Tag Archives: models

Fat. It’s Not A Sin Anymore.

28 May

The World’s First Size 22 Supermodel! That’s the headline on the cover of People magazine this week. The picture accompanying it is of Tess Holliday, a 29 year old model who also happens to be 5’5 and weigh 280 pounds. The typical model is about 5’10 and 120 pounds. Her face is what would be considered beautiful by conventional standards, a model’s face for sure. Her body wouldn’t usually even qualify her for plus size modeling. Most of the time plus size models aren’t even actually plus sized. They are approximately a size 10, which would be significantly less than Holliday’s size 22. To put this in perspective, the average American woman is a size 16-18. Although in Beverly Hills I am pretty sure it’s more like a size 2-4.

I grew up obsessed with fashion TV and magazines. Along with that obsession grew a fascination with models. From a very young age I could tell you the physical stats and personal basics about most models walking the runway in the 1990’s. Even in college my walls were plastered with pages from the magazines of high fashion looks I loved and the uber super models wearing them. I began to think that looking like them was an attainable goal.  Looking back on it now I realize that I had no clue that these women were born this way. Genetically predisposed to be six inches taller than the average woman, born with long thin necks, and given a symmetrical face that is pleasing to a camera. I wish someone would have clued me in to all this and it could have saved me quite a bit of grief in the body shaming and body acceptance department.

Maybe if there had been a beautiful woman on the cover of People magazine that was more than twice my size being called a supermodel, it would have made a difference. These days there are entire movements dedicated to body acceptance. Teaching girls and women to accept and even celebrate their bodies no matter what size or shape they are. There are plus size models on billboards and in major ad campaigns. Not only all this but now on any Disney show you will see the chubby girl, the kid with glasses and frizzy hair, the friend in a wheelchair, the neighbor with dyslexia, the divorced parents and even the super smart yet still attractive girl. 
I stopped buying fashion and tabloid magazines long ago. I had decided to stop feeding my obsession and stop supporting an industry that can be destructive in countless ways. Yesterday I bought 5 copies of this month’s People magazine with Tess Holliday on the cover. I want this month’s edition to sell out, I want the publishers, advertisers and my children to hear me. I wish I had seen a cover like this when I was 8 years old. 

At least I get to see it now.

xoxo

  

George Michael Tried To Make Me A Woman

16 May

One of my all time favorite songs is “Freedom” by George Michael. I remember the first time I heard the song and saw the video for it at the same time, it was life changing. Yes, seriously.

It was 1990, I only know that because it was right around the time of my Bat Mitzvah, I was thirteen years old. I had heard the song on the radio before and it had me at the very first opening guitar riff. The lyrics solidified the deal and the fact that the adorable George Michael was singing sweetened the package. Teenage girl radio blasting perfection.

Sometime soon after, I saw the video for “Freedom” on MTV. I was mesmerized, entranced, speechless. I had never seen and heard so much beauty in one place. There it was, this phenomenal song and these Amazonian women that I had been worshipping in the fashion magazines for the past few years. I watched Cindy Crawford caress her long silky limbs in the bathtub. I looked at Christy Turlington’s impeccable face and confident strut draped in nothing but a white sheet.
I actually remember thinking to myself, “Now, that’s what a woman is supposed to be like.”

It was the year that I was supposed to become a woman. I was no longer a child, I was a teenager. I knew that if that’s what a woman was supposed to be, then I was going to have some serious problems. It never once occurred to me that what makes a woman is what’s on the inside. What makes a girl transform into a woman is her brain and her actions. All I knew was that those women in that video were the what women were supposed to look like. That definition of femininity and womanhood stuck with me for years and years. I am sad to say that I am still beating that demon down at the door.

I spent that year learning Torah portions and practicing witty candle lighting honor speeches, that meant nothing to me. I spent hour upon hour searching for the perfect dresses and accessories for all the parties that would be held in my honor. The perfect menu, DJ, party favors and five tier cake was all hand picked. The service was meaningful for my family and the party was a success and fun for all who attended.

Over twenty years later and now a Mother of three, here’s my take away;
There were so many lost opportunities for the right people to step in and interrupt MTV and the magazines. I was lost in the media shuffle. I learned that I would never be good enough because I didn’t look like Linda Evangelista or Christy Turlington. I believed that every photo shopped image of every genetic jackpot winner should be my life goal. The magazines, the media and the images still exist. We even have the internet to contend with now. I am going to have to be louder. For my children, my voice and the images I provide for them of women will just have to be louder and bigger than those around them. For every billboard my kids see of a shiny naked woman on all fours hawking jeans, I am going to read them a book about Margaret Mead. For every magazine telling them how to get their body bikini ready, I am going to walk my Mommy hips from my lounge chair to the pool in front of my kids without flinching.

I still blast that song every time I hear it on the radio. It reminds me of how impressionable kids are, especially young girls. It also makes me realize how much these kids truly do need us as role models. After all, at Thirteen, I thought that George Michael and I were going to get married and live happily ever after one day.

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Merida Gets a Makeover – From Heroine to Ho.

21 May

Disney you have done it again. You have managed to find a way to add insult to injury in another Princess related situation. It’s not bad enough that all of the Disney princesses have teensy weeny waists and enormously buoyant breasts, or that they all have minuscule noses and perfectly pink pouty puckers.

But now, they have to be overtly sexy, seductive and sultry.

Case in point: Merida. The strong willed, bow wielding heroine from the movie Brave. Why couldn’t you guys just leave her alone? She was the best thing Disney had done for little girls since Mulan. They even messed that one up when they came out with Mulan 2 which revolves entirely around Mulan getting to marry her dreamboat Officer.

Very recently, Merida got a makeover of the HO variety. Instead of, “I am brave and will follow my heart,” her new message is more of a “Hey big boy you wanna get out of here and go to my place?”
Her hair is no longer a frizzy mop of curls, it is now smoothly cascading over her shoulders. Her waist has been made so small that if she were a real woman she would surely split in half. Her dress is exposing serious cleavage and way more shoulder. She is not wielding her signature bow and arrow in the new images either. After all, a male suitor might not find a strong independent woman attractive.

I don’t only blame Disney for making little girls feel the pressure to be thin, beautiful, and charming. I don’t completely blame Disney for making little girls believe that all they need to do is find a Prince and then life will be complete. After all, I am my daughters biggest role model, not an animated character. But, I would be a fool to think that the media and these fairy tale images are not making a mark on young girls despite what we do to counteract them. My 3 year old can name every single Disney Princess despite the fact that she has only actually seen the movie Mulan. These Princesses become ingrained in their psyches. As do the billboards of greased up underwear clad models on their knees crawling towards a man.

Yes, I am the parent.
Yes, it is my responsibility to decide what enters my house.
Yes, I realize that they can’t live in a bubble.

But, seriously Disney?! How about some social responsibility here? You should have left Merida alone. She gave me hope for the Princess race, she was a Princess I could handle.

Bring the real Merida back. I for one, think the vapid and defenseless new Merida totally sucks.

xoxo

What do you think? Tell the truth, I can handle it.

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