“The Athlete” by Howard Schartz and Beverly Ornstein
Schatz and Orenstein photographed Olympic-level athletes to get a sense of the diversity of different athletic body types. It’s a reminder that fitness takes many, many forms — depending on what you want to do, your body is going to look different. “Lean” and “muscular” aren’t the only kinds of fit.
This is only a small selection; many, many more can be found here.
“[TRIGGER WARNING: Rape] Fat women are treated as utterly undesirable in our culture [and] are often turned into a ‘bizarre’ fetish object. The result is that fat women are told to be grateful for any sexual attention they receive from anyone, whether they themselves find that person sexually appealing or not. In other words, even more than your average women, fat women are only allowed to be occasional objects of desire and are regularly denied their right to have and pursue sexual desires of their own.
That way of thinking becomes very dangerous when sexual violence is mixed in. When fat women are raped, they’re often told they should be grateful that anyone wanted them, or, alternatively, disbelieved because it doesn’t seem plausible that anyone would want them ‘enough to rape them.’ These arguments not only rely on the dangerous myth that rape is about uncontrollable sexual desire (it’s not), but also propagate the message that fat women’s bodies aren’t valuable enough to the culture for their violation to be taken seriously.”
Jaclyn Friedman, What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety (via khaleesi)
I may have reblogged this before, but it bears repeating.
Disney’s fat-shaming fail
You wouldn’t think the people whose theme parks feature a binge-eating bear with a honey gut would put itself in the business of fat shaming, but that’s exactly what Disney did this month. In a boneheaded stab at promoting healthy lifestyle choices, the happiest place on earth became a considerably less hospitable environment when it debuted a new interactive “Habit Heroes” exhibit at Epcot. Guess who the villains were?
you know, i actually felt sick when i read that one of the positive characters is named “will power”. i don’t think i’ve ever had such a visceral reaction to a cartoon character, lucky me.
i’m tired of hearing about how we have to monitor every single calorie we consume and burn or else we’re crazed potato chip-eating monsters. when i’m overcome with guilt about not having the willpower to be skinny i eat less healthily than normal in order to consume as few calories as possible. and then i’m starving and miserable and feel ill, so i stuff myself with terrible, awful, delicious food like the glutton i am. and i feel better, until the next time those waves of guilt roll in. it’s exhausting. it’s unhealthy. it’s utterly ridiculous. i (really, really) enjoy food for many reasons, and i don’t want to hear about how my lack of willpower is some sort of personal failure. i can choose not to eat. but i don’t want to.
is it unhealthy to overindulge all the time? sure. is it unhealthy to feel the need to control yourself all the time? i say yes. so fuck your will power, disney. kids already get enough of this shit without you chiming in.
Ladies, gentlemen, and non-binary identifying people: Kelsey spits the goddamn truth.
by Kaye, originally posted at SPARK Movement
Okay look, there has been a TON said about the difference between how male bodies and female bodies are policed in the media, but it is absolutely astounding how many people I come across who just don’t understand even the basics of these differences.
To make it easier for these people, I have constructed a SUPER FUN (read as: mildly depressing) game. Remember how they used to teach you the alphabet in kindergarten, by like, making you find the apple and asking you what letter it started with or some crap? Exactly. Let’s do this.
First: think of some men who do not fit “traditional” or socially-acceptable male beauty standards but still feature in TV shows and movies where their roles revolve around something other than their weight. Men like, say, Seth Rogan. Or Chris Farley. Or Jack Black. Or Danny DeVito. Or John Beluschi. I could go on.
Next, ask yourself: Do these guys get a “hot” girl despite their appearance or flaws in their personality? Because man, I can’t tell you how many times something like Knocked Up has happened to me in real life. You know, where my gorgeous, successful friends have sex with some asshole with no job and no motivation and decide to stay with him despite the fact that he’s a child in a man’s body. What does that hot girl look like? Seriously. Think about it. She’s probably thin, right? Probably white? Gorgeous head of hair that looks perfect regardless of when she went to bed or how drunk she was beforehand? Perfectly “natural” makeup? Boobs for days? Even if she’s not Katherine Heigl, she’s basically Katherine Heigl. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Katherine Heigl – she’s gorgeous – but I’m like 99% sure women who don’t look like Katherine Heigl are also in relationships.
Round Two! Think of some women who aren’t thin or white or have perfect hair or the skin of a newborn fairy-child, but still feature in TV shows, movies, and the like where their roles revolve around something other than their weight. Notice how thin women are always bosses of people, or wedding planners, or farmers or professional cat-wranglers, but fat women are always fat women. No matter what they’re doing otherwise, their weight is always the defining part of their identity. Can you think of any? I’ve got Queen Latifah. And she’s had roles that revolve around her weight, but at least she’s also had roles that don’t. Recently, there was a fat character in Bridesmaids whose weight was part of her identity but not the only part. In fact, other aspects of her personality (her forcefulness, her sexuality, her humor) were more important. Whether or not she was an altogether positive example of a fat role notwithstanding, that was incredibly refreshing. Can we get more of that?
I bet you can see where this game is going! Do these women get a “hot” guy despite their appearance or the flaws in their personality? And more importantly, is he genuinely into her? And I’m not talking about the farce that was Shallow Hal, where they strapped Gwyneth Paltrow into a fat suit and had Jack Black’s character fall in love with her inner beauty … while he was hypnotized and couldn’t see her outer self. The message there is that men need to be convinced of a fat woman’s worth, like it’s this huge shocker that she could be beautiful, successful, powerful, funny, well-liked, AND fat. I know. I’ll give you a second to fetch your smelling salts and recover from your swoon.
So who wins this game? I bet you could see this one coming, too. It’s the dudes. Dudes win everything, seems like. For one thing, there is a much wider variety of socially accepted male beauty than there is for women.Women, to be considered worthwhile and “hot,” have to be a certain body type. It’s not even about breast size or hair color anymore — it’s almost entirely about weight. Thin women like Emma Stone and curvy women like Christina Hendricks are generally considered equally beautiful by mainstream culture (as they should be!) while women like Nikki Blonsky and Gabourey Sidibe are commended on their bravery or their boldness if they wear a sleeveless dress. And God forbid Gabourey Sidibe go out without putting on her makeup one day – when Cameron Diaz does it, it’s because she’s carefree and natural, whatever that means. When a fat woman does it, she’s a slob.
Men do not experience the same kind of body policing that women do. They just don’t. If a guy is overweight, he’s dorky and cute. I’ve never seen any pictures of Seth Rogan in a bathing suit on the front page of a tabloid with giant letters deploring his “beach body” or lack thereof.
And yet a woman’s weight is seen by American culture as an outward manifestation of her personal worth. If she is overweight, she has failed as a woman. If she is overweight and not actively seen to be doing something about it (exercising for sixty-eight percent of her waking hours, eating three pieces of lettuce and a tomato for every meal, going to a nutritionist, going to a gym, going to a personal trainer, hiring a personal chef, getting costly and dangerous surgeries to butcher the shape of her stomach, publicly demeaning herself and her body so that the world knows she understands it’s not good enough), she has failed as a woman. If she is overweight and feels like eating a hamburger instead of a salad one day, she has failed as a woman. Her body isn’t her property, whether she’s fat or thin, but it seems that the more body she has the less the world is willing to let her have control over it.
by Kaye, originally posted at SPARK Movement
Turn off the TV for a second, if you have it on. I want to have a little bit of a conversation with you, and the last thing I want is for it to be interrupted by yet another weight loss commercial gimmick.
They crop up more and more often this time of year, don’t they? I don’t watch a lot of TV, mostly because I simply don’t have the time and I don’t have a set in my room at university and so I’m not exposed to a lot of commercials, as a general rule. Maybe that makes it easier for me to notice the sheer numbers of weight loss commercials when I’m home and I have the TV on as background noise. It’s especially pervasive during programming aimed at women, or on networks like Lifetime, and it makes me equal parts sad and angry. I mean, I understand why they’re there. Many women make resolutions to lose some weight in the coming year, and what kind of marketing department worth its salt wouldn’t try to capitalize on that? And making us feel ashamed of our bodies is far more effective now, when we’ve been eating holiday dinners and holiday desserts for a week or so.
But look, can I just tell you something? Lean in close, it’s a secret.
It is totally possible to be happy without changing a damn thing about your body. And moreover, there’s nothing wrong with it as it is right now: fat or thin, tall or short, differently-abled or not.
I know, I know. You’re probably thinking Who are you to say, blog lady?! You don’t know my life! And you’d be right about that, kind of. I don’t know the details of your life. But here, you can have some details of mine. I am 21 years old, 5’8” tall, something like 210lbs the last time I weighed myself (I don’t bother very often), and I wear an American size 16. My measurements are 44” 38” 42”.
Not a single one of those numbers matters one good goddamn to my identity, my personal worth, or whether or not I’m making out with someone on the regular. They’re just numbers. Do they really tell you anything about me that’s worth knowing? What if I told you instead that I love dinosaurs? Or that I can contort my face into expressions that would make Andy Samberg, rubber-face extraordinaire, incredibly jealous of my face-contorting abilities? Or that my extended family has six Boston Terriers, total? Or what if I told you that I lived in England for a semester, or that I’m in an open relationship with my cat on Facebook (because let’s face it, anyone who sees that and doesn’t think it’s funny isn’t anybody I want to be friends with)? Isn’t that a little more important (and a heck of a lot more interesting) than a string of numbers? Doesn’t it matter more?
I used to make the resolution every year to lose weight. I was convinced that nothing else I did that year would matter if I didn’t also drop 10 or 25 or 50 pounds. Who the hell did I want to lose this weight for? I actually did it once – I dropped 70 pounds and as a result I went down one pants size and started fainting. And I was not one jot happier or one whit more comfortable with my body than I had been when I was 70 pounds heavier. If anything, I felt worse: I had dropped all this weight, and I still didn’t like myself. What was wrong with me? Because surely there was something wrong with me, right, if I’d managed to dump all this weight and I wasn’t suddenly happier or more beautiful or more successful?
I really wasn’t losing weight for myself. I don’t think I’ve met anyone who has, which doesn’t mean they don’t exist but it does mean some things about women and weight loss, because nobody can give me an answer to the question “Why are you losing weight?” that doesn’t ultimately wind up being “Because I’ll be more attractive.” It’s an answer that tends to come in code as things like “Because my jeans will fit better” or “Because I’ll be able to wear a bikini,” but it all amounts to the same thing.
How about instead of a bunch of us making resolutions to lose weight – which is a nebulous and difficult resolution, tied into a lot of shame and self-loathing – we make a different resolution. We make a resolution that is better for us and better for our daughters and our sisters and anyone else who is watching our relationship with our bodies, and puts the focus on our health (mental, physical, and spiritual) instead of our weight. We make a resolution to love ourselves, instead. Because we are done with a culture that tells us we are never good enough, we are done with a culture that tells us our bodies are to be regulated and policed and shamed, and we are done trying to fit a standard of beauty that was not made by us or for us.
It’s not an easy resolution, that’s for sure. But we’re in it together.
Here are four awesome resources to start your year off bright:
Body Hate Apocalypse 2012 on Beauty Redefined
FAT!SO? Because You Don’t Have to Apologize For Your Size by Marilynn Wann
Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon
What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety by Jaclyn Friedman