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Variety Is The Spice Of Life

Variety is the spice of life

Variety is the spice of life

“Find fits for every body type,” the ad says.

Hmmm, I see tall and skinny in the first frame. Tall and skinny in the second frame. Tall and skinny in the third frame. And tall and skinny in the last frame.

Lisa Wade over at Sociological Images wonders,

Are they actually mocking us? Do they really think we are so stupid as to not find the text and visuals in this ad laughably mis-matched? Are they trying to offend all people outside of this “range” of body types so that they don’t wear their clothes? I just… I don’t know.

She goes on to observe that fashion advice almost always aims at “Getting women’s bodies, whatever shape they might be, to conform with one ideal body type: the skinny hourglass figure.”

The advice is all about trying to hide the shape of a woman’s actual body so that everyone looks just one way. Here’s advice for women with a “pear” shape. Use clothing to:

  • slim your hips and thighs
  • draw attention to the upper part of your body
  • balance your figure with shoulder pads
  • a roomy top will de-emphasize your bottom
  • offset your hips
  • avoid side pockets, they add bulk where you least need it

“Why not highlight that awesome booty and tiny waist and shoulders?” Lisa asks. “Work that pear-shape!”

Others celebrate variety as the spice of life. Check out these lines from a piece called, “That Girl: What Makes You Different Makes You Beautiful” @ Absurd Grace.

I want to teach my daughter appropriate and healthy ways of seeing herself so that she doesn’t have to go through the same self-deprecating madness that I went through. It horrifies me that she could possibly grow up to be fearful of being perfectly herself, imperfections and all.

I think I will start with making a rule that she doesn’t look at Teen magazines in order to know what beauty is. Instead I am going to teach her that to look differently is real beauty. To use your natural physical attributes that are unlike everyone else is what makes you charming. And to have a balanced, kind, compassionate soul is desirous. If you can look deep inside of yourself, into your heart, and know that you’ve acted with those characteristics – that is beauty.

Everything else is just detail that can and will change. But who you are, inside, and what makes you different on the outside, that is where the stunning comes in.

I’m on vacation. This is a rerun. (The beauty ideal has changed a bit since this came out — with more of an emphasis on bigger butts — but the ideal remains narrow, none-the-less.)

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How to Deal with Repression

shame2Repression is not what you might think it is. I recently wrote:

A lot of us think it’s about working to suppress sexual desire. And while the early stages can be at least partly conscious, after a while you’re not actively blocking anything. You’ve simply lost sexual feelings and energy. Plus, plenty of punishing messages targeted at women’s desire get internalized. And sex is too often used as a weapon. Read the rest of this entry

The Little Mermaid says, “You’ve come a long way, baby”

Little Mermaid coverDisney’s Little Mermaid will celebrate her 25th birthday in a few days.

Ariel was the first Disney Princess to be touched by feminism. And she is plenty different from her predecessors — good girls who never rocked the boat, and who all needed saving by their Prince Charmings.

In Ariel we find a young woman with a strong sense of self who seeks independence and empowerment.

But she reflects the early tensions of our feminist beginnings.  Read the rest of this entry

Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze

Della Calfee. Ass Like That

Della Calfee. Ass Like That

Men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at.

That’s what art critic John Berger famously observed.

But some feminist artists have turned the tables in the exhibit, Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze:

With a gallery filled with men stripped naked this body of work exposes women’s cheeky, provocative and sometimes shocking commentaries on the opposite sex (which) may make the viewer squirm a little. But that is precisely the point.

Read the rest of this entry

Guys Care About Their Looks, But It’s Complicated

Men care about their looks, tooGuys care about their looks.

Less so than girls — who are more strongly judged by their appearance. But they do care.

And no wonder, since looks are one way to gain sex, status and self-esteem. (So no surprise that Casanovas — who want A LOT of sex partners — are especially body-conscious.)

But it’s complicated.  Read the rest of this entry

A Sexy Halloween for Grade Schoolers?

Check out the change in Halloween costumes over the years. Girls are learning that a big part of their job is to look sexy. And they’re getting that message at a tender age.

Now that’s scary!

Then and now images, via Sociological Images:

Halloween Costumes, Then and Now 1 Read the rest of this entry

My Bumpy Trek: From Tomboy to Sex Object to Me

Bullying pretty girls

Bullying pretty girls

By KEG

As a little girl I wanted to be a boy. As a teen I wanted to be a Cosmo Girl.

I got punished either way.

Sometimes so badly that I stopped eating and started hiding and cutting.

Many scrapes and bruises later, I’m glad to be me. Read the rest of this entry

From Blonde to Brunette

Blondes aren't dumb, even if you think so.

Blondes aren’t dumb, even if you think so.

By Erica Dalton

My brunette, Jewish mom was happy to have a blonde, blue-eyed daughter.

But then, she grew up being told that what’s desirable was the opposite of her. Sexy was blonde, from Cinderella to Grace Kelly to Marilyn Monroe.

Even though my mom grew to love herself, I guess she was glad that I would not have to feel unsexy.

Sure, men are privileged by being male, but attractive females are privileged, too. You are noticed more. You’re more popular. You get attractive guys.

If you don’t mind the stigmas attached to “sexy” you can milk it for all it’s worth. Read the rest of this entry

Be… But Don’t Be… Pretty, Girly, Sexy

The sexual double-bind: damned if you do, damned if you don't.

The sexual double-bind: damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

By Caitie Adler

In my kindergarten mind girls were beautiful and boys were tough. And since girls were beautiful, I was beautiful.

By middle school things looked a lot more complicated.

I’d learned that girls should be pretty. And I tried to be. But there was a downside.  Read the rest of this entry

Do better looking people have better personalities?

Beauty: Just skin deep

Beauty: Just skin deep

By Lisa Wade, PhD @ Sociological Images

Do better looking people have better personalities?

People seem to think so.

At one time OkCupid gave users the opportunity to rate each other twice: once for personality and once for looks.  The two were strikingly correlated. Read the rest of this entry

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