Tuesday, April 21, 2009

get your body out for the summer

(not as naked as this necessarily ~ a good swim suit will do :)

If everyone uncovered their bodies for the summer, would there be such a thing as a "not okay" body? I mean really, if everyone let their body out for the summer. Like really just let her out to breath and bathe and bask. If everyone's were out, then wouldn't they all be acceptable? There would be no reason to hide. There would be no reason to think something's wrong with yours. There would be no reason to deny your body its joy.

Humor me for a minute and really try this on for size and feel how truly tragic it is: Think of your most self-criticized body part. Now think of your child (if you don't have one yet, visualize a baby picture of yourself) Now think of what we do to our most self-criticized body part: We curse them. We hate them. We hide them. We cover them. We shoot daggers at them in the mirror. We call them mean names. We make fun of them to others. Some of us cut them, starve them, and suffocate, squeeze & strangle them in wrongful clothing.

Would you ever do this to your child? Would you ever make fun of, curse, hate, hide, cover, snare, heckle, physically harm, starve, or suffocate your child? Please say no. THEN DON'T DO IT TO  YOURSELF, DAMMIT!

Get your body on out here. A beautiful body is a body that is loved. A body that is loved is a beautiful body.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Scarlett Johansson fiercely slays the media for lying about her body

Scarlett Johansson wrote this kick ass response to the media lying about her body for the Huffington Post. I tried to shorten by excerpting, but the woman is so damn fierce I just couldn't. Damn does this woman say it like she means it!: (bolded emphasis mine)
Since dedicating myself to getting into "superhero shape," (for an upcoming movie) several articles regarding my weight have been brought to my attention. Claims have been made that I've been on a strict workout routine regulated by co-stars, whipped into shape by trainers I've never met, eating sprouted grains I can't pronounce and ultimately losing 14 pounds off my 5'3" frame. Losing 14 pounds out of necessity in order to live a healthier life is a huge victory. I'm a petite person to begin with, so the idea of my losing this amount of weight is utter lunacy. If I were to lose 14 pounds, I'd have to part with both arms. And a foot. I'm frustrated with the irresponsibility of tabloid media who sell the public ideas about what we should look like and how we should get there. Every time I pass a newsstand, the bold yellow font of tabloid and lifestyle magazines scream out at me: "Look Who's Lost It!" "They Were Fabby and Now They're Flabby!" "They Were Flabby and Now They're Flat!" We're all aware of the sagas these glossies create: "Look Who's Still A Sea Cow After Giving Birth to Twins!" Or the equally perverse: "Slammin' Post Baby Beach Bodies Just Four Days After Crowning!"

According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), as many as 10 million females and 1 million males living in the US are fighting a life and death battle with anorexia or bulimia. I'm someone who has always publicly advocated for a healthy body image and the idea that the media would maintain that I have lost an impossible amount of weight by some sort of "crash diet" or miracle workout is ludicrous. I believe it's reckless and dangerous for these publications to sell the story that these are acceptable ways to looking like a "movie star." It's great to get tips on how to lead a healthier lifestyle, but I don't want some imaginary account of "How She Did It!" I get into and stay in shape by eating a proper diet and maintaining a healthy amount of exercise. The press should be held accountable for the false ideals they sell to their readers regarding body image — that's the real weight of the issue. The NEDA goes on to say, "the media is one of our most important allies in the effort to raise awareness about the dangers of eating disorders...we strive to work with the media to produce accurate, insightful and informative pieces that will resonate with the public, while maintaining hope and avoiding glamorizing or promoting copycats." But how are we, the reader, to decipher friend from foe? How are we supposed to view articles highlighting celebrity cellulite and not sulk in the mirror, imagining a big red arrow pointing to various parts of our bodies? The media has packaged for us an unhealthy idea that one must suffer loss, be in the middle of a nervous breakdown, feel pressure from friends or coworkers, battle divorce or have a bitter dispute with an ex in order to get into acceptable bikini shape.

So why do these publications do so well? After appearing on the cover of US Weekly's "Did They or Didn't They? A Plastic Surgery Guide for Dimwits" issue and battling for a retraction, I learned that the magazine profited $1.4 million from the issue alone (money I felt should be donated to Operation Smile or an equally well-managed charity helping those in need of reconstructive surgery). The concept of 'Stars Are Just Like Us!" makes us feel connected to lifestyles that can sometime seem out of this world. Yes, celebrities are just like us. They struggle with demons and overcome obstacles and have annoying habits and battle vices. That said, I would be absolutely mortified to discover that some 15-year-old girl in Kansas City read one of these "articles" and decided she wasn't going to eat for a couple of weeks so she too could "crash diet" and look like Scarlett Johansson.

I'm not normally the type to dignify toilet paper rags with a response, but in this case I feel it's my responsibility to comment. In a way, I'm glad some dummy journalist (and I use the term "journalist" loosely) is banking on my "deflating" so that I can address the issue straight from my healthy heart.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mom as Supermodel

Can this child imagine a woman more beautiful than his mommy? The only supermodel in my children's world is me. They don't give a rat's fat ass about Kate Moss, Gisele, or who-the-fuck-ever heroine chic stick figure droops concavely in the fashion book ads. Mommy is their sole supermodel - supermodel of self-love, self-esteem, proper body image. If you have children, you are their supermodel. If you don't have them yet but plan to, you will be their supermodel, so get ready. They learn everything they know about self-image/body image from you. Step up to the plate now and start loving the heck outta yourself as is unless you want to pay out the ass later for eating disorder treatment centers.

urgent news flash --- urgent news flash --- urgent news flash --- 

If you are a mama to a girl/girls: get on this prontissimo! There is not a moment to spare. Negative body image in our girls is rising at an epidemic rate and it all starts with mommy. Oprah did an episode on this a year or so ago, documenting girls as young as 4 years old with negative body image issues who were literally imitating their mother's snaring glances in the mirror. Today, this very moment start pretending to love and accept your body even if you don't. Most importantly if you don't. There is no such thing as thinking your way into right acting. We must act our way into right thinking. That means fake it 'til you make it. Smile when you look at yourself in the mirror. Model your outfit to your kids when you get dressed and say, "Doesn't Mommy look cute today?" with a grin. Let yourself be seen naked by them, if they are still young enough that this is appropriate. Hold your head high and stand tall and proud. Eat with joy. Love your food. 

Our children are watching us like hawks. This is both an incredible burden (when they start saying the F word --- oops!) and a tremendous empowerment to help change the world, one healthy, self-confident child at a time. I thought for sure I'd have girls, and was even excited to be able to mother them with the amount of eating disorder/body image distortion recovery that I have under my belt. But as fate would have it, perhaps my boys give me an equally advantageous chance to help out the world one real-woman loving man at a time. 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I Will Never Not Ever Accept my Body

An adaptation of Charlie & Lola's I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child

I Will Never Not Ever Accept my Body

I have this little mom friend, Didi
She is small and very skinny
Sometimes I have to keep my eyes off of her flat tummy
Sometimes I am jealous of her size 2 Seven jeans
This is very sucky because she is my friend and she has body issues too

Didi also envies me of course
She thinks rounder bellies are sexier
I say, "But what about my teeny, tiny tits?"
She says, "Mine are too small too. And floppy at that."
One day I played a good trick on her.

Didi was staring in the mirror scowling at her reflection.
And she said,
"I do not like the bags under my eyes or the skinny knees under my thighs
 or the length of my toes or the slant of my nose
or the color of my lips or the curve of my hips.
I am not fond of my hands or my elbows or my wrists or my ankles.
And I absolutely will never not ever accept my body."
(Didi hates to be content.)

And I said,
"That is lucky because we're not obsessing about any of those things today. 
We're not going to diss the bags under your eyes or the knees under your thighs or the length of your toes or the slant of your nose
There will be no putting down the color of your lips or the curve of your hips. 
We don't have time to criticize your hands or your elbows or your wrists or  your ankles
And we certainly won't be accepting your body anytime soon."

Didi looked in the mirror.
"Then why do I still see bags under my eyes? I - don't - ever- like - my - eyes."
And I said, 
"Oh, you think those are just your eyes? They are not just your eyes. Those are your wonderviewers."
"They look just like baggy 'ole eyes to me," said Didi.
"But how can they be baggy 'ole eyes?" I asked.
"Baggy 'ole eyes don't stare lovingly at your son and longingly at your husband and adoringly at the glisten of the sun on the ocean. Wonderviewers do all this and more. They cry the tender tears of motherly concern and love's frustrations and life's sadnesses."
"That's true," said Didi.
"Well, I might just try one loving glance at my eyes if they're that special.
Hmmm, not bad," she said and took another loving glance.

Then Didi started in on her hair.
"I don't like my frizzy curls," said Didi.
I said,
"These are not just curls.
Of course they are not.
These are twistagiggles from your soul's longing to express itself.
They are made out of hopes and dreams and soar to the heavens."
"But I don't like my curls," Didi said.
"Oh goody," I said. "I'll have your share. Twistagiggles are so incredibly rare." 
"Well, maybe I'll let just one or two out today. Oh," said Didi, "quite cute."

Next Didi frowned at her knees.
"I will not like my knees, so don't even try, not bare or hidden."
"Oh, these aren't just knees. People often think that but no, these are your jollyjoints that run after your son learning to ride his bike and bend to pick him up when he's fallen and climb you to the top of sunset cliffs and lock your legs in passion around your husband."
"Oh," said Didi, "in that case juice up my jollyjoints. I love to make love."

"Rachel," she said looking in the mirror again, "these look like bumpy elbows to me, and I will never love my bumpy elbows."
"I know that. These are not bumpy elbows. These are superbendyhuggers from heaven - meant to embrace loved ones close to your heart."
"Oh, I've seen those on other people before. Yes, I know the ones. I think I've felt those kinds of hugs before too," Didi said, wrapping her arms around herself and smiling. 
"Can I give you a hug now?" she asked. And she did.

And then she said, looking in the mirror again,
"Rachel, will you take a look at these?"
And I said,
"What, at those?"
And Didi said,
"Yes, Rachel, both of these."
And I couldn't believe my eyes because guess what she was pointing at - her breasts.
And I said,
"Are you sure? 
Both of those?"
And she said,
"Yes, of course, my happyhooters are my favorite.
"You didn't think they were just breasts, did you, Rachel?"