Feminism | Posted by Kinder L on 06/10/2016
#Fitspo: Inspirational or Harmful?
Whether you’re a Tumblr fanatic, an avid Twitter user, or Instagram-obsessed like I am, it’s probably safe to assume you’ve seen posts captioned with the hashtag “#fitspiration” come across your News Feed at some point. #Fitspiration, or “#fitspo,” began to emerge on social media over the past few years, supposedly to inspire others (specifically women) to achieve fitness regimes. On the surface, #fitspo may seem like the ideal hashtag to empower women and encourage them to embrace a healthy, active lifestyle. But, for many, it actually comes at a cost.
As someone who has suffered from an eating disorder in the past, I can definitely attest to feeling terrible as I scroll past these “motivational” pictures. The images themselves — of ripped abs, toned legs and slim physiques…
Feminism | Posted by Gina S on 05/27/2016
Is It Possible To Help Friends Through Their Body Image Issues?
She didn’t want to go swimming for health, but to lose weight.
We all have body image demons, but some of us host demons that are louder than others. Some are lucky enough that their demons only appear on universally hellish occasions — like when standing in front of a 360-degree mirror, trying on swimwear. But my friends demons accompany her to everything she does, all day, every day.
My friend tells me she feels guilty and “fat” every time she orders dessert at a restaurant. She refuses to go into clothing shops because she dreads the crushing feeling of her “failure” to lose weight. When she does deign to go shopping, she leaves feeling upset and even worse than she did before. She asks me if she “looks fat,” …
Feminism | Posted by Vicki S on 01/9/2016
How To Put Your Resolution of Self-Love Into Action in the New Year
It’s harder than it seems.
I have always struggled with New Year’s resolutions because they so often revolve around losing weight — to look “good” in that bikini this summer and to achieve that “perfect body.” I am no stranger to negative body image spirals and have obsessed over my diet, frequently compared myself to others and allowed toxic messages from all intersections to infiltrate my mind. Given that we already live in a society plagued by -isms that constantly marginalize us in a variety of other ways, too, these negative forces work in particularly strong conjunction to bring my own self-esteem down around the beginning of January.
For the first time, however, I feel I’ve heard fewer conversations about what people want their bodies to look like and how …
Feminism | Posted by Amber B on 11/11/2015
What I Learned When I Refused To Shave
Miley embraced her armpit hair and so have I.
I recently decided to conduct an experiment. I decided to stop shaving my armpits to see if the seemingly insignificant factor of visible body hair would cause people to treat me differently — especially guys.
Shaving has long been part of my attempt to seek a sense of control over the way I look. Shaving was part of a routine that included plucking my eyebrows, putting on perfume, wearing a nice outfit, and maybe dabbing on some lipstick. I felt I needed to do this out of my desire to feel more socially powerful and worthy.
Additionally, before this experiment I felt I could only hook up with guys if I had shaved. There had been one exception: I once hooked …
Feminism | Posted by Aph Ko on 09/14/2015
Are “No Makeup” Campaigns Really Empowering?
Though it appeared in Vanity Fair last year, a photo for which Kate Winslet posed sans makeup recently inspired a social media-based no-makeup selfie campaign. Fans were encouraged to post their own natural selfies to Winslet’s Facebook page and people participated in droves.
I get why many are applauding this effort to expose the fact that without professional help, idealized celebrities look human, too. Makeup can (and should) be fun, but we currently uphold cultural standards that require women to embody an unattainable and ridiculous standard of beauty. In fact, walking outside without any makeup on can actually feel unnatural and even stressful for many women. I know I’ve personally felt like I need to wear make up to look “human” lest people ask questions like, “Are you …
Feminism | Posted by Lexi V on 08/5/2015
We Need To Stop Trying to Convince Girls They’re Beautiful
I was lucky enough to have a healthy body image for most of my childhood. I consistently played on various soccer and basketball teams, and between going to practice and scrambling to finish my homework, I did not have a spare moment to think about whether I was too skinny or not skinny enough. I cared about my strength and speed, not my looks.
This past year, however, I have thought more about my appearance than ever before. Last August I sustained my fourth concussion and was forbidden from exercising. For four months, I did little more than sit on my couch and ended up gaining a significant amount of weight. I always preached that everybody is beautiful no matter what, but suddenly found myself horrified that I was …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Kinder L on 07/16/2015
How One Anti-Body Shaming Campaign Actually Reinforced Beauty Standards
I have a mole on my right cheek. As a child, it was the physical feature about which I felt the most insecure. For years, however, my mother insisted that what I considered a flaw was actually a “beauty mark.” Thanks to her persistence, I eventually realized that my mole is not something to be ashamed of, but part of who I am. I slowly learned to love this beauty mark and ultimately discarded my life goal of getting it removed as an adult.
I recalled this experience when I learned about a recent social media trend called the #DontJudgeMe challenge. This challenge simply required that individuals post pictures of themselves appearing as ugly as possible — by drawing flaws onto their images or purposely applying grotesque makeup. …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Natalie H on 07/9/2015
‘Miss USA’ Switched Networks, But Should It Be Retired Altogether?
Miss America 2014.
NBC recently dropped the Miss USA Pageant, but the pageant quickly found a new home with cable network REELZ. However, it seems like this could have been a good time to stop televising the pageant altogether — and probably should have been.
Although the pageant often highlights the fact that it provides scholarships to its contestants and is thus an academic opportunity, this argument is undeniably incompatible with the contest’s emphasis on beauty. If the pageant is truly a contest of academic achievement, appearance should not factor into whether or not participants receive a scholarship or have any chance to enter the so-called ‘academic’ competition in the first place. How does the way one’s body looks in a bikini relate to their academic capability?
What’s more, the …