Posted by: kierstin1220 | May 7, 2009

Promoting All the Wrong Things

The controversy surrounding Miss California seems as though it is never going to go away. However, this blog post has nothing to do with her controversial words at the Miss USA pageant that have made some question whether she  should remain Miss California. A new controversy has emerged, and it has something to do with some enhancements she had done, and who helped pay for them.

Miss USA

During an interview on CBS’s “The Morning Show” Keith Lewis, the co-Director of the Miss California Pageant, admitted that the pageant had helped fund Carrie Prejean’s breast augmentation surgery.  The reasoning behind their decision? Lewis told “The Morning Show”:

We want to put her in the best possible confidence in order to present herself in the best possible light on a national stage. Lewis

When the anchor questioned why pageant officials did not try to persuade Prejean from wanting to get breast implants, Lewsi responded:

It’s a personal choice. Well, I think that it’s about how a woman feels about herself. In terms of, for me, it’s not a personal choice that I would recommend. But at the same time, I know so many women that have done the procedure and feel better about themselves and the way they present themselves.

And I think that’s the question is, whether or not, when you’re looking at that procedure as an option, am I going to feel better about myself? It’s not about one night. It isn’t about one night of competition. And doing a procedure like that for one night of competition would be foolish. Lewis

However, it was also brought up that having larger breasts contributes to better scores during the swimsuit section, which Lewis did not deny. The anchor then questioned whether the pageant should be reworked in such a way as not to put so much emphasis on beauty and perfection. Lewis seemed to dodge this question.

Nevertheless, this is a serious issue that needs more attention. Pageant officials are now paying for breast augmentation surgeries and god knows what else to give girls a leg up on their competition. However, it  isn’t natural. It’s like baseball players using steroids. Why bother judging something that has  been artificially enhanced? Of course she will look better than the competition because she had help, it’s not her natural appearance.

The media and society’s obsession with perfection is spirally out of control. Something needs to be done quickly before surgery becomes ordinary and a natural look is unusual.

Posted by: kierstin1220 | May 7, 2009

Hypocrisy at its Finest

victoria-beckhamWhenever I look at a picture of Victoria Beckham, I can not help but recall an old interview she did with People Magazine. In the interview she claimed that she “looked awful naked.” She appeared so tiny and petite, how could she possibly look bad naked?

However, she offered up a reasonable explanation as to why her body was less than she wanted it to be: her body wasn’t able to bounce back so quickly after having three children. A commendable reason enough, and it made her more likable to her friends, and to me almost three years ago.

I’ve got so much saggy skin on my stomach. I might fit into jeans, but trust me, I look really awful naked. Beckham

Oh, but how she had us fooled. This week Beckham revealed her new underwear campaign for Emporio Armani -her second- and there is not a hint of saggy skin to be found. Perhaps she had made that earlier statement in an effort to connect with the normal people, but her lies aren’t welcome here.

During the unveiling of her seemingly flawless pictures, Beckham was quick to mention that her perfect physique was due to all of her hard work and not the work of professional re-touchers. How humble of her. She said during an interview:

You know, I’ve been doing a lot of running. Because obviously, you think I look okay, but if I’m going to be taking my clothes off I will need to tone up a little bit, so I worked hard to have the confidence to do it. Beckham

 

vb

Obviously we think she looks okay. I hope that if you have nothing to do but work out nonstop with the help of personal trainers and nutritionists and professional chefs that she can manage to look like that. I know she must work had to keep such an emaciated frame, but give us a break. You know you look good, and you knew it all along. Don’t patronize your fans by making them think you’re just like them because your not. I’m certainly not married to David Beckham.

Check out this video to watch the unveiling ceremony.

Posted by: kierstin1220 | May 7, 2009

Not Everyone Likes Faith 21

As reported earlier, Forever 21 has recently debuted a new clothing line that includes plus sizes, known as Faith 21. The clothes will be similar to those already sold in Forever 21, but will just run in larger sizes, which are difficult to find in typical department stores.

However, not everyone is happy about the promotion for this new line.

kim

In a recent issue of US Weekly, the new Faith 21 line was introduced to millions of readers across the country. Linda Chang, Marketing Manager for Forever 21 told US Weekly:

It’s for a curvier girl that loves fashion

Just don’t tell Kim Kardashian that she’s a curvy girl. Recently, I have been getting pretty fed up with Kardashian; one moment she’s flaunting that fact that she has curves, and the next moment she’s telling the world her dress size so that people don’t think that she’s fat. If you’re that comfortable -or should I say proud of your body- why do you care what others think of you?

Anyway, I digress. In the article promoting Faith 21, the sub-head states: “Show off your curves in budget-saving dresses,” and it includes a picture of Kim Kardashian. It also states in the article that Kardashian is a fan, it doesn’t state that she buys the brand. I doubt that she buys, or has ever been in a Forever 21 store before. Plus she has curves, as she likes to remind us, and I thought she was proud of them. Well, she immediately issued a statement to ensure that there wasn’t a mix-up.

I am a huge fan of Forever 21 and I’m very happy they have expanded their line to include a plus-size range, but I am not in that size category and this article makes it sound like I am! I am a curvy girl and I love my curves, but curvy and plus-sized are two very different things. I work really hard to maintain my curves while staying slim and healthy, so to be classed as a “fuller-figured woman” of extra large proportions is a little offensive. For the record, I am a size 2, not 2XL.

From reading the article I never get the impression that Kardashian shops there, but that’s beside the point. Her blog post insinuates that it is okay to be curvy, but not plus size, and that to be plus size is to be unhealthy. By saying its offensive to be called plus size will prohibit some girls from purchasing from the line.

If Kardashian was offended by the reference, she should have chosen her words more carefully as she offended others in the process.

Posted by: kierstin1220 | May 7, 2009

Making Fashion Accessible to Everyone

faith 1The trendy and budget-friendly clothing store Forever 21 has decided to expand their current line to include plus sizes. The new line is entitled Faith 21 and debuted in stores on May 1st. The Forever 21 Web site has placed on announcement on its main page in an effort to grab some attention for the new line.

The new line could not come at a better time. With all the emphasis in the media on stick-thin celebrities and the newest fashion trends hitting the runway, there is finally an option for those who may not fit into the small sizes at department stores. Faith 21 offers these women the option to grab hold of these trendy styles, while also not breaking the bank on them.

The LA Times blog reports, “the average American woman is a size 14, with many who rarely find cute and inspiring clothes, especially when the majority of designers don’t often produce beyond a size 10.”

Faith 21 will offer shirts, jeans, tanks, leggings and skirts in a junior plus size as well as XL, 1X and 2X sizes. The styles and designs will mirror those already sold in the Forever 21 stores: trendy styles of casual wear all the  way to prom gowns. The new line surely offers something for everyone.

Although the new line will only debut in select stores on May 1st, be sure to check it out at the Forever 21 Web site.

Posted by: kierstin1220 | May 7, 2009

Jessica Simpson Revisited

My very first blog post this semester tackled the New York Post’s unjust portrayal of Jessica Simpson and her supposed weight gain. As I had stated then, she wasn’t by any means overweight, but she also wasn’t a stick figure. The abnormally skinny version of Jessica Simpson had been emblazoned in our memories, when she famously donned a pair of skin-tight  Daisy Dukes that showed off her months of hard work and sacrifice in the gym.

We can’t fault her for wanting to take a break from such a demanding regimen, but nevertheless the New York Post did, and to the extreme. Negative criticism of one’s weight suggests to anyone who reads and looks at those imagines depicted in the New York Post that gaining a couple of pounds is not okay -in fact, it is the worst thing in the world.

Anyway, it has been a few months and a few pounds lost since this scandal broke out. And now Jessica Simpson is speaking out on how she  deals with the intense scrutiny from the media all the time. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair Magazine, Jessica said:

It comes with what I do, and I know that every day the media’s going to challenge me, is going to want to bring me down. But I feel like I’m at such a place that I own myself, and it’s authentic. I own that authentic part of myself, and none of those words are harsh enough to make me believe them. I can’t imagine saying some of the things people have said about me about anybody else. Jessica Simpson

I think that everyone should take a page out of Simpson’s play book. Yes, she did kind of cave when the negative comments originally circulated by hitting the gym and losing 10 lbs. in two weeks -that’s just not normal. However, she hasn’t taken her weight lost to the extreme, like so many other celebrities have done. Simpson is happy, content and proud of her body,and should be upheld as a role model for young girls on how to admire and care for your body.

Posted by: kierstin1220 | April 28, 2009

The Disappearing Girl

Every time you turn on the television or go onto the Internet there’s tons of rumors circulating about her and her supposed nightly drug and alcohol  escapades. In the past two years, Lindsay Lohan has made three stints to rehab, yet, nothing seems to be working. Her career has all but evaporated before her eyes -much like what her body is doing before our eyes.

A much younger and healthier Lindsay Lohan

A much younger and healthier Lindsay Lohan

Lohan originally captured our hearts in Disney’s remake of The Parent Trap, but since then, a combination of too much fame too young and a rocky home life has led Lohan to spiral out of control. Now she makes headlines for her weight and not for her talent as an actress.

After a very public breakup with her girlfriend, Samantha Ronson, it seems as though Lohan will do just about anything for some attention. And that includes starve herself. These recent pictures of Lohan illustrate just how dangerously skinny Lohan has become.lindsay-2

 

Lohan vacationing in Hawaii

Lohan vacationing in Hawaii

According to Dr. Kent Holtorf, Director of the Holtorf Medical Group in Los Angeles (who does not treat Lohan) the 5’5” starlet weighs around 95-100lbs with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 16. But in order to be considered “healthy” she should be at least 113-149lbs with a BMI of 18-25.

There are signs of muscle wastage, clearly her bones are protruding and she looks quite rigid. She looks like skin and bones at this point, Lindsay clearly looks malnourished and unhealthy for her frame. Holtorf told Fox News

Although the news media is finally speaking out about Lohan’s weight, it comes as too little too late. She, and many other celebrities like her, have been too skinny for too long now. It just so happens that Lohan isn’t as pretty to photograph anymore because her bones are protruding -and she doesn’t seem to mind.

Lohan does have a serious problem, but the media needs to address that she isn’t the only one. Bodies like hers have become the norm in Hollywood.

Posted by: kierstin1220 | April 15, 2009

A True Inspiration

42-year-old Olympic winner Dara Torres

42-year-old Olympic winner Dara Torres

Ever dream of winning an Olympic medal? Did you ever think you could win one when you were 42 years old? Dara Torres believed in herself and did just that and brought her total Olympic medal count to 12.

Torres competed in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing and became the oldest swimmer to medal at those games. Her years of sacrifice and extensive training obviously paid off, but Torres credited her miraculous win to something else: her daughter, Tessa.

I think the biggest difference was that I realized that swimming wasn’t the most important thing in my life, Torres said in an interview with Tampa Bay Online.

Her life has become more balanced: she no longer focuses exclusively on her rigorous training regimen. Instead, she splits her time between her new family and training for the athletic physique she had when she competed in the Olympics in the ’90s. 

Torres has chronicled her achievements in her new book Age is Just a Number.

However, Torres’ story isn’t just a fairy tale. She admits during her interview that she suffered from bulimia during her time in college.

She grew addicted to exercise, purged after meals, and was in a perpetually dark mood because she obsessed about food all the time, according to an article by the Chicago Tribune.

I still feel a little bit of that dark place, Torres said.

Torres admits that she now gives into her cravings -whatever they may be- to keep from reverting back to her old habits. She also discussed the steps she is going to take to ensure that her daughter doesn’t suffer from the same distorted body image that she did years ago.

I’m not going to be obsessive about things. If she wants a snack that’s maybe not the healthiest thing I’m OK with that. I make sure to give her the healthy stuff and to make sure she gets her milk in, her fruits and vegetables. It’s so hard at this age, because they are so picky what they’ll eat. … She’s so young, so I don’t know what to expect when she gets older. But I am going to make sure she has a very positive self-esteem and body image of herself. Torres

It’s nice to see someone excel against the odds, and overcome a disease that leaves so many crippled.

Posted by: kierstin1220 | April 14, 2009

Tracking Your Child’s Weight

The ususal fast meal

The usual fast food meal

As a result of our fast paced lifestyles, something usually suffers or is neglected, and most of the time that something is our diets. We grab the quickest thing we can find while we are on the go and usually sacrifice any nutritional value for that given meal.

This nasty habit is especially detrimental for the children that are in our lives, because they become accustomed to the greasy burgers from the nearby drive-thru and shake their heads in digust at the green vegetables that we put on the table.

As a result, children consume too much fast food, which has really begun to affect their waistlines.  A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘ illustrates the rise in obesity among our children.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention study on obesity
Center for Disease Control and Prevention study on obesity
obesity_21

 

Because of the startling rise in obesity in the last 35 years,  some states are taking it upon themselves to make sure the problem doesn’t escalate anymore. In Massachusetts last Wednesday, the state’s Public Health Council passed a measure that would require public schools to measure  the Body Mass Index -BMI- of students in first, fourth, seventh and 10th grade and include the results on their report card, according to the Berkshire Eagle’s article.

BMI is calculated differently for children and teens than it is for adults.  Schools will send home a packet explaining the results and any steps that should be taken to help children lose weight. To read an article for how to calculate BMI for children and teens click here.

Although the measure was passed unanimously, some people have mixed feelings about measuring children’s BMI.

Mandatory BMI reporting laws force parents to walk the fine line between encouraging healthy eating and promoting unhealthy weight loss strategies. Rebecca Manley, founder of the Multiservice Eating Disorders Association in Newton, Mass., according to Boston.com

However, school officials and lawmakers agree that the new laws are meant to help the children, not embarrass, and will hopefully prevent the problem of childhood obesity from escalating anymore.

Posted by: kierstin1220 | April 7, 2009

Insight Into the World of Celebrity

Throughout our lifetime, we are bombarded with countless images that dictate the definition of beauty. Studies have shown that as a result of these images only about 2 percent of women would call themselves beautiful. Every day thousands, if not millions, of young girls, teenagers and older women alike, compare themselves to the digitally-altered images that are strewn across magazines, advertisements and television. The outcome is a significantly lowered self-esteem that prompts the repeated questions “Am I beautiful enough?” “Will anyone ever find me attractive?”

In previous blog posts I have exposed the magic of Photoshop and how you have to be wary of the validity of the images you stumble across on a daily basis. Even models and celebrities aren’t as beautiful as they appear to be -that should be somewhat encouraging- but most of the time it isn’t. We still strive to achieve the impossible perfection that we tell ourselves is only another 5 pounds away.

A new book by Emmy-award winning reporter, Shaun Robinson, reveals that the celebrities suffer from the same body-image anxieties that plague the average-American woman and man on any given day. Robinson’s Exactly as I Am is the answer to the countless letters and e-mails she has received over the years from young girls asking her how to achieve the look and style of their favorite celebrities. In the book, Robinson reveals that celebrities suffer from the same insecurities as the normal person, and they even find themselves comparing their bodies to other celebrities. It’s a vicious cycle.

The cover of Robinson's book

The cover of Robinson's book

An excerpt from the first chapter of Robinson’s book can be found on NBC’s Today show Web site. Here is a brief selection from the excerpt.

Chapter one
You are who you are: Beauty and self-acceptance
Pretty … skinny … perfect.

These were the words I kept hearing over and over again as I spoke with teenage girls across the country. What did they love about themselves? What would they change? What image were they trying to live up to? Whether they lived on the East Coast or the West, in the Midwest or the South, their voices seemed to speak in unison: “I want to be pretty. I want to be skinny. I want perfection like I see on TV and in the magazines.” These girls created a beautiful rainbow of skin tones, hair textures, and figures, from curvaceous to boyish. They were tall like basketball players, small like gymnasts, and in between like the girl next door. I found them all uniquely beautiful, but they all admitted to feeling pressure to somehow look better than they did. And it was also clear that their idea of beauty was all about being pretty and thin and perfect. What an impossible standard to live up to! Robinson Exactly as I Am

A new mentality has been developed -to be beautiful you have to be thin. While writing this sentence I realize how absurd it sounds, but then when I go home and look in the mirror my former self seems to dissipate and I find myself looking at a young girl in the mirror, wondering how I could be beautiful like the images I see on television. Rising above the social norm is more difficult than writing about doing it.

Click here to hear Robinson talk about her book on the Today Show, because the video wouldn’t embed on WordPress.

I find it interesting that Robinson admits that celebrities realize the power the media has over the self-esteem of young girls. She references Jamie Lee Curtis, Celine Dion, Diane von Furstenberg, Janet Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Queen Latifah, Nicole Miller, Julianne Moore, Mandy Moore, Martina Navratilova, Nancy Pelosi, Diane Sawyer, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Gabrielle Union, Meredith Vieira, Vanessa Williams, Oprah Winfrey, to name a few, as those who provided some insight and advice for how to cope with body image problems. Yet, I see one glaring paradox: These same women most likely at some time or another allowed their photographs to be Photoshopped. And the celebrities listed here also conform to the stereotype that to be beautiful you must be thin. Heck, Robinson herself looks like she can be no bigger than a size four.

I think it’s a great thing that people are attempting to bring this issue to the forefront, but as the old cliche goes, actions speak louder than words. It’s time for someone to finally step up and go against what society deems as beautiful and be completely unapologetic for it.

Posted by: kierstin1220 | April 6, 2009

Do I Look Fat?

A common question boyfriends, husbands and men in general tend to cringe at when asked by the woman in their lives. There never seems to be a right answer -say yes and she thinks that you’re lying to her; say no, and well, you know what might happen.

But this commonly uttered phrase is also a name of a documentary made by Travis Matthews -and no, it’s not about a woman’s quest for perfection. It’s about when men obsess over this question themselves.

Do I Look Fat? is a documentary about gay men, body image and eating disorders, according to the documentary’s Web site. Below is the synopsis of the documentary:

This “big meaning” [of the word "fat"] is explored with a careful lens turned toward the gay community itself. From the personal stories of seven diverse men who have struggled, or continue to struggle, with eating disorders and body image issues, Do I Look Fat? uncovers reoccurring and interconnecting themes that support this “self-esteem disorder.” Themes such as childhood wounding, internalized homophobia, the effects of HIV/AIDS on the body and the prevalence of substance abuse histories are among a few that underscore the film. Perhaps most importantly, the film doesn’t shy away from asking why these common histories have, until now, been left in the proverbial closet at a community level. Do I Look Fat? Web site

I have been focusing so much on women and the effects the media has their body image, I completely forgot about the other side of the equation: men. I knew that there are plenty of images out there that suggest to men that they should be toned and muscular, like the body builders on the covers of magazines. However, while doing research for other blog posts I discovered that while women desire themselves to be thinner -usually too thin- men want to be heavier. I didn’t really see this as that detrimental to their health.

That was until I stumbled across this documentary.  Many more serious factors contribute to poor body image for homosexual men than my blog covers, however, I think it should still be discussed. On the Web site are autobiographies by the men in the documentary and they chronicle the events that led to their eating disorders and how they have dealt with them.

And this documentary has been recognized by the American Psychiatric Association Conference and the National Eating Disorders Association Conference for Matthews’ look into eating disorders with the gay and lesbian community.

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