Category Archives: Body Image

AIBC Poll: Would You Do No Makeup Monday?

This morning, Today Show anchors went live without their usual bevy of beauty products in the name of normalcy. Yes. They, too, have wrinkles and age spots and dark circles under their eyes. Who knew?

no makeup

Check out their bare-faced debuts here.

Empowerment or PR stunt? You decide.

nomakeup2

Either way, AIBC has to give them props. It takes a strong person to face and embrace that makeup-free reflection in the mirror each morning, much less to share it with the rest of the world. Would you bare it all (from the neck up) to your co-workers? Take our poll and let us know!

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Fear and Self-Loathing in Hollywood

It was not that long ago that AIBC commented on the prevalence of internet fat-shaming of Hollywood stars and their response to the negative remarks. Now it looks like we need to call out those stars for a minute.

This week, Gwen Stefani has taken a lot of heat for the pic she tweeted of herself getting an autograph from Sting in 1983 thanks to her own comments about her “chunky” figure in the frame.

. steffani pic

Here’s the full Yahoo Shine article on the aftermath and other celebs who’ve dissed themselves online. The problem? Only an anorexic person would call the girl in that photo fat. Average? Yeah. Chunky? Not so much. Pleated khakis aren’t flattering to anyone.

While it is endearing to realize that even seemingly perfect people can empathize with body image issues, Stefani’s public display of self-depreciation has us wondering what kind of message this sends to young ladies just coming into their own about their bodies.

Hint, hint: Barbie is a myth. You’re beautiful as is.

Hey, Ladies! Don’t Be a Super Bowl Killjoy

Admit it, girls: no one of us is perfect. Don’t worry. The guys aren’t listening, and we’ll never admit you said it later in the interest of blogger/reader confidentiality. This morning we posted a timely tidbit you may have passed on to your significant other about being a gent on gameday. In the interest of fairness, AIBC now offers you the female version of said list.

Yes. This is completely necessary. If you plan to sit in on any Super Bowl festivities when the horn blows tomorrow, be sure to read this first.

1.) Don’t be that girl.

football widow

This is the most important game of the year. The spread is perfect. The friends are gathered. This isn’t the time to suddenly get the urge to talk relationship b.s. (or pretty much anything that doesn’t relate to the game, commercials, halftime show or party). Save it until after the game if you’re feeling insecure about him paying more attention to the TV or his pals today. Football season is over tomorrow anyway. Save the drama for mañana .

2.) Don’t assume. Not every other female at the party is there to talk about daycare and eat cheese dip. Some ladies really do like football without any male influence whatsoever.

football girls

This rule also applies vice versa if you are the football chick in the crowd. If it’s clear the female you sit on the couch next to is more interested in whether Flea will be wearing only a sock at halftime, don’t bother mentioning that wide receiver’s numbers for the year. Just offer her a frosty beverage and smile.

3.) This is not your gym or a Weight Watchers meeting. Unless someone specifically asks you how many calories are in that cheeseburger or is wagering on the number of sit-ups it would take to burn off those chips, keep it to yourself. Not everyone in the room made a New Year’s resolution to go Vegan or lose twenty pounds by swimsuit season, and some of them would probably like to enjoy the party without over-analyzing the deliciousness.

football food

Lighten up! Just pop that pizza roll in your mouth already and indulge for a minute. You can hit the treadmill double time tomorrow or eat half as much gluten. Whatever you need to do. Just can’t let loose? Suck on that celery stick and smile proudly for keeping your willpower/higher standards without guilting everyone else. Have a pat on the back. Go, you!

4.) Stupidity is not cute.

football bieber

Ignorance of the game of football is not a crime, but using it as a reason to bat your eyelashes at someone is just stupid. Learn the difference. If you honestly don’t know much about the game, ask questions around the plays or when a willing tutor is near the food table. Save big questions for after the game, or get an overview from some knowledgeable fan before it starts. Don’t sell yourself short by playing the girl who just doesn’t get it so some person will pay attention. If that’s your only game, you need a new playbook.

5.) Treat his friends as you would treat your own. This may sound like “Good Hostess 101” stuff, but it’s a common discourtesy. Just because his buds sometimes vaguely resemble animals doesn’t mean you should treat them like dogs. Sure. They are mostly scruffier, messier and less hospitable guests than your peeps; but they’re his, and he’s yours. It’s a package deal, sweetheart. Feed them. Football them. Find a way to love them yourself. Their wolf pack mentality may just rub off on you if you actually join them. You might just find you like being the Alpha female.

football Wolf-Pack-Only

If you stick to these rules, you’re sure to have a catty-free Super Bowl Sunday this year. Game on, and may the best team win!

Melanie

Shrinking Women

Here at AIBC, we have been exploring body image, and we have touched on why women have body image issues in general.  We would like to share this video of Lily Myers, a student performing for Wesleyan University at the 2013 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational.  If you do nothing else today, take the three and a half minutes to watch this.

Lily’s poem was awarded Best Love Poem at the tournament, and it is our opinion that it is a lesson in loving yourself, and how our role models shape us either willingly or unwillingly.  Lily really provides some insight into how expectations for men and women differ and how much setting examples for our daughters really does matter.

Enjoy,
The Catty Team

Finding Me In Spite of Myself

Throughout my life I have battled insecurities about my image. I was told I had big hips in sixth grade by several mean, pre-teen girls. I was frequently reminded that I had large thighs each time my grandmother would pinch an inch and lovingly tell me just how envious she was that I had “a little meat on my legs.”  Little did I know, these comments would stay with me and haunt me much of my life.

Most would consider me of petite stature…standing 5’3″ tall and weighing under 115 pounds. Even so, I am a bit curvy. I have always had a round derriere, hips and thighs. I also matured much faster than all of the girls my age as my upward trajectory stopped abruptly in sixth grade. I gained both a full C cup and my period in fifth grade, much to my chagrin. I neither knew what to think or feel ….and there were lots of feelings. What I did notice was that my appearance was very different than my peers. At this time in my life, I began to feel insecure and even envious that the girls my age were still in training bras and looked like little ….well…..girls,  yet I was looking more and more like a woman.

When I reached my teenage years, I was so self- conscious of the way my legs appeared that I hated to wear bathing suits because I didn’t want anyone to see them. I would refuse invitations to go to the pool or boating with friends, especially if a guy would be in near sight of them. I also hated wearing shorts for the very same reason. Needless to say, Daisy Dukes were never part of my wardrobe.

In college, I had short, dark hair while most of the buxom coeds were rocking long, blonde locks and pencil-thin bodies. I felt most men would find me unattractive because of my short hair and big thighs. I decided at that point to make a change. I tried dying my hair and let my manly cut grow out. Of course I wasn’t satisfied with that either, because I promptly died my hair back to my original color because the blonde was absolutely hideous.

I was dating and getting my heart broken just like most college girls my age, but for me it seemed to cement the theory that there was something wrong with me. I began dieting and working out incessently. I was obsessed with the thought that something about me needed to be fixed. My new diet led to an eating disorder and an obsession with exercising. I had lost so much weight that I became sick, but I was starting to see results and I couldn’t stop it. I counted calories and fat grams until I was eating nothing of any substance and my body started to shut down.

Everytime I went to social gatherings I would scope out the room and size up the competition….making me feel even more insecure. I always felt inadequate. Big boobed, blonde- haired, blue-eyed girls who had legs up to there. And there I was me trying to figure out what I needed to change about myself so that I could look like the buxom beauties. I was 5’3″ and now far too thin.  I definitely no longer filled out the C cup. Instead, the girls were now size B pancakes. So I decided to get an augmentation. I was now a DD and believed that surely these new additions would make me feel more attractive. But of course they didn’t….

You see I had learned to be critical of  just about every aspect of my appearance at a very young age. I have hated myself and my appearance more days than not. But somehow I found someone who loved the things I hated most about myself. While it was difficult to accept his love of me and for me, I grew to accept his flattery. I would sometimes cringe when he complimented my appearance because I couldn’t see it for myself, much less believe he felt that way.  I hated myself and felt guilty for shutting him out.  Thankfully, he never stopped complimenting me and eventually I started to hear him….and really believe him.

I eventually married the man who couldn’t get enough of my big ass and thighs. He even likes my short, dark hair. Today when I look in a mirror I actually see myself staring back at me. I am now a Mother and have a few “markers” that remind me of that…..loose skin around my waist-line, stretch marks on my upper thighs and breasts, gray hairs and I have even developed the “thass” (the area between my ass and thigh that just kind of runs together). Although I am definitely showing signs of aging with crow’s feet and laugh lines,  I am for once starting to become comfortable in my own skin. Sure,  I still have many insecurities and struggle with things I need to work on, but I am healthier and more content now. With each new wrinkle or pound I gain, I remind myself that I am beautiful just as I am and that those “markers” are markers of a full and content life.

 Looking back on years past, I wish I had been more confident in my appearance and had learned to love myself a little more. I think about the younger me and wish I had afforded myself the opportunity to wear those shorts. Maybe I will one day.

AIBC Team Member,

Krissi

Recently I have been moved by the Dove Beauty campaigns that are designed to promote self-esteem among girls. Please see link below.

http://www.dove.us/Tips-Topics-And-Tools/Videos/Building-Self-Esteem.aspx#ooid=M5c3FhYjpzGxzFXBRbsTq7qrlgdutPoW

Fatty Paradox 2: Breaking Through To The New Me

I had a dream last night…

…that God took a human form and came to Earth… He was in the form of a rather plump middle-aged woman… and He was in my pool, swimming with all my friends.  I was in the pool, too… but separated from everyone… kind of in a corner, by myself, uncomfortable and mopey.  Everyone was around God asking Him questions and everyone was laughing and reveling in His presence.  I held back… afraid… ashamed.  But I finally built up my nerve and swam over to where He was.  He saw me and looked at me with an expectant smile.  I asked Him, “How do I love myself?”He slipped his arm around me and I began to weep.  He said, “Say it to yourself a little louder every day.”There was more, but I don’t remember it.So for starters, it’s too hard to say that out loud today…so I’m just going to type it.I love myself.

loveyourself-beach

Lesbians and Body Image

Do lesbians care about body image?

15 years ago, my answer would have easily been an emphatic NO.

Of course, if you had asked the straight, 15-year-old me if I hated my body, I absolutely would have choked back the tears and mumbled yes before running, crying from the room. Why is that? What was different for 20-year-old lesbian me? What changed to make her so comfortable? But more importantly, why do I identify more with my self-conscious, 15-year-old self now at age 35?

Let’s flash back to high school. I was just like every other teen struggling with weight issues and my body image. I weighed the closest I ever have to what my driver’s license claims when I was 18. And I thought I was enormous. Disgusting even. I vividly remember dieting for most of my senior year. In reality, I looked great – there is actual photo evidence – and I would give anything to look like that now. In high school, most of my best friends were cheerleaders and Homecoming Queens. But I couldn’t get a date. I didn’t get invited to parties. And every boy who ever came to my house was either telling me about problems with his girlfriend, working on a project for a class, getting tutored for an upcoming exam, or asking if I could get my friend Janet to go out with them.

Fast forward to my freshman year in college. It was then I realized that I actually liked girls a lot more than I had ever liked boys. In fact, identifying as a lesbian seemed to finally allow me to be comfortable in my own skin. Comparing myself with the 95-pound, size 4 cheerleaders in high school was killer and completely unrealistic. Turns out that wasn’t who I was, and although I was probably 30 or 40 pounds overweight, I didn’t need to wear a cheerleader uniform, or be a size 4 to be attractive. I felt completely at peace with that. In fact, when I came out, I played around with my image like many LGBT teens do. In this new world of women that were attracted to women, it was liberating to be able to dress masculinely and be cute or be super feminine and still be considered attractive. I didn’t get too crazy, but I definitely wore my share of tank tops, flannel shirts, and baggy jeans (complete with a wallet on a chain). I didn’t care what other people thought. For the first time, I wasn’t concerned with trying to impress anyone else. I was me. I liked girls. Sometimes I wore flannel and sometimes I wore dresses, and that was okay.

Then after college, along came The L Word… Thanks, Showtime!

Lesbians could finally watch themselves on TV. There were characters we could identify with, people like us. People with very successful lives and careers, families and relationships (in the beginning anyway). Except I couldn’t help but notice one thing. These ordinary, everyday lesbians sure were glamorous.

This is what Showtime told us a lesbian is supposed to look like.

I am not sure of the timing, but somewhere during the six seasons of this show, I really began struggling with my body image again. I enjoy being girly and feminine, but I don’t feel like I look good doing it with the extra 60 pounds I carry around. Yes, I’ve gained weight. A couple of years ago I lost 75 pounds, then I gained 30, lost 10, gained 20… I currently feel like the frumpiest, most unattractive person on the planet. Definitely not what the glamorous women of The L Word would be interested in!

Because, OMG Shane.

Every lesbian wanted Shane. Or wanted to be Shane. But let’s get real, Shane doesn’t really exist, right? I mean, plain white t-shirt and perfectly ‘natural’ makeup and ‘messy’ hair every day. Right.

And if you didn’t like Shane, there was always Bette.

I wonder how lesbians younger than me would answer the body image question? Will they go through a similar love-hate cycle with how they perceive their bodies? Today, I definitely have issues. I hate the way I look at least 4 days out of 7. And no amount of make up or hair products can fix that. Other days I feel pretty good about myself. Is my waffling due to aging, societal perceptions, or media portrayals? If there were more lesbian role models out there would my issues be lessened? What about younger girls looking to mass media for a lesbian they can identify with, will their struggles be similar to mine?

I am calling this Lesbian Barbie. How does she make you feel? Yeah, she’s a little butch, but she has perfect, perky boobs and no bra… a flat tummy and low-rise jeans… tattoos and a wallet on a chain… dog collar and leather jacket. Is this a realistic portrayal of a lesbian?
I may have seen one in the wild once, at a bar. Or on Halloween.

Have you seen TV’s newest lesbian character yet? Charlie has a lesbian daughter, and yeah – I don’t look like her either. (Two and a Half Men)

Thanks to shows like The L Word and networks like Showtime, lesbians – even the ones that grew up in a small town and never knew another lesbian – can see themselves portrayed on television. And just like straight women, they will often have un-realistic standards and perceptions to measure themselves against. All women struggle with body image issues at some point in their lives. Lesbians may be more accepting of other women’s bodies — but we are still our own worst critics, and I think that can be said for any woman at any point in their lives, straight or gay. And just like every other woman, I need to motivate myself to exercise more regularly, spend more time on my yoga mat, and work to improve my own feelings of self-worth. My body image issues always seem to lessen when I am feeling more energized and full of life.

And I should probably stop watching TV.

Showtime’s attempt to re-harness the success of their first lesbian series “The L Word” led to this series which touted women who were real lesbians in Los Angeles living their lives in front of a camera (think The Real World)… these “non-actresses” look just like all the women I see walking around the grocery store during lesbian hour on Sunday. Right.

And I guess I should just be thankful I don’t feel like this:

Do you have any other thoughts on this topic? Leave me your comments!!

Thanks for reading,

Rebecca
zenkitty2

#omgshane
#lesbianbodyimage
#iloveflannel

Other articles about lesbians and body image:
Are lesbians more satisfied with their body image than straight women?
Lesbian Women Feel Less Pressure To Have A ‘perfect’ Body
The L Word Effect