Tag Archives: messages

if mother nature didn’t like curves, she would have made the world flat

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Levi’s Advertisement

Entertainment, fashion, advertising and other industries have an uncanny way of making both men and women feel their bodies are unacceptable. They capitalize upon the insatiable desires to obtain the unobtainable, that is the ideas of perfection that are splashed before our eyes in film, television, magazines, the internet, etc.

Then… every so often a campaign that supports the idea of loving your self and your body comes along and makes some waves. Love the Levis copy “If mother nature didn’t like curves, she would have made the world flat.” And as the Lady Gaga Born This Way lyrics state, that thanks to the DJ’s that be have been deeply etched into our psyche, “There’s nothin’ wrong with lovin’ who you are… So hold your head up… Just love yourself…”

It’s up to each and every one of us to be discerning about what we allow in and out of our psyches and to choose what we will believe. I say…

L O V E  Y O U R  C U R V E S

We’ve all got ’em and they’re not going anywhere. Some are bigger, some are smaller but they are all yours. Own them! Shake them! Embrace them! They make up the beautiful shape of your unique body. The body that you live in. The body that carries you from place to place. The body that asks only for nourishment, hydration, rest and respect.

L O V E  Y O U R  B O D Y

How do you treat your body? What do you say to your body? Do you have a positive self-loving internal dialogue? Or is it more negative and damaging? Are there harmful mantras that you have whispered to yourself for so long that you don’t even realize it anymore? You are not alone (see here). But there is hope! You can consciously change those damaging whispers into empowering mantras that will lift you up instead of crush you (see here). We must all make our own choices about what we allow in and what we keep out, what we let impact us and what we disregard. Consider the external messages you receive and what you internalize. Take note of the messages to change, alter and tweak yourself to perfection and replace them with the reality that you can accept yourself as you are. There is nothing wrong with you!

I leave you with this. Y O U  A R E  P E R F E C T. Don’t change a thing!
(pass it on)

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vanity sizing

Vanity sizing is the phenomenon of ready-to-wear clothing becoming larger over a period of time. It has been shown that both women and men are willing to pay a higher price for clothing deemed a smaller size. Presumably, designers are more than happy to appease consumers by gratuitously down-sizing their clothing.

There is no consistency between retailers anymore. Shopping has become incredibly difficult for many, perhaps even most. What does true-to-size really mean these days?

For those struggling with self-esteem and body image issues, it is stressful enough to go shopping for clothing, but facing this extraordinary inconsistency between designers makes the arduous process of shopping merciless.

Aside from confusing our perceptions of our bodies, what message does this send to women and men about how much size actually matters? What have you noticed? What has your experience been?


next top model contestant’s body likened to “overstuffed luggage”

Australia’s Next Top Model (ANTM) contestant, Alissandra Moone, is underweight, according to the Australian body mass index. Two weeks ago, the 18-year-old was criticized by ANTM judge, Alex Perry, when he likened Moone’s body to “overstuffed luggage.”

Moone feels, “it’s a very bad message to be sending to young girls who watch the show.” She explains,”I know this has happened to other girls in the past but I was shocked when (Perry) said I was too fat.” Moone warns, “I’m only a size eight. There’s going to be a lot of young girls watching this who are bigger than me, and how’s this going to make them feel?”

A spokeswoman for the ButterFly Foundation, which is aimed at educating and supporting people with eating disorders, said: “The (fashion) industry has a responsibility for portraying women of all healthy sizes and in playing a strong educated role in the contribution they make to the serious issue of negative body image. We encourage Top Model to be conscious of the example they set to their impressionable viewers.”

Alex Perry stands by his comments and has refused to apologize. He answered his critics citing “incorrect reporting.” Perry claims to have not commented on Moone’s body shape or body image. Instead, he says that, “[he] was talking about her modelling skills.”

Incidentally, this is just one of countless times that models of various shapes and sizes get feedback such as this. Simultaneously, there have been efforts to govern the participation of models in fashion weeks worldwide.

In 2007, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) set forth industry guidelines in response to the death of Eliana Ramos, a Uruguayan model who died of malnutrition in 2007.

Diane von Furstenberg, president of the CFDA, explained that the CFDA has no intention of policing or regulating a model’s weight or her body-mass index.

von Furstenberg went on to explain that, “We create inspirational images and it’s important that we don’t encourage unhealthy behavior. We can promote health and encourage it, empower women and give them role models not by how much you weigh but by de-glamorizing models. Few women can become models and it lasts for a short time. Yes there is a problem and because we are in the business of fashion and image we can help.“ Ultimately, von Furstenberg explained that the responsibility lies with the agencies, not the designers.

Does calling someone “fat” or “overstuffed luggage” promote and encourage health? Or does it crush self-esteem and create a war between self and body? What a dilemma this presents to models, girls and women! Don’t accept your natural body, don’t become emaciated and your natural body is one that needs to be fought. What do you think about all of this?


honte sur vous vogue paris

A few months prior to Vogue Italia trying its hand at broadening the stringent societal definition of beauty in their July 2011 ‘Real Beauties’ issue (see Real Women Have Curves), the 15-page photo spread of the 10-year-old French model, Thylane Lena-Rose Blandeau (see here for photos), graced the January 2011 issue of Vogue Paris, leaving the Parent’s Union up in arms about the sexualization of children in the media. Their statement to the Daily Mail: ‘Photo shoots requiring her, a ten-year-old-girl, to dress in full make-up, teetering heels and a dress with a cleavage cut to the waist across her prepubescent body deny Miss Blondeau the right to be the child she is.’

Thylane does not stand alone. Elle Fanning, 13, and Hailee Steinfeld, 14, have also signed on with top designers.

This so beautifully represents the ubiquitous tug of war that occurs with more and more frequency and vigor. What do you think? How young is too young?


awww, you’re so cute!

I let this article go without blogging about it but since then, I have gotten lots of emails about it (thank you to everyone who is thinking of me!). So, I figured what the heck! Before I get to the article, I want to give you some statistics for perspective:

  • 46% of 9-11 year-olds are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets, and 82% of their families are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets – Gustafson-Larson, A.M., & Terry, R.D. (1992). Weight-related behaviors and concerns of fourth-grade children. Journal of American Dietetic Association, 818-822.
  • 42% of 1st – 3rd grade girls want to be thinner
  • 51% of 9-10 year old girls feel better about themselves when they are dieting
  • 9% of 9 year olds have vomited to lose weight
  • 53% of 13 year old girls are unhappy with their body
  • 78% of 18 year old girls are unhappy with their body
  • The #1 wish of girls 11-17 years old is to lose weight – Maine, M. (2000) Body Wars: Making Peace with Women’s Bodies. Carlsbad, CA: Gurze Books.
  • 81% of 10 year old girls are afraid of being fat – Dove Self Esteem Fund Initiative
AND WHEN THESE GIRLS GROW UP…
  • 67% of women 15-64 withdraw from life-engaging activities, like giving an opinion and going to the doctor, because they feel badly about their looks – Dove Self Esteem Fund Initiative
AND THE BOYS…
  • 45% of boys are unhappy with their bodies
  • Nearly 1/3 of teenage boys engage in unhealthy and dangerous behaviors to control the weight and the size of their body, such as skipping meals, refusing to eat, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives. – Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2005). I’m, Like, SO Fat! New York: Guilford.
Lisa Bloom wrote a thoughtful piece for the Huffington Post that addresses the ways in which we engage with and speak to little girls. She writes about the power of speaking to our girls in such a way that calls attention to their bodies, appearance, clothing, hair, etc., teaches them that their appearance is more important than anything else.

We need to recognize our children as unique individuals beyond their appearance. What precisely? Intelligence, interests, abilities, intentions, thoughtfulness, etc. I want to challenge you, and us all, to begin to shift the ways in which we address our children, both girls AND boys, and to show them that they are more than their appearance. OH! and don’t forget to actively listen to what they have to say! Let them feel heard and let them know that what they have to say and share really matters to you.


honor your body – part 2

Then I asked the same people to send me what they say, think about, do and believe that is honoring of their authentic selves and their bodies. Here is what they said…

I just think about all the amazing things it does that other people’s bodies struggle to do (everything from heart/lungs working to having limbs that work to being able to grow a baby). When I’m feeling crappy when I look in the mirror, listing these things off make me appreciate what I’ve got!

I like to think of the movie real women have curves, esp when the mom is giving her a hard time about eating flan and she takes a defiant bite in her face. Makes me think of saying FU to all the diet crap/ED voices out there!!

Mantra– my body is my templeActions — certain yoga poses; e.g. goddess, the warriors, dancer, standing squat

I stopped focusing on how much I wanted to lose weight and changed my thinking to ‘I want to be healthy and strong’…..PRESTO! success! I used to say I have such fat thighs…now I say I have strong thighs that carry me through this world! I don’t focus on weight when working with my clients. Healthy eating, safe smart workouts and positive mind and spirit is what gets results. Oh and consistency!

A smile is the best face-lift” – said a 67-year-old in response to an acquaintance who had told her “you should keep out of the sun – you look so much older than when I saw you last”

Not keeping “skinny clothes” and buying clothes that fit my body the way that it is today.

my daily belief: enjoy each and every day because no one else will do it for you!

eating ice cream cones, looking people in the eyes and greeting them with “how are you” versus “you look good,” using my butt to shimmy up mountains hiking, sharing chocolate cake with pistachio ice cream with my daughter, singing in the car, allowing myself to feel big, live big, never ever being small again (in relationships, to myself, to my beliefs), and giving every woman I meet the regard that we all deserve.  Being in healing big wonderful relationships, not starving ones.  This is how I honor my soul, my body then follows suit.

When I am doing something strenuous I often think “thank  you God for making my body work so well.  I can’t believe that at 50 years old, I can make my body move the way I want it to and to have so much fun.  I am so grateful for having a strong, healthy body to go through life with. I honor my body and I take care of it because it does so much for me.”

When I was in 10th grade I read my mother’s book by Leo Buscaglia “Living, Loving, Learning” at one point he says, “If you have fat thighs, celebrate those fat thighs and you’ll find a fat thigh lover.” I applied that mantra to the parts of my teenage body that were unacceptable to me. I am 45 now and those words I have remembered after all these years.

I used to have nice legs. That’s one thing that happens as we age, even the good stuff withers. After 4 children I now have varicose veins and it would really bum me out. My stepfather had his leg amputated from diabetes and it really made me think. He bought a prosthetic with flames running up the side and would laugh loudly as the kids stood in awe of it. I figured I was lucky to have 2 legs and if this man could still be joyful after his loss then the least I could do was accept mine.

I honor my body by…..dancing Zumba!…getting good sleep…swimming, a therapeutic and relaxing workout…eating organic fruit & salad…knowing when to stop drinking (alcoholic beverages)…stretching after workouts…being conscious of my posture esp. when I’m sitting at the computer for a while…taking power naps

Every time I put eye cream on and see a wrinkle, I tell myself…gosh, I’m glad I have so much laughter in my life
 .

With time, women gain weight because we accumulate so much information and wisdom in our heads that when there is no more room, it distributes out to the rest of our bodies. So we aren’t heavy, we are enormously cultured, educated and happy. Beginning today, when I look at my butt in the mirror I will think, Good grief, look how smart I am! Must be where ‘Smart Ass’ came from! -from a forwarded email

I have an limited sense of color… so each day, I make it a point to notice how other women appreciate their body in color and I reach out to at least one. I smile and say something nice about the color, pattern or flow of what they are wearing. It’s so nice to see the ladies react and smile. It always lifts my day, how I feel about my own body, and how I can also dress myself. It’s especially nice when I am with my son and he adds his two cents and say something nice to the lady too.  

When my daughter was born, it changed how I thought about my body. I realized that what my body is capable of is powerful and profound — so much more than the superficial components we usually focus on. My body literally nurtured and grew her heart, brain, lungs, limbs and being into maturity. When I pushed her into the world, I was so proud of my body’s power and endurance. It is simply amazing!

In almost 73 years I am more awake now to appreciating the wisdom of the body. It informs me how I feel, how thoughts develop and where my soul has a home. I am learning that the universe is in me. Guiding others to their body wisdom through awareness of their true sensations while knowing and having compassion for those perceptions and beliefs formed by past conditioning heals me as well.

I thought my body betrayed me when I learned I had osteoporosis, but learned my body was doing the best it could and was asking for my attention and care. That is my daily intention. And so the story goes that I and my body are moving along more together than ever before listening to each other. We are all listening to each other. 

Today I challenge YOU to think about the messages you take in, the mantras you march to and the judgments you wield. I challenge you to consciously discard them and replace them with conscious loving kindness, self-acceptance and self-honoring. Encourage your friends, your family, your children, anyone and everyone in your life to do the same. Be intentional.