Yeah, I know, stating the obvious, but in fact, even for someone of Chinese ethnicity, I am decidedly not on the pale end of the spectrum. And every time I flip open a fashion magazine here in America or visit my home city of Beijing, decked out with all its skin-lightening billboards, I am reminded that because of my skin tone, the world wants me to change.
Previously referenced as “the Snow White complex,” the pressure to be white has overtaken most of the world as an indisputable standard of beauty, despite the fact that every standard of beauty we try to mold ourselves to is culturally constructed.
In Asia and India, skin lightening has soared into popularity thanks to …
When I was fourteen, my dad told me that the most important thing I would ever learn was how to be alone. Granted, he said this as he took away my cell phone, Facebook and cut off all ties I had to the outside world. I was crushed to say the least. At the time, high-school-freshman-me felt like my dad was completely overreacting to the fact that I had made out with a boy, especially since he was my boyfriend. That meant something, right? And my friends had all kissed boys, so I didn’t understand why it wasn’t okay that I had, too.
However, the time spent on my virtual desert island, as sucky as it was, really allowed me time to think. …
For over a year not very long ago, I had a plethora of very strange rules for myself to follow. I could only eat certain things at certain times. I had numbers that dictated my actions, numbers of calories and daily intake percentages and pounds. It was a suffocating process; luckily, I never followed my regulations enough for it to impact my health. Still, it affected my mind quite a bit.
Perhaps more damaging to my self-esteem was my body image. Unlike the majority of the population, especially teenagers, I really don’t enjoy food very much. This made any disordered eating-type behaviors extremely easy for me.
Most of my friends are exceptionally thin, as in magazine-ad thin. Most of them are athletic and/or naturally thin; as …
It sickens me that one of the most common issues plaguing young females today is that of body image distortion.
I say this as a person who once hated her body so much she welcomed the idea of going to extremes to obtain perfection. Whether it was by starving, purging, or over-exercising, if it “guaranteed” perfection, I would do it. It never occurred to me that the perfection I had in mind would never be obtainable. Nor did I realize that recovery would be a life-long struggle to relearn what it felt like to be full.
A year ago, I decided it was time that self-loathing relinquished its firm grip on my life. I did not consult a psychologist because I thought of my recovery as a journey I would …
Body Image in the Media: Glee Gets It Right, But Are We Ready?
Actress Ashley Fink
Every once in a while, usually when 30 Rock is a re-run, I’ll flip over to the CW. And I kind of get the draw of the utterly escapist fantasies that shows like 90210 and Gossip Girl offer. Serena Van Der Woodsen / Blake Lively is like 14 feet tall with blonde hair that cascades over her shoulders as she effortlessly hails a cab on her way to a club – that just so happens to blithely serve the underage – in order to sabatoge another rich, white, tall, thin, personality-less girl in a plan that always seems to involve drugs or faked pregnancies or a trip to Geneva or something that probably could’ve been solved had she invited her nemesis to have a nice talk over …
Saturday Vids: In Honor of the Endangered Species Summit
Today, I'm honored to report that I'm one of the panelists for the New York City branch of the Endangered Species Summit - an international summit occurring during March 2011. The aim of the summit, as the London branch put it, "is to save future generations of girls from the misery that turns women against their own bodies. The challenge – to make people understand how and why this is an emergency, to show them how they can do something about it, and to inspire them to embrace change."
In honor of the summit, I'd like to take this opportunity to share some of my favorite videos on the topic of body image (and how generally fucked up it is in our society).
I’d say I think about my body and my body size at least 10 times a day. After all, any time I go out (or stay in my house) I see images, ideas, slogan, diet commercials. Every one is telling me what I am doing wrong, or what I should be doing to improve my weight, body, looks.
Now, this is not going to be a rant about how society and media are ruining our lives by bombarding us with images and ideas that we (I’m going to focus on women for this piece, not that this isn’t happening to men) need to be skinnier. Because the thing is I truly believe …