Category Archives: body image
Thigh gap: When a woman’s legs are so thin that her thighs don’t touch. Right now it’s all the rage on social media with Twitterers and Tumblers sharing photos anxiously captioned, “Three inches to go.”
It’s all fueling a mass obsession and deemed a universal “ideal” instead of a crazy trend.
Not so long ago the “perfect woman,” embodied in Miss Universe, was one whose thighs touched. Read the rest of this entry
From a young age I understood that as a woman my breasts should be full, my waist should be tiny, and I should dress to impress men. As a child I would stand naked in front of the mirror, picturing my body as that of a billboard model, cupping an imaginary chest and making bedroom eyes. So I was confused and disappointed with 40-inch hips and a cup size well below DD. The disparity between my imagined and actual bodies created a conflict: how could I enjoy my own body if it couldn’t land a man?
Lacking a fully developed brain, I set off to find alternative ways to be valued. Read the rest of this entry
Women typically have lower sexual desire and drive than men in our society, according to both sex surveys and statistics on sexual dysfunction. Our culture may be largely to blame. Consider this:
We are bombarded by “sexy women” but not “sexy men”
Whether on billboards, TV ads, Dancing With The Stars, Olympic ice skating, or professional football, women are half-dressed and men are fully-clothed. The camera hones in on women’s breasts and butts and ignores men. Sure, we are seeing more hot men these days thanks to Taylor Lautner and Ryan Gosling. But People’s ”Sexiest Men” typically portrays gorgeous faces, loose T-shirts and few bods. Even the clothing that women and men walk around in show off women’s bodies and, more often, hide men’s
Last night, as we sometimes do, our family sat around the dining table and looked through the summer’s social media photos.
We have teenage sons, and so naturally there are quite a few pictures of you lovely ladies to wade through. Wow – you sure took a bunch of selfies in your skimpy pj’s this summer!
I get it – you’re in your room, so you’re heading to bed, right? But then I can’t help but notice the red carpet pose, the extra-arched back, and the sultry pout. What’s up? None of these positions is one I naturally assume before sleep.
That post doesn’t reflect who you are at all! We think you are lovely and interesting, and usually very smart. But, we had to cringe and wonder what you were trying to do?
Girls, if you think you’ve made an on-line mistake (we all do), RUN to your accounts and take down the selfies that makes it too easy for friends to see you in only one dimension.
You are growing into a real beauty, inside and out.
Act like her, speak like her, post like her.
Kyoto Redbird is a college-educated 20-something who finds navigating around a contradictory — and too often hostile — view of women difficult and frustrating.
On a typical day, you might see ads featuring a naked woman’s body tempting viewers to buy an electronic organizer, partially exposed women’s breasts being used to sell fishing line, and a woman’s rear—wearing only a thong—being used to pitch a new running shoe. Meanwhile, on every newsstand, impossibly slim (and digitally airbrushed) cover “girls” adorn a slew of magazines. With each image, you’re hit with a simple, subliminal message: Girls’ and women’s bodies are objects for others to visually consume.
So says Caroline Heldman, Assistant Professor of Politics at Occidental College, in a piece for Ms.
This notion of bodies for consumption leaves us constantly judging ourselves and others. How do we stack up? How do “they”?
Our friends declare someone too fat or too thin, sitcoms quip on body weight or shape, tabloids spot celebrities’ flaws, men bluster about big boobs, Howard Stern picks women apart while Rush Limbaugh insists feminism was established “to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society.” (Yes, really, Rush and Howard think they are in a position to make unkind remarks about other people’s appearance.)
All this leads women to “self-objectify” so that we see and judge ourselves through others’ eyes, and especially, the male gaze. Women live in “a state of double consciousness … a sense of always looking at oneself through the eyes of others,” says Heldman.
Is “beauty” really sex? Does a woman’s sexuality correspond to what she looks like? Does she have the right to sexual pleasure and self-esteem because she’s a person, or must she earn that right through “beauty”?
- Naomi Wolf
A lot of women and men confuse looking sexual with being sexual. We look at an attractive woman and think, oh, she’s really sexual. Then we see a not-so-pretty woman and suppose she’s not.
But “pretty” and “sexuality” are actually two different things. Sex is all about feeling, not the surface experience of just existing, however beautifully.
But as Naomi Wolf points out in The Beauty Myth, too many women don’t enjoy sex because they think they don’t look sexy enough. And since a lot of women think they don’t look sexy because of their body type, age, or low self-esteem, a lot of women miss out on great sex.
Sheila Nevins, the film’s producer sees the models as, “their own instruments. What do you do when you’re a Stradivarius and you’re losing your strings?”
And what can ordinary women learn from aging models whose worth seems so dependent on their beauty?
For models, the trouble starts sooner than expected.
You may have seen Ashton Kutcher’s Teen Choice Awards speech. After all, it went viral.
He says a lot of great stuff. I’ll focus on this:
The sexiest thing in the entire world… is being really smart. And being thoughtful. And being generous. Everything else is crap, I promise you! It’s just crap that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less.
Now, Ashton Kutcher can’t help but be sexy, so what does he know?
On the other hand, anyone could become more attractive by following his advice.
Think about it.
Being smart is a confidence-builder. And confident is the sexiest thing you can be.
The thoughtful and generous also hold an air of confidence. And they don’t scare people off.
Unlike some men who write to tell me how much they hate women because they can’t get one. Like this guy:
Have you ever seen a fashion sketch and wished you looked like that? So glamorous!
But here’s “you” as a fashion sketch:
Not so glamorous after all.
Star Models, A Brazilian modeling agency, released this series as an anti-anorexia PSA advertisement.
The ads may help a bit. At the same time, when we are constantly bombarded with the notion that hyper-thin feminine bodies is what fashion looks like, the ideal becomes unconsciously embedded in our brains — along with eating disorders imprinted on our bodies. Maybe anorexia, maybe bulimia, maybe obsessive or over-vigilent eating.
And while we like to draw firm boundaries between what’s normal and what’s not, anorexia has become more normalized than abnormal, says Women’s Studies professor, Susan Bordo.
It’s hard to change our ways of seeing by trying to convince individuals alone. Modeling agencies and fashion magazines must change, too, says Tristan Bridges, PhD.
But that can be difficult when impossible ideals promote so many sales. Women trying to achieve skinny bodies can buy gym memberships, exercise equipment, Jenny Craig memberships, Weight Watchers frozen dinners, or clothing that pulls in, pushes up, and camouflages.
Until our world begins to change just keep chanting, “I am not a fashion sketch, I am not a fashion sketch, I am not a fashion sketch” and hope for the best.