Category Archives: Body image

Cosmo and positive body image: When a stopped clock is right

I’m not a Cosmopolitan reader. There are endless reasons to leave it on the magazine rack. And then there’s Cosmo fashion editor Charles Manning, who is both a dude and the fashion editor for Cosmo. In an editorial on the magazine’s site, Manning points out that teaching women to “fix their figure flaws” and camouflage their bodies to fit traditional standards of perfection doesn’t exactly promote a positive body image. Continue reading

Posted in Body image, Media & Media Literacy, Rape Culture, Sex | Tagged , | 29 Comments

The Hidden Truths of Major Weight Loss

Content Note: Some images in this post may be considered NSFW

Julia Kozerski lost 160 pounds, exactly the way that fat people are encouraged to. She changed her diet, she built in exercise, she stayed constant. Her goal was to change her body, and she succeeded. She went from weighing 338 (fat women can always tell you the exact number) to about 180. She’s also a photographer, and she has documented the experience extensively. Continue reading

Posted in Beauty, Body image, Fat | Tagged | 87 Comments

Would you limit abortion to 12 weeks if it meant getting a full range of other reproductive health benefits?

That’s the question I’m addressing at Al Jazeera this week, and I actually say yes, I would sign on to that deal. With the Texas abortion law restricting the procedure to 20 weeks and a series of other proposals in states across the U.S., there’s been all sorts of discussion as to when we should limit abortion rights. My general stance is that abortion should be entirely unrestricted up to the point of fetal viability, and then it should be permissible in cases of the pregnant person’s health (including mental health), life or fetal anomaly. But with the uptick in abortion restrictions, pro-lifers now routinely make the argument that in places like France, abortion is limited to 12 weeks, and the French have lower abortion rates and better health outcomes than Americans. Pro-choicers typically respond that France also has a bunch of other health benefits that make the comparison impossible, including good state-sponsored childcare, parental leave, free and accessible abortion before 12 weeks, affordable and accessible contraception, good sex education and on and on. But I’m curious: If there were an actual horse-trade and pro-lifers were willing to come to the table, would pro-choicers agree to limit abortion to 12 weeks if we could get all that other stuff? It’s a supreme hypothetical because in no universe would this actually happen, but if it did, I say yes. Continue reading

Posted in Body image, Health, Law, Politics, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights | Tagged | 212 Comments

Today in racist body policing

Many of you will have already read about Orlando student Vanessa VanDyke being threatened with expulsion from her private Christian school for wearing her hair exactly as it grows out of her head. There is the predictable pushback in online forums about how the school’s way of (not) dealing with racist bullying in their student body by body-policing the natural features of an African-American girl is not really any sort of racially discriminatory double standard – please use this thread to expound upon exactly how insulting that nonsense is. Continue reading

Posted in Body image, Discrimination, Education, Racism | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

I take back every negative thing I have ever said about beauty pageants.

Ladies! Go on and do your thing. Also, sorry, but USA WE’RE #!. Continue reading

Posted in Beauty | 66 Comments

Know Your Rights: Obesity, Disease, Employment Discrimination

In the last month or so, the AMA, acting against its own science council’s advice, has declared obesity to be a “disease.”
Continue reading

Posted in Discrimination, Fat, Health | 37 Comments

Open Letter to Michelle Obama: Cutting Calories at the Women’s History Museum

Dear Mrs. Obama,

I wrote to you several years ago when you first announced your anti-childhood-obesity campaign, stating my opinion that opposition to childhood obesity both focuses on a red herring instead of a problem and encourages low self-esteem in all children (and people) who perceive themselves to be fat. I was sorry never to get an answer. Continue reading

Posted in Body image, Fat, Food, Politics | Tagged | 48 Comments

Leave Amanda Bynes alone; look at yourself instead

I’m writing about Amanda Bynes’ very public breakdown at the Guardian, and what the media coverage says about American views on beautiful women: Continue reading

Posted in Beauty, Celebrity, Crime, Entertainment, Media & Media Literacy, Popular Culture, Sexual Assault | Tagged , | 22 Comments

Healing the Toxic Intoxication of Fat Hatred

I recently tried once again to read George Orwell’s 1984.

As always, I got a few chapters in and had to stop because it was so depressing that I couldn’t live in Orwell’s evocation of mind-controlled totalitarian world for a minute longer. One thing I did get out of the experience was adding one more time reading the early chapters including the Two Minutes Hate scene. Early in the book the hero, Winston Smith takes part in his office’s mandatory daily group hate ritual, an exercise in bonding and mind control. Continue reading

Posted in Beauty, Body image, Fat, Literature | Tagged | 75 Comments

Living in a pretty ugly world

Living for five years in California and then Oregon, Samantha Escobar felt okay about her appearance, more satisfied with her career and family and friends than she was concerned about weight gain or loss. After just over a month living in New York, she’s begun to feel ugly — “[u]gly enough that I view myself unpresentable to be in front of other human beings, as though I am literally disrespecting them by looking how I do.” It’s heartbreaking. Continue reading

Posted in Body image | 149 Comments

Angelina Jolie and her mastectomy. (It was going to come up eventually.)

In February, Angelina Jolie had a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. This week, she wrote an op-ed about it for the New York Times. And here’s all I’m going to say about it. Continue reading

Posted in Body image, Celebrity, Media & Media Literacy, Medicine | 118 Comments

Okay, lay off Beyonce, already.

So we know that Beyonce’s numerous sins include dressing sexy, being married, and saying that girls run the world when that isn’t technically true. But did you also know she’s singlehandedly responsible for luring young girls into sexual exploitation? Continue reading

Posted in Body image, Celebrity, Crime, Marriage, Music, Pregnancy, Rape Culture, Work | 133 Comments