining any weight before my wedding and insisted he take the dress in like I had asked him to! (In retrospect, I probably would be reluctant to take the dress in too…it was a Size 4 for crying out loud…how much smaller was I going to get)?! I unfortunately, had not discovered cheeseburgers in those days and was a tad crazy (ok– a lot crazy)! I was incredibly concerned about my weight and making sure I didn’t look like a “fat” bride. With hundreds of eyes watching me walk down that aisle, I wanted to be noticeably thin and was willing to do almost anything to get there.

To top it all off, after writing this post, I was in a bookstore flipping through a bridal magazine in search of wedding shoes for my friend when I saw this article: “Slim Down For The Gown!”. The article detailed the top ten ways to lose weight in preparation for the big day.

So between the Facebooks ads, the super skinny bride models, exhaustive amounts of ads and magazine articles and personal pressures we feel in not wanting to be a “fat bride” and fit into our wedding dress, it’s pretty hard out there for a bride. So all of you brides…try and remember that’s it’s your day and you don’t have to fit into a Size 2 to be beautiful on your day! (Oh and you probably want to stay away from Vera dresses if your serious about body acceptance. 🙂

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Wii Fit

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I’ve recently returned to the Fatosphere so forgive me if someone has already written a post on this topic.

A popular gift this past Holiday season was the Wii Fit by Nintendo. In case you’ve never heard of the thing, Wii Fit allows you to simulate yoga, strength training, balance activities and more. Sounds great right? Well, one of our readers found one flaw with the Wii that wasn’t so great: The Body Test. One of the features of the Body Test is a BMI Calculator which is designed for adults over the age of 20 to calculate BMI and weight.
The Body Test also allows you to track your “progress:”

During your first and subsequent Body Tests, you’ll be asked if you’d like to set a BMI goal for some point in the future which can be customized to fit your schedule. Check out the “What is Wii Fit?” section for more details on charting your progress.

Although this tool is seemingly harmless, I actually see it as one of the many subtle ways which reiterates the popular belief that fitness and health go hand and hand with weight and the BMI. That somehow, those magic numbers serve as a health-o-meter and can tell you all you need to know about your fitness level. Not to mention the idea that fitness progress is directly linked with whether or not your BMI is shrinking.

This is what the reader who called my attention to the Wii Fit Body Test had to say about it:

This game is played by people of all ages and my seven year old cousin (whom I was visiting over the holidays) was registering her height, weight, name, and DOB. After registering, she did a few balance exercises and after she was done, the Wii told her that her wii fit age was 21. Meaning she was not very fit for a seven year old. Mind you she is only SEVEN YEARS OLD and if she lost weight she would be hospitalized for malnutrition! I just can not believe a game that should be fun, can turn into a weight fest!

The main problem with the BMI and the scale for that matter is the fact that for so many women (myself included) these numbers have come to define who we are. They are so much of our identity and serve as a gauge of how we feel about ourselves from day to day.

As I stated before in this post, I have nothing against exercise, health or fitness. What I do have a problem with is this crazy notion that a number alone can actually determine a person’s health. And by including a BMI calculator as a part of a Body Test, it is only further contributing to the lie that weight and the BMI have everything to do with a person’s health.

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dieting
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I have a friend who is always dieting. It’s a perpetual cycle she goes through. Every few months she comes to an epiphany that she’s unhappy with the way she looks and needs to do something about it. How could she let herself look like this?! No way she can be this size, she has to lose weight! So she finds a new diet and she starts going to the gym a lot more, working out more strenuously. She watches what she eats all the time and our weekly lunches consist of her talking all about how her new diet is working, because her pants are fitting better and the scale is going down. And then, a few months later, she falls off the dieting wagon and gains the ten pounds back. And then the cycle starts all over again.

January is that blessed time of year when people make New Year’s Resolutions. And of course one of the number one resolutions people have on their list is weight loss. Maybe it’s ten pounds, maybe it’s 50, or it’s the “holiday weight” that was gained in the month of December. Whatever the number might be, the sentiment remains the same–“I want to be thinner! I have got to lose weight!”

As I thought about my friend and annual New Year’s weight resolutions I thought about why weight loss resolutions and dieting are so popular. I know that this is a topic that comes up a lot in the Fatosphere, probably because it never ceases to baffle us as to why people are so obsessed with dieting. Because of what Gina Kolata, Paul Campos and all the others have taught us about how diets don’t work in the long run, it seems silly that people keep these weight loss resolutions up year after year.

I think Kate Harding said it best in her letter to Oprah last month:

Some days, you feel like it would be so much easier to take on that old part-time job again — especially when you’ve done it so many times, for so many years, you could do it in your sleep. All you have to do is carve out three or four hours a day to exercise more vigorously, obsess about what you’re going to eat next, and prepare it; stop listening to your body and only pay attention to your food plan and workout schedule; cut out some hobbies and social time to make room for the job; recall all the tips and tricks for not eating at holiday gatherings, at restaurants, at your dear friends’ houses, at your own birthday party; retrain yourself to believe that salad dressing — let alone artisanal bacon, creme brulee, whatever — doesn’t taste good enough to warrant its negative effects on your job performance; talk constantly about what you’re not eating and how great it makes you feel, in hopes that some of your friends will join you at this lonely little workplace; and — most importantly — continue to believe with a religious fervor that your body is an ugly, hateful thing that must be punished and diminished. As long as you really believe that, the rest isn’t so hard to keep up, once you get used to it (again).

I think the reason people become obsessed with dieting and weight loss is because they see it as a form of self-improvement. And in a society that tells us we are not good enough no matter what we’ve accomplished or what we’ve done, it only makes sense that we are in a constant state of self-improvement. And our bodies seem like the perfect way to manifest that self-improvement. Like Kate said in the above quote, it’s all about job performance. If we work at something and get the acknowledgment we are looking for, it is like a confirmation for our egos.

At the end of the day, I feel sorry for my perpetual dieting friend. The sorrow mostly stemming from the fact that she never seems happy with herself, which is a very sad way to live. I’m not saying that I’ve arrived and I am the poster child for self-acceptance and body love, but I have given up the idea that dieting and over-exercising is the perfect way to make me into the ideal tiffabee that I want to be. And that, if nothing else, is a good step in the right direction.

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