Feminism | Posted by Mackenzie H on 05/13/2015

The Problem With ‘Strong Is The New Skinny’

Via Flickr

Let’s stop idealizing bodies altogether

The “ideal figure” of a woman has changed a lot over the years. But beauty has undeniably always been determined in relation to patriarchal standards.

During the Italian Renaissance, fuller figures were determined to be a direct reflection of one’s husband’s social and economic status and therefore plump bodies were considered ideal. By the Victorian Era, the hourglass figure — made possible by corsets — was popular. In the 1920s, when women won the right to vote, a sort of curve-less, boyish figure was fashionable. Marilyn Monroe arguably popularized a curvy figure with a slim waist but then the 1960s saw the origins of the skinny, tall, supermodel look that has since dominated the image of the “ideal figure” of a woman in Western culture …

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Feminism | Posted by Pippa B on 03/18/2015

How Weightlifting Helped One College Student Overcome Her Eating Disorder

When Nika Shelby, a student at Union College, started weightlifting it wasn’t to get fit. She was fighting to save her life.

In high school, her friends knew her as a powerhouse. She was the strongest member of any team and a force to be reckoned with. But the parts of her body that gave her strength — the thick legs and strong arms that identified her as an athlete — were also her greatest enemies. Determined to attain the body that she wanted, Nika pulled away from sports and retrained her laser focus on getting skinny.

She was good at it too. She spiraled into a destructive eating disorder complete with food-free days and an Adderall prescription obtained with the intent of appetite suppression. She successfully sent her metabolism …

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Feminism | Posted by Chloe H on 11/14/2014

Facts Don’t Lie: Teens Need Sex Ed and Access to Contraception

the IUD

Access to education is a fundamental right. But are all American students learning everything they need to know? The use of abstinence-only education in schools is archaic and absurd, and yet it’s a commonplace policy.

According to a 2012 Guttmacher study, approximately a quarter of teens between the age of 15 and 19 had received abstinence education without instruction on birth control between 2006 and 2008 and a significant amount of teens (46% of males and 33% of females) do not receive formal instruction about contraceptives before the first time they have sex. Thirty-seven states require sex education that includes abstinence while twenty-six states require abstinence to be stressed as the best method. The state of Mississippi has the highest rate of teen pregnancy and does …

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Feminism | Posted by Tasha S on 05/30/2014

Anorexia: A Disease, Not A Diet

“She was like, totally, anorexic,” my coworker stated, gesturing towards my other coworker. The formerly “anorexic” coworker in question nodded her head enthusiastically, as if being referred to as having suffered from a disease was one of her greatest accomplishments. I stared at her, wide eyed. I couldn’t tell if she was being serious or if they, like so many other people I came across, were throwing the term around loosely. “I dieted constantly and I was so skinny. I fit into the best jeans. Now I’ve gotten all flabby. I need to get anorexic again,” she commented. Oh. It dawned on me that anorexia, in her mind, was just a code word for restrictive dieting. It was painful to hear these things, having, by literal definiton, recovered from anorexia.…

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Pop-Culture | Posted by Paulina P on 04/2/2014

Body Shaming In College Health Services Needs to Stop

“So it says on your record that you have a history with an eating disorder.”

“Yes,” I sputtered. I know it’s true, but no matter how many times the nurse practitioners read it to me at Barnard College Student Health Services, it still feels uncomfortable.

“All right, well, we have a new policy where we have to weigh you once a year. I know we weighed you in the fall, but let’s just do it again.”

For years, these numbers ruled my world. Every day I would step on the scale, and that determined my worth—which is why in my second year of recovery, I refuse to weigh myself. In the fall, a nurse read the same medical history to me. She told me the same policy, and I stepped …

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Feminism | Posted by Erica L on 05/31/2013

“Are You Sexually Active?” A Gay Girl Dealing With Heteronormative Doctors

Even in this day and age, my sex life stumps my doctor

Over the past few weeks, my schedule has been jammed with a clusterfuck of doctor’s appointments in an attempt to solve a stomach issue I’ve been dealing with for more than three years. I don’t typically shy away from doctors – I’m not the type to fear any unexpected diseases or cry over needles – but after a few appointments, I quickly grew tired of the answering the same question: “Are you sexually active?”

The answer is always, “Yes, with women only.” The response is always a blush, a stutter. Doctors’ hands always get clumsy; they are always unable to function in a coherent manner. Their notes always turn into scribbled gibberish.

I’ve always felt more painfully awkward …

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Feminism | Posted by Shirley Kailas on 12/23/2011

The Plan B Decision: Sacrificing “Change We Can Believe In” for Expediency?

Like every other rational individual in our country, I was in a state of utter shock when I heard the news that, for the first time in history, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had overruled a fact-based decision by the FDA. While this type of nonsensical anti-choice maneuver is something pro-choicers have had to deal with in the past, the fact that it was carried out by a Democratic administration was nothing less than devastating. The administration ignored sound evidence (and women’s basic rights) and did what they are quickly becoming best known for, sacrificing “change we can believe in” for “never mind what’s right, I will shirk away from anything that could possibly be considered controversial and cost me a vote in my …

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Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 06/10/2011

Seventeen’s Pretty Amazing Contest Is Pretty Amazing

ohmahgawd an actress! lets look up to her!

ohmahgawd an actress! let's look up to her!

I’ll be honest: I have my issues with Seventeen Magazine. It’s not just that most of the magazine revolves around a traditional and restrictive definition of beauty and their idea of “health” still revolves around dieting and working out in order to achieve your “best body ever.” My biggest problem is what the magazine overall promotes as being important to its readership of teen girls. Are we really just obsessed with how to impress the guy we like and what  celebrities are up to? (No, hence, the FBomb exists). And even when “real” issues are brought up – like eating disorders or sex – they’re non-committedly grazed over (Again, oh hey, FBomb).

That being said, I think Seventeen has been …

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