Body image/Celebrity hype

Can Vogue Really Stop What it Started?

Can Vogue Really Stop What it Started?

THIS is the cultural beauty standard that Vogue claims it's out to change. Really? Okay then. GO!In In this month’s Letter from the Editor, Vogue’s Anna Wintour expounds on her magazine’s recent promise to stop using underage (meaning under 16 years old) and ultra thin models.  She calls Vogue’s partnership with the Council of Fashion Designers of America an example of their “renewed efforts to make our ideal of beauty a healthy one,”  and everyone’s on board from Tyra Banks to Sarah Ziff, founder of the Model Alliance a not-for-profit group that provides a platform for models in the American fashion industry to organize for better workplace standards

Teen Girls (and Writers!) Take Manhattan

Teen Girls (and Writers!) Take Manhattan

Last week, I was home in New York City attending the awesome annual conference of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Not only was it great to meet other ultra-talented writers like  Crai Bower (a most awesome travel expert.  Check out his stuff.  Seriously), Molly Blake, and Jen Reeder....I also got to meet a handful of inspiring girls from Raleigh, North Carolina who had come to New York to participate in a Model UN.  Which I think is great, because I loved me some Model Congress back when I was in high school, and I adore hearing about girls who are following their passions instead of getting caught up in celebrity hype.

Is this really what a model--or any woman--should look like?

Hi, Elite Models? 


This is Audrey calling.  

In regards to what, you ask? 

Oh, just the fact that you’re all COMPLETELY INSANE and clearly out of touch with the groundswell of support demanding that the media feature models and celebrities who look more like real women than emaciated skeletons.

I'm sorry, but do you not recall how Spanish fashion week made news a few years back when it banned extremely skinny models from its catwalks? 

Damaging girls' self-esteem? There's an app for that.

Damaging girls' self-esteem?  There's an app for that.

Nearly every girl I spoke to while researching my book expressed a wish to be a model/celebrity in some way. Even the girls who excel in school, sports and activities. *That's* how strong the cultural messages are about the importance and benefits of having the right look.Over the course of my career, I have interned/worked/edited/freelanced at and for teen magazines like Sassy, YM, Jump, Teen People, Seventeen, Elle Girl, Cosmo Girl, Girls Life and others...and I can't tell you how many emails and letters I've seen asking the same question:

"Do you think I could model?"

Celebrities: They're Just like You and Me! (Not.)

Celebrities: They're Just like You and Me! (Not.)

First, Gwyneth was all “Every woman can make time to exercise."  And you can even do it “with your baby in the room” !  (Cause there’s nothing that my 2 and 4 year old boys would liike more than hanging out in the TV room on a sunny day watching me do the Tracy Anderson Method.)

"The Stanley Cup Girls" (because apparently even hockey is really about hot chicks)

"The Stanley Cup Girls" (because apparently even hockey is really about hot chicks)

This is not a joke. Professional men's sports have a long history of using women's bodies to boost ticket sales and sex things up. Nothing new here. But that doesn't make it all right or mean that it bothers me any less.


Maybe Heidi Montag deserves another chance

This may be old news, but a January 3, 2011 copy of Life & Style featuring Heidi's confessions has been sitting on my desk for over a month...and I've got a few related thoughts I need to get off my (non-surgically enhanced chest). 

Why is no one talking about Heidi's recantations?  As a culture, we couldn't shut up last year about the number of surgeries she elected to have, her cup size, her relationship with her mother, the shade of her bleached blonde hair, her failed pop album, her PR seeking stunts etc etc.

And now she's admitted that we were right.  That "surgery made her look worse."  That she regrets having gone under the knife.  That there have been major repercussions (she can't jog due to the size of her G-cup breasts; she can't wash her face because she's afraid to bump her fragile nose; she has visible dimpling and scars on the back of her legs).

How I Feel About Hooters.

Sisterhood of the boobs and shorts. I don't normally get political, but then I saw this ("GOP Politician Goes from Hooters Girl to State House") and, well,  here I am creating a post with tags like #GOP and #Bodyimage because worlds are conflating.

Day 333: Settle Into How You Are

Read the writing on the sidewalkI'm actually on day 338 today.  But this is what went down last week.

"Settle into how you are," said the teacher at the beginning of class.  

Which I did (wellll, tried to.  Because it's not really something one can start and finish just like that...snap.....but let me jump ahead a sec to when I got back from class and tweeted my daily mantra (find all my tweets right here).  

Seconds after pressing Send, a follower tweeted back saying "Funny. I thought you wrote 'Settle Into *Who* You Are!" Which is actually just as important, no?

What if...?

That's what I'm saying.

The holidays are coming…and I’m already seeing articles and blog posts titled “How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain” and “Don’t Sabotage Yourself this Holiday Season…” and they all get me wondering what would happen if we (meaning I.  Cause it's my blog and all) didn’t follow their advice or even our (again: my) own better judgment this holiday season?  Would my world—that I work really hard to create and maintain--crumble? Would my body break down or balloon up to some socially unacceptable size?  I mean really, what's the worst that could happen if I broke all my own rules? 


Love Your Body Day redux....

Yesterday was Love Your Body Day...and I was so delightfully busy, and my body was helping me do so many amazing things, I didn't have time to care about my stomach. No, really.  

So first, here's my Love Your Body Day vlog... (which, upon review, is really more like an ode to my feet...because I keep thanking them for taking me places.  Oh well, that's how I was feeling the love yesterday...


Show Your Body Some Love Today...

 Happy Love Your Body Day!

Yesterday, I was on TV in honor of LYBD and the Moms & Mentors event I'm doing TONIGHT (Wednesday, October 20th) with Biagirl.  It's at Melonhead Salon (2962 West Broadway, between MacDonald and Canarvon at 7pm).  Come on out for it, Vancouver!  

But back to TV: So I got to chat with Fanny Kiefer at Studio 4 and have a great conversation about what girls/women are up against and how to be "well-dressed but not obsessed"  (<- Fanny's brilliant phrase, not mine!) Above is a short clip of me behind the scenes at the show... and I hope to have my segment up here in the next few days....

In the meantime though, I'm busy making a vlog today about all the things I'm thankful for when it comes to my body. Things that have nothing to do with how it looks or measures up, but what it DOES and how it makes me feel....

So what are *you* doing to celebrate Love Your Body Day? I'd love to hear!


The SPARK Summit


The Spark (Sexualization Protest: Action, Resistance, Knowledge) Summit is happening in NYC on October 22nd.  

Oh, how I wish I could be there...because so many important thinkers, activists and educators are going to be convening to inspire and create change in our culture. 

Pole dancing dolls? Hooters-Girl-in-Training t-shirts for baby girls? Breasts used to sell everything from hamburgers to cars?  It's go to stop.

So please go to the summit if you can...

Cover Girl Culture


Right around the time my book All Made Up: A Girl’s Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype and Celebrating Real Beauty was published, a former Elite model named Nicole Clark contacted me about a new DVD documentary she was creating.  She told me it was going to explore the impact of today’s beauty standards on teens and young women.  She told me she was going to take aim at the media created for young women for offering so little to girls by way of role models and definitions of beauty.  She told me it was going to be BIG—and basically, she had me at Hello.

On the use of the word "curvy"....

The flabulous Lizzie Miller.

An interesting post appeared a few days ago about Lizzie Miller, the plus-sized model who appeared in Glamour last year with a flabby tummy.  Now before you get mad at me for saying it like that, let me say that I loved the picture and hope that all women’s magazines follow suit.  But there’s something going on with the way our culture has come to use the word “curvy”…and I mean to get to the bottom of it right here.

What I’m trying to pinpoint is the discrepancy between the use of the word “curvy” and the women held up as curvy personified.  

For instance, when a fashion mag runs a feature on how to choose the best jeans for your body, they refer to body types like “boyish,” “inverted triangle” and “curvy—“ with curvy supposedly encompassing rounder, more voluptuous, fleshier bodies.  Great.  I get it so far.    What upsets me then is the “curvy” ideal that illustrates the definition.    Because while Beyonce has fuller hips than some, her curves are in all the right (read: acceptable) places.   Her stomach is just about as flat as Kate Moss’s ever was, her arms are toned, she’s got great legs etc.   In other words, she has no flab.  Same goes for J. Lo, Scarlett Johannson and other celebs celebrated for their curvy figures. 

But there’s something off, in my opinion, about our culture praising curviness and acting like we’re all about embracing it when it’s really just Kim Kardashian’s butt that’s okay.  What about when the curves aren’t perfect?  When it’s more than just boobs and hips?  What about when there’s (gasp) flab involved?  Because while it’s great that our beauty ideal has (literally and figuratively) expanded just a bit—it’s still pretty rigid.

That’s why I like the Lizzie Miller photo, and think it’s way more ground-breaking than even something like plus-sized pioneer Lane Bryant, which promulgates the same limited definition of curvy as most media outlets (just check out the undies page on their website.)

And I like Lizzie’s use of the phrase “realistic-looking body types.”  It’s not as copy-ready and neat as “curvy,” but then neither are women’s bodies.


Padma Lakshmi: Almost a body image activist

Padma, Padma, Padma. What on earth was going through your pretty little head?The Huffington Post is running a piece on Padma, her bod and how she feels about the universe now that she has a bebeh. 

"I was 25 pounds heavier than people are used to seeing me. There was nothing I could do about it, so I just accepted it.  I just thought, I had a baby, that's way more important. Women are beautiful in all shapes and sizes and I wanted to show women that you can dress well, that you can still feel sexy, that you can still feel confident, and it was OK if my boobs were big because I was feeding another human being."

Girls, girls, girls

What? You didn't have the same outfit when you were eight?O, where to begin?

So these eight and nine-year-old girls danced their hearts out at a World of Dance contest in Pomona, California earlier this month.  And by all accounts, they were great.  Amazing even.  In fact, the Web is now chock-a-block (note my use of such a kick-ass expression) with professional dancers saying that they can't believe the dexterity and precision demonstrated by these girls.  

Yay them!