Thursday, April 25th, 2013 was the inaugural public meeting for Endangered Bodies, NYC. I arrived a little late to find a room already full of women. I took a seat at the back as I typically do. Not because I'm particularly shy either. A number of people shared their thoughts, ideas, desires, and hopes for the group. I was impressed with the creativity of some of the ideas and the enthusiasm and energy with which they were delivered. We began setting out goals and objectives that correspond to our mission. One such objective, and a critical one at that, is to establish Endangered Bodies, NYC as representative of many voices: women and girls of course, but also men, boys, people of color, socially disadvantaged, and disabled people. We all live in this world and are exposed to the same social and cultural references to body and appearance ideals.
Posted by Julie Zeilinger · April 28, 2013 12:06 AM
I can honestly say I’m sick of hearing about, talking about and thinking about fat. And yet it’s everywhere – whether it’s the fear-mongering headlines that claim our country has been consumed by an obesity epidemic or if it’s the innumerable magazine articles written on the newest get-thin-quick scheme, it’s undeniable that over the years, our society has become obsessed with fat. But despite the often one-sided, overwhelmingly negative attitude our country has towards fat, the question remains: what is the true nature of fat as an issue of health?
The current Dove video that is going around the Internet today speaks volumes. It is a creative project with a heart. It illustrates the commitment of a group of people at Dove/Unilever to address the misperceptions and poor self-images that so many women have of themselves. It is poignant. Anyone watching this video feels the heartache as each woman looks at the discrepancy between her own self-image and the more positive image of how others see her.
Posted by Laura Mitchell · April 11, 2013 3:47 PM
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I’m a walking contradiction. I’m a professional makeup artist who relies on women to seek out and pay for what society says they should “fix.” I walk a very fine line between two truths; women really don’t need the majority of what big, conglomerate, multi-billion dollar companies say they need and that they need my expertise as a makeup artist to help them understand how to choose and apply what these companies want to sell to them.
Why do girls compete with each other about who is the prettiest?
The question of competition and appearance reminded me of an essay by Julie Yoo, a Korean-American writer who has spent time documenting the beauty phenomena in South Korean, an area that is heavily influenced by American popular culture. According to her, South Koreans idealize big eyes, a pale clean complexion, a tall slim stature, and petite facial features (2006). It probably doesn't come as a surprise that this disproportionately impacts Korean women.
South Korean men and women are not only forthright about the fact that beauty matters, they're forthright about why it matters. It's widely believed among men and women that good looks increase the odds of landing a better-looking partner and subsequently having better-looking children (Yoo, 2006). Good looks are also believed to result in a more fulfilling lifestyle and more financially gratifying and powerful jobs like those in business and banking sectors (Yoo, 2006).
What is it like to be in a room of women full of power, vulnerability and honesty? I experienced this at the Indwelling Event last Saturday.
The event was honoring Julie Zeilinger, a feminist media activist and founder of FBomb and featured amazing performances by several performance artists including Caroline Rothstein, a spoken work poet, who performed her amazing poem "Fat. "
Women are not the only group faced with pressure to meet rigid and unrealistic standards of appearance. The masculine ideal is fast becoming just as socially and culturally ubiquitous as its feminine counterpart. Like women, men are encouraged to invest in their bodies and appearance as a pathway to confidence, individuality, and above all, success. However, conventional stereotypes discouraging participation in behaviors and practices associated with feminine norms persist. The body after all . . . . . . .
...In fact, I don't remember a time when it didn't. It changes in different social environments. It changes based on who I'm with. It even changes based on whether or not I've been to the gym that day. I mostly go between feeling dissatisfied with my physical appearance and not even noticing it. My relationship with food is love-hate. I'm always aware of what I'm eating. Eating healthy and whole is important for obvious reasons but I also don't want to gain weight. I overindulge on caloric foods and then I restrict myself. I regiment my fitness and almost never take a day off. My whole routine holds me captive and I'm tired from it.
Posted by Jess Cooper · January 07, 2013 12:00 PM
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The thought of loving your own body is a concept that has always been foreign to me. I have grown up on the chunkier side of the tracks, so to speak, and it has been a struggle ever since I can remember.
Everything has been about weight in my life; whether it was teenage me wanting the trendiest skin-tight outfits or getting cut from my college volleyball team because I didn’t look “fit enough.” It’s a common thread in my family; we are predisposed to look this way. But no matter what, we always try to fight it.