Bodies sell products. Open any magazine in America and you will see parts of bodies used to sell everything from shoes to Coca-Cola. An advertisement for Tom Ford perfume shows a bottle of perfume between a woman’s breasts; a fashion spread for the magazine Details shows a woman being used as a table, and topless buff men sell Abercrombie and Fitch clothing. The common term for this is objectification—the act of reducing a person down to just her or his parts, and has been discussed by a range of philosophers from Immanuel Kant to Martha Nussbaum’s more modern seven attributes of objectification.
Fill in the blank: If only I _______, I'd _______.
For years, I told myself that if only I were thin, I’d be popular. If only I had a better-paying job, I’d be less stressed out. If only I were funnier, I’d have more friends. This harmful cycle continued until I was left in a constant, dizzying haze of self-doubt and despair.
I have a secret I keep hidden under my clothes: my body. Sometimes I reveal it for the world to see, unafraid to show my feminine curves; and sometimes I hide it so that no one sees, terrified to give even a stranger fuel for judgment. It depends on my mood, over which I don’t always have complete control. Instead, the chemicals in my brain do; they dictate to me how I feel about myself and how I treat my body. They have the power to override logic and reason in two very different ways. You see, I have a darker secret I keep hidden under my clothes, within my body, itself: my Bi-polar disorder.
Right now in our great city ReelAbilities Film Festival is happening! According to the website, it's 'the largest festival in the country dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different disabilities'.
Since its inception in 2007, ReelAbilities has showcased award-winning films made by and about people with various disabilities. In addition to film-screenings, theater and dance presentations, story telling sessions and post-screening panel discussions are taking place through March 11.All told, the festival will host over 40events at 32 venues in 8 NY counties.
It’s been a long road and one that I'm still traveling, but I'm proud and excited to announce the one chapter that is both over and starting at the same time.
A little over five years ago I started to attempt to put together a memoir about my life long struggle with a Binge Eating Disorder. This disorder has affected my life, my family, my friends and has taken me on some of the most painful, beautiful, heart wrenching and healing journeys. Much like my journey to recovery, my journey putting together and writing my story was a long winding roller coaster. I can’t believe it, but it's finally FINALLY finished. What it’s turned into, after all of these years of figuring out the right way to tell this story, is so much more than I ever could have imagined and I am deeply proud of it.
THE OTHER DAY THE WORLD HAD A LOT TO SAY ABOUT THE WINNER OF THE 'BIGGEST LOSER AND SO DID I
By Sara Romeo-White
This morning I came online to a bombardment of social media commentary about the winner of The Biggest Loser. I don’t have tv. I didn’t even know The Biggest Loser was on. But who needs television when there are gifs of Jillian Michaels “OMG” face, and hateful messages under photos of a girl just trying to figure things out in life. Before I move forward let me make the disclaimer that I have very little against this show and if I could afford tv I probably would have been watching it. I’m a sucker for television guaranteed to make me cry, so maybe I’m part of the problem, and I fully own that. Honestly in many ways I respect The Biggest Loser. Call me naive, but I truly believe that underneath it all there are good intentions. If it even gives one person a real chance to learn some tools to take care of themselves and start dealing with their food and body issues, then great, keep it up. I do also realize that there is another side to it though, a side that has the potential of creating more harm than good. And I’m not going to lie, when I saw Rachel Frederickson’s before and after I couldn’t help but be a little shocked. But given my history and given what this show actually is, I also wasn’t.
Today I feel fat. Sausage-esque, puffy, bursting at seams I didn’t even know this clothing had. My breasts are lumpy and my upper arms look like they belong to a weightlifter who long since abandoned the gym for more hedonistic pursuits. I retreat to the bathroom every five minutes to tug at the waist of my skirt or the shoulders of my button-down in the hopes that angling my clothing this way or that will hide the horrors of my physical form. I’m trying to give myself all the usual pep talks, which involve explaining away the feeling with PMS, latke-hangovers, and birth control, but they are mostly failing. I have even tried to invoke that old treatment adage that “fat is not a feeling,” but I never believed that one. I think fat is absolutely a feeling, one that is accompanied by a physical sensation, a la anxiety. I can even describe it for you: it feels like nausea, anger, and a crawling sensation on the skin. Jumpiness and lethargy at the same time, with a dash of agoraphobia. It is miserable, and none of my usual ammo seems to be working. Nothing, except reminding myself of the fact that I’ve outlawed “fat talk” and backsliding into anorexic thought patterns for myself.
There's something kind of nice about using the word 'real' to describe something in a time when so much seems unreal. But using the word 'real' to describe women, to me, is all wrong. Well I should say, it's gone wrong. While the phrase 'real women' is used in a number of context to acknowledge the rich diverseness among women, thanks to our appearance obsessed culture, it usually comes back to how they look. Based on this idea a real woman can be short, tall, plus-size, average, black, brown, white, middle-aged, senior and so on. Sounds great in its own way but unfortunately it's become a catch-all phrase, or label as I like to call it, used to refer to any woman that isn't youthful or of fashion model proportions.
Posted by Elizabeth Stillwell · November 18, 2013 3:18 AM
A few months ago I went to the art installation of The New School University student, Nuralia. It was called, Don't Be A Puppet / Love Yourself, and delved into the topic of eating disorders, specifically Bulimia. The first part of the installation had real online posts from people on eating disorder forums.