Tag Archives: body positivity

The Problems with “Strong is the New Skinny”

The line from that George Saunders piece I posted on Monday that’s really sticking with me is “Err on the side of kindness.” It seems so obvious, as far as life philosophies go, but the simplicity of it is blowing my mind. What a world that would be, eh, if we all agreed to live by that code?

Though he didn’t articulate it as such, I’m confident that Saunders would agree that kindness towards oneself is a key facet of this MO. My new piece for Role/Reboot this week is about body image and wellness, but I hope that the backdrop of self-love and self-kindness is apparent.


Related Post: Critiquing the Dove Real Beauty Campaign

Related Post: 1 in 4 women think they’re too fat to exercise


Filed under Body Image, Republished!, Sports

S(Monday) Scraps 106


1. WEIGHT: How not to be a dick to your fat friends. Spot on advice from Marianne at XOJane.

2. HOLLYWOOD: This clip is old, but man is it good. Watch Dustin Hoffman have a few on-camera epiphanies while talking about dressing like a woman in Tootsie.

3. RACE: Kiese Laymon on multicultural writing, what it means to be a “real black writer,” and the state of modern publishing. For Guernica.

4. ABORTION: My second favorite dude comedian, Rob Delaney, writes for the Guardian about why he’s pro-choice.

5. SEX ED: The always excellent Marianne Cassidy on the sex education she wish she’d had (but never got, because she grew up in uber-Catholic Ireland).

6. WRITERS: Roxane Gay at The Rumpus applies the Vida test to race and publishing. Guess what percentage of NYT book reviews were of non-white writers?

Related Post: Sunday 105: Bodies that matter, old cities, tiny islands, literacy tests

Related Post: Sunday 104: Bookish pie charts, bro Venn diagrams, the Girlfriend Zone, etc.


Filed under Body Image, Books, Education, Gender, Hollywood, Media, Really Good Writing by Other People, Sex

1 in 4 women don’t exercise because they’re unhappy with their looks

This week for Role/Reboot I went back to basics on body image and exercise. Inspired by the Sports Bra Challenge, I wrote about the damaging and oddly pervasive idea that exercise is only for people that are already fit. 1 in 4 American women don’t exercise because they are unhappy with how they look (in addition to other things they don’t do with the same rationale, like apply for promotions, talk to new people, go to parties)

. This is a thing, and it makes no sense to me. The last time you should feel self-conscious about your body is when you are actively trying to treat it well.

Screenshot_4_11_13_1_50_PMRelated Post: Why is it okay to put 16-year-olds in lingerie ads? It’s really not.

Related Post: Model behavior and a train of thought.


Filed under Body Image, Republished!

Body Positive

New piece up at Role/Reboot this morning on why body positivity, an idea I’m 100% in favor of, doesn’t jibe with all this “real women have curves” b.s. While I agree that fat people face discrimination, harassment and scorn, and that that needs to stop immediately, disputing the “realness” of other women (thin, muscular, flat-chested, trans, etc) is the wrong way to get there.

Relatedly, I have a new favorite line on this subject from Germaine Greer: “The body reasonably healthy and clean is the body beautiful.”

Related Post: My Role/Reboot piece on period sex.

Related Post: How the internet ad culture creates some seriously mixed messages.


Filed under Body Image, Republished!

Mixed Messaging

One of the nice things about having your own blog is that nobody but you controls the headlines, images, captions, or advertising. The downside, of course, is that your only readers are the ones that find their way to your little corner of the internet. And so, sometimes we make tradeoffs, in the name of expanded readership.

Here is an article I wrote for Minerva Place, that online lady mag I mentioned a few weeks ago. When I submitted the piece, I called it “Curvy Girl Dating,” or some such nonsense. The piece got retitled “Real Women Have Curves.” Oy! How embarassing! The concept of “real” womanhood is one I have railed against time and again. The idea that body shape is what makes us “real” women is my least favorite and the laziest trope of the body positive movements. Real women are skinny and fat and voluptuous and svelte and flat-chested and pear-shaped and tall and short and blah blah blah. You know the drill.

And yet, there it is, right above my byline.

What’s more, the ads surrounding my piece (which is about body acceptance and body positivity…) are weight-loss ads. Double oy. When you give your writing to other people to share, you give up some serious contextual control. Online ads are often keyword triggered, which leads to some very confusing ad/article pairings. Love your body! Get rid of your fat! Everybody is different and it’s beautiful! Look like the people on magazines! Mixed messaging much?

What do you think? Is it worth trying to reach a new target audience when you sacrifice some of the decision-making power to people (or automated ad generators) who may not be on the same page?

Related Post: Curve Appeal vs. American Apparel’s Next Big Thing contest

Related Post: Tyra Banks thinks calling plus size women “fiercely real” is a good thing…

Related Post: One gentleman didn’t think I “sounded” curvy on an online dating profile.


Filed under Advertising, Body Image, Republished!