Friday, October 30, 2009

See me on Bitch Flicks!

The amazing Bitch Flicks website is currently featuring one of my movie reviews. I love this site because it focuses on something that is not discussed nearly enough—how women are depicted in film. And it puts all of its films through they Bechdel Test before they are declared a "Ripley's Pick":

1. There must be two named female characters
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something other than men.

What's really frightening is that so few films pass this test, and you can see a list of those that do on the right side of their website.

Please be sure to check out this outstanding site and look at all of their fabulous reviews. And a big thanks to Bitch Flicks for the work they do and for posting my review.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

America's Next Top Role Model

194 pounds
A few weeks ago I heard about Tyra Banks' 2007 refusal to lose weight despite media pressure to do so, and even though this is an old story, it's one that clearly bears repeating.

As I'm sure many of you know, Banks made a name for herself as a model—both on the runway and on the cover of magazines—and for many years she was whippet thin, weighing around 130, which at 5'10" made her BMI 18.7. Considering that anything below 18.5 is underweight, it's clear that Banks' former weight was impossible to maintain over the long haul unless she gave in to industry pressure to all but stop eating and exercise to the point of being obsessed.

At her new weight of 161 pounds, Banks is still well within the healthy range. Her BMI is 23.1, and she could gain another twelve pounds and still not be considered overweight. Let me repeat that: at 5'10", Tyra Banks could weigh 173 pounds and still be healthy! As I said in my "Delusional Girl" post, I think it's important to recognize that just because the number on the scale isn't closing in on one hundred pounds, that doesn't mean it's not a good number.

But Banks has been retired from modeling and has had her own talk show on The CW for years. I've never watched the show, but now that I know about Tyra's unwillingness to conform to social pressure to be super thin, I might just have to catch an episode or two.

Apparently, back in 2007, someone in the media snapped an unflattering photo of Tyra in her bathing suit and splashed it all over the tabloids with nasty headlines like "Tyra Porkchop" and "America's Next Top Waddle." Not one to let others determine her self worth, Banks took matters into her own hands, wearing nothing but that same bathing suit on her daytime show and posing for the pictures you see here in order to prove that she did not need to lose weight.

And in response to all of the media scrutiny, Banks railed against these comments, claiming that she was definitely not fat and admitting that she still "feels hot." I admire the hell out of Banks for criticizing the notion that, with a body like that and a BMI of 23, she's overweight and saying that she's never felt so sexy, but it's her comments about how the media can hurt adult and young women alike that really impresses me. Banks says she gets "so much mail from young girls who say, 'I look up to you … I think you're beautiful. . . So when they say that my body is 'ugly' and 'disgusting,' what does that make those girls feel like?"

Banks raises a very good point: what does happen to the rest of us when someone as stunning as Banks is called ugly? I'll tell you what happens. The next time we look in the mirror, we see someone who is more than ugly, we see someone repulsive, someone we hate. And we start to feel even worse about ourselves than we already did. As Banks rightly points out in the spread below, those of us with lower self-esteem often revert to starving ourselves when we are faced with such impossible standards. Yes, this type of reporting is not only nasty. It's destructive—for me, for you, and for society.

Some people have called Banks a hypocrite. After all, she used to be one of the models who made us think that being thin means being beautiful, but Banks is hardly to blame for an industry that's been making the thin=beautiful equation long before she arrived on the scene. So rather than criticize Banks for any part she plays in the societal notion that all attractive women need to look like runway models, I'll thank her instead for admitting that there is more than one way to be beautiful.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Whip it good

194 pounds
I finally saw Whip It this weekend, and I have to say that the movie did not disappoint. I had low expectations because some people we trust had told us they didn't like the film. I always think it's better to go into the theatre with low expectations than high ones anyway because it makes it easier to enjoy yourself if you're not sitting there thinking something like, I thought this was going to be the greatest movie ever made, but this dialogue is awful!

Maybe the movie was a little bit silly and predictable (and possibly not an accurate depiction of roller derby life), but, like I said, since I had low expectations, I didn't even notice.

Because to me it didn't feel predictable as much as relatable, and it didn't seem silly as much as youthful and fresh. And the story is stand-up-and-cheer inspiring: teenage Bliss (played with loads of empathy and huge Bambi eyes by Juno's Ellen Page) has no agency or direction in life (and nothing that really makes her happy) until she sees two roller derby teams in nearby Austin shove it out one fateful night. After trying out for one team, she develops into a derby prodigy named Babe Ruthless who has as much drive and discipline as an Olympic athlete. In this way, it's a wonderful girl empowerment story that will join the ranks of films like Girlfight and Bend it Like Beckham before it.

But the reason I'm writing about the film on this blog is because I couldn't help but notice that all of the actors looked so darned real, which I absolutely loved. They were all different shapes and sizes—Ellen Page's Bliss was an adorable little french fry of a girl while her best friend Pash was a lovely roller coaster of valleys and curves.

And the girls on the various roller derby teams were similarly diverse—sure, Drew Barrymore was in phenomenal shape, but some of the others—Kristin Wiig and Juliette Lewis included—looked their age and sported imperfect stomachs, thighs, and arms without an ounce of shame or self-consciousness. (It's hard to be self-conscious, I suppose, when you're skating around a roller rink wearing a short pleated skirt, a sleeveless, stomach-baring top, and fishnet stockings.)

But it wasn't just their bodies that looked imperfect—it was also their hair (sometimes stringy or uninspired), their makeup (often greasy and overdone), and their skin (blemished on some occasions and wrinkled on others).

Of course, I credit the female director, Drew Barrymore, with keeping these women from looking artificial and plastic while still allowing them to look attractive and even hot. It makes perfect sense to me that it was Barrymore—an actress who's gone through a variety of looks and dress sizes over the years—who felt comfortable letting these women look so true-to-life. In that way, the direction feels both emotionally and physically honest. And the movie is clearly better for it.

For when Babe Ruthless and her cohorts take to the rink, it's incredibly easy for those of us sitting in the audience to cheer for them because they look a lot more like us than most of the women we see staring back at us from that giant movie screen—more authentic than artificial, more lifelike than fantasy, more likeable than distasteful.

So I applaud Barrymore and her talented crew of actresses for baring not only their wonderfully diverse bodies but also their middle-aged and appealingly flawed faces.

And I encourage all of you to support Barrymore—and all female directors by extension—by taking your daughters and nieces to see this film (either now while it's still in the theatre or later on DVD). After all, if we don't support women who give us what we want, we have only ourselves to blame.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Letting go of my pound (or thirty) of flesh

194 pounds
It's been four days since I've worked out—that's the longest I've been inactive since I started this blog, and it scares the bejesus out of me. I'm going for a walk as soon as I finish this post and hope to not have another lapse like this for a while, but my behavior this week still gives me pause. Because I can't believe how easy it is to lapse into bad habits and how difficult it is to get moving again once I stop.

I've talked many times on this blog about how I lost weight from 1999 to 2007, but I haven't yet fully explained why that stopped in 2007. I think it's time to do that.

Of course, this is hard for me to talk about—to own up to my failures and admit that I haven't always lived the way I wanted to live and the way I advocate that others live. Since I don't believe in dieting, it's probably obvious that what I do believe in is healthy living and healthy eating. I made a big change in the way I do those things back in 1999 (what some people call a "lifestyle change"), and until 2007 I stuck with those changes. That's eight years of living in a way I'm proud of. You might be thinking that's a long time to be healthy, but you have to remember that I don't believe in denying my cravings or eating rabbit food. In fact, as many of you already know, it's just the opposite: I believe we have to give into our cravings rather than letting them fester and ultimately grow into a two-ton chocolate sundae we can no longer ignore. Instead of denying ourselves what we want, I simply believe that we've got to eat as much healthy, homemade food as we can and that we've got to exercise almost every day for as long as possible. I also believe that the number on the scale is not NEARLY as important as these two things. And I've believed that for ten years now.

So what happened in 2007 to throw me off my game? It's actually pretty simple.

In June of 2007, my husband and I found out that the college where we were teaching back then was in danger of closing. It was a huge emotional and financial blow that ended up taking its toll on both of us physically. As soon as we found out about the precariousness of the college's future, our boss told us that we should start looking for other work, and we did exactly that. What followed was eleven months of sending out job applications and interviewing, six months of trying to sell our house and looking for a place to live in our new town, and six months of subsisting in a rundown rental house before we finally moved to the beautiful home we live in now. (Thanks, Tracey!) When all was said and done, the whole ordeal took 21 months. From June of 2007 to February of 2009—one month before I started this blog—our lives were in a state of upheaval.

I want to say up front that I know these are mundane concerns—we're certainly not the first people to have to find new jobs in another part of the country. No, our challenges were not unique, but that didn't make them any less taxing.

And that's kind of what I'm trying to get at here—Dave and I went through a stressful year and a half, the kind of year and a half most people are forced to endure at one point in our lives, and the result was that we came out the other side with good jobs but also with much worse health.

At the end of the 2007-2008 school year, even Dave had gained weight. This is a person whose weight had not changed since I met him in 1990, but after that exhausting school year, he was—for the first time in his life—five pounds heavier than when I first laid eyes on him.

And, of course, I had gained much more than five pounds. In June of 2007, right before the bad news was delivered, I had bottomed out at 176 pounds, a low I had also hit the previous summer, but one that I was working hard to maintain. But, as you may know, when I started the blog in March of this year, I was up to 203 pounds—that's almost a 30-pound weight gain. When I realized what had happened, my first response was, How did this happen??? I had been losing weight for eight years, but as soon as I stopped focusing on my health, I began to let go of all that I had accomplished.

So how exactly did it happened? What happened was that we were so worried about being out of work and so tired from working full-time and spending all of our free time applying and interviewing for new jobs that we cut out everything we should have kept. Worst of all, we basically stopped exercising altogether. Maybe we would squeeze in a walk once a week, but even that was rare. And, just as importantly, we cut back how much we cooked at home. On the drive home from our former place of employment, we had to cruise through a neon alley of fast food restaurants and take-out eateries, and we stopped at those establishments more times than I care to admit. Our lives became about getting through the day, the week, the year, rather than being about living. We had the sense that if we could just make it through that awful year—and find new jobs and a new place to live—then we could deal with our health later. We would be happy, we told ourselves, when it was all over.

To some extent, this worked. We did find new jobs and, eventually, a great place to live. But the cost was wicked—five pounds for Dave and thirty pounds for me. And I can't help but look back on those 21 months and wonder if the cost had to be so extreme. Couldn't we have found more time for working out? Why wasn't I able to squeeze in a thirty- or even fifteen-minute workout here and there? Was it really necessary to let things get so bad???

I suppose there is nothing I can do about the mistakes of the past, but what I can do is avoid them in the future. So as I start to feel myself falling into the old trap of putting my health second to other, seemingly more pressing concerns (like work), I feel like I have no choice but to put my metaphorical foot down. I simply refuse to allow it to happen all over again. I refuse to let my health fall to the wayside.

Will there ever be another four-day period when I go without exercising? I have no doubt that there will be. But there won't be another four-month period. I promise you that. Not now. Not ever. Not if I have anything to say about it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wild things and the cruelty of children

194 pounds

I saw Spike Jonze's film adaptation of Maurcie Sendak's beloved children's book, Where the Wild Things Are, this weekend, and I can’t stop thinking about it. Maybe because the film is primarily about something we’ve all been through—childhood and the challenges that come with it.

And the main idea—that children are “wild things” that sometimes need to be let loose inside their own emotional and intellectual universe—is one that resonates with me on many levels. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I think it’s crucial that we all let ourselves go a little crazy sometimes—whether it be how we act or what we eat. And this film—as well as Sendak's original—seems to agree with this point.


But on another level, in a much more subtle way, the film broaches the issue of childhood cruelty, especially adolescent cruelty, when it shows the friends of Max’s older sister mocking Max and eventually crushing him inside his homemade igloo, making them a different, more malevolent kind of “wild thing.” This moment happened early in the film, and it was flat out terrifying: both in the sense that I worried for Max’s safety—Would he be able to breathe? Would he get out alive?—and because I was appalled by the older kids’ lack of concern for him as he crawled out from under the snow and ice and eventually stood next to his destroyed igloo in tears. It was this moment that took me back to the ugly part of childhood—the times when it seemed that no one cared about anyone else’s feelings or well being. Ultimately when Max arrives on his island, the Wild Things of his imagination want him to create a world where there is no unhappiness, no loneliness, so that they won’t have the desire to hurt each other, and we intuitively understand that this is what Max wants, what we all want: an exile from sadness, both in childhood and in life.


This may seem like a strange post for a blog about not dieting, but from my point of view it’s directly related to the topic at hand. For, as much as I hate to admit it, I believe many of our ideas about our bodies are formed during childhood, shaped by the wild and cruel behavior we encounter as kids on a day-to-day basis.

For instance, I remember hearing people make fun of one girl for having cellulite in fifth grade. Let me repeat that—in fifth grade! I also remember being told I had thunder thighs before I was even a teenager. And I remember sharing a common understanding that if a another girl in our class would just lose some weight, she would be the prettiest one in our school. What's even more frightening is that I was on a diet from the time I was eleven until I was twenty, always trying to lose weight, to be more thin, which I equated with being more attractive. And I know nothing has changed today because two of my nieces—ages 10 and 14 and about as big as my earlobe—talk all the time about how “fat” they are and how much they need to lose weight.

Why are kids cruel? It’s hard to say. I certainly can’t imagine an adult hanging out at a party and making fun of someone’s cellulite. If that happened, we would all think that the person was insanely superficial and pretty juvenile, not to mention a weirdo.

Sometimes I think kids are cruel because they feel so vulnerable and so not in control. I mean, how would you feel if someone took away your ability to decide what you did every day? If people told you when you had to get up and go to school, when you had to go to sleep, when you had to eat, even what time to play? I think if I didn’t feel like I had some control over my day-to-day life I would probably start losing my mind, and it wouldn’t take very long for me to start lashing out at those around me. Of course, it’s also clear that kids—like the Wild Things in the movie—are mean to each other as a defense mechanism: if they hurt someone else first, they’re less likely to be hurt themselves.

Unfortunately, there’s probably nothing we can do to make our children feel more in control of their own lives—nothing short of home schooling them, which isn’t possible for most parents.

But what we can do is combat the negative lessons they learn from their peers by challenging those comments—when we hear them ourselves and when our kids repeat them back to us. We can also show them that beautiful women come in all shapes and sizes by reading magazines and watching movies and television that feature real-sized women (and appreciating those women). And most importantly—and this is big, people! it's possibly the thing I care most about on this blog—we can show them with our behavior by not giving into the temptation to constantly criticize and feel bad about our own bodies, by reveling in our curves rather than always trying to erase and hide them.

Because, I mean, honestly, isn’t it the least we can do?

In the film, Carol, the Wild Thing Max is closest to, tells Max that as king of the island he can do whatever he wants because it's his world, and I would argue the same is true for us. It's our world—we control what it is and what it becomes. And if we do, maybe we'll be more like Max, "a truly great king."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Delusional Girl

194 pounds
One of the reasons I started this blog in the first place was to dispel the notion that we should be ashamed of the numbers on the scale and that they have anything to do with how good we look or how attractive we feel.

For years, I believed that I had to keep my weight secret because it was so different than the numbers we hear women talking about in the media. Granted, most of these women are celebrities, but I still felt—even when I was in perfect shape—that my number was somehow wrong and, thus, conveyed something ugly about how I looked.

When I meet people now or when readers check out my blog, I get the feeling that they imagine that I have always struggled with my weight. But that's not the case. This misconception might be my fault because I've talked before about how, even as a kid, I weighed more than everyone else. And though that's true, I was never overweight. I was not even a few pounds overweight. Not as a child—when my BMI was around 21—or as an adult when my BMI was 24 from the time I began college until I hit my later twenties. I was, at around 150 pounds, very fit, and I stayed that way by exercising regularly—something I have done all of my life—though I never worried about what I ate because I was still young enough that I could eat whatever I wanted. In truth, I was in perfect shape until I had a skiing accident when I was 26 years old that kept me off my feet for three months. I know it sounds silly, but the only reason I weighed a little bit more than other women my size before that was simply because I was big boned.

Still, when people found out I how much weighed in my twenties, they would act appalled. All the time, people would say to me, "You don't look like you weigh 150!" and I would enjoy the compliment to some degree. But deep down I felt like my weight was something to be ashamed of. I had the sense that every other physically fit woman my age weighed less than 125 pounds, that I was the exception, and that I would never be attractive until I hit that magical number.

Since my skiing accident, I have learned a good deal more about women's bodies and now know that there aren't very many adult women who weigh less than that magical number, and recently I had a chance to put that theory to the test.

Some of my students have been reading a Joyce Carol Oates' novel called Black Girl/White Girl about a delusional college student. One of the more disturbing things about this character is that she believes that, at 5'8" and 140 pounds, she is unattractive and overweight. At my age, most of us know that's not true—a woman that height and weight has a BMI of 21—but what surprised me was that my students—most of them between the ages of 18 and 22—knew that as well. They repeatedly get offended when the protagonist calls herself—and her similarly sized roommate—fat. I was thrilled by their skepticism about her weight, but for weeks, it didn't occur to me that it was because most of them weigh more than the characters in the book. I think this was because I still cleaved to the idea that attractive, thin women—because most of my college students are super thin—have to weigh less than 140 pounds.

Then it hit me: maybe my students were shocked by the protagonist's attitude precisely because they don't weigh that little either.

So I decided to put this theory to the test and asked those who weighed less than 140 pounds to raise their hands. I was SURE that half of the girls in each class would raise their hands, but only two girls in my first class raised their hand and only one did in my second.

I was shocked. Apparently, I still bought into the idea that super thin = super light.

And what surprised me even more was that the young women who did raise their hand were really, really, really tiny people. Not just thin, but also pretty short. They were, in truth, petite little girls.

And many of the women who didn't raise their hands are in great shape and very attractive. Like I said, it shocked me to realize that even though I think and write about these issues all the time, deep down I still believe that all of the thin and fit women I see on a daily basis are tipping the scales at little more than 100 pounds.

This is, of course, good and bad news. Bad news because it means that somewhere deep inside of me, in a place I don't even know is there, I still buy into unattainable standards of beauty. But the good news is that it also means that those standards really are both ridiculous and incorrect.

So when I get on the scale tomorrow morning, I'm going to remind myself that I can finally let go of that magical number, a number I've I always known I'd never achieve, but a number I've nevertheless been obsessed with all of my life.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It's time for everyone to start watching Glee

194 pounds
A few weeks ago, my cousin Jennifer asked her Facebook friends if it was weird that, at the age of 43, she was in love with a television show about teenagers called Glee.

Since I have totally and completely adored Glee and everything about it since the very first seconds of its premiere last spring, I didn't think it was weird at all. And I told Jennifer that immediately.

Because Glee isn't about teenagers—it's about all of us. Who we were in high school and who we still are now.

It's about the nerdy girl who just wants to be liked, the jock who just wants to sing about his feelings, the kid in the wheelchair who wants to dance, the closeted gay boy who wants to come out, the overweight girl who wants to feel pretty. It's about doing what you always dreamed of doing and being your best self.

And in that way, Glee perfectly embodies the message of this blog: that we should all accept—no, love—ourselves the way we are and sing about it from the freakin' rooftops.

And did I mention that the kids on this show spend a good portion of their time singing?!

They sing like Maria in The Sound of Music, like Satine and Christian in Moulin Rouge, like Sandy and Danny in Grease. I mean, these kids can belt it out. And when they do sing, you feel like you could do anything. If you don't believe me, watch this clip, and you'll see what I mean:

And before another second passes, do yourself a favor: set your clocks for the next episode of Glee, airing Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. (EST) on Fox.

I promise that you won't regret it.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Self-consciousness or life—you choose.

195 pounds
First of all, let me apologize for not putting this post up yesterday. I'm on fall break right now, and I guess that the holiday knocked me out of my routine because I completely forgot about the blog. (And I LOVE this blog!) I guess I was also caught up in the TV event of the year last night—Pam and Jim's wedding on The Office—and maybe I was too hysterical and euphoric over their both ridiculous and moving nuptials to remember my own responsibilities.

Watching their wedding took me back to my own—the episode centered around the fact that weddings, especially big church weddings, are not about the bride and groom as much as they're about their family and friends.

The Office handled this fact with extreme hilarity by showing Pam having to take one of her guests to the hospital the night before she took her vows because he "tore his scrotum" while trying to bust a dance move, her best friend and mother—yes, I said her MOTHER!—hooking up with coworkers she can barely stand, and the entire congregation dancing down the aisle (a la that You Tube video that circulated a few months ago) before Pam and Jim ever took the stage. Yes, Pam and Jim's wedding—like so many of our weddings—was not so much an event to honor their love as it was an excuse for their friends and their family to act like hooligans.

My own wedding was never completely hijacked by the hooligans who were there to celebrate our marriage, but it was hijacked—be it for only the five minutes it took to play one simple song.

Like Pam and Jim, we had given our D.J. a list of forbidden songs—The Macarena, The Chicken Dance, you get the idea. We didn't want to hear any songs that came with a built-in performance. And we had told the D.J. that if he played these songs, he would not get paid. But, of course, there was one song we failed to mention . . .

"Y.M.C.A." by The Village People.

It was a crucial error.

For halfway through the reception, we heard the first familiar chords of that song, and then, to our amazement, saw five people we thought we could trust enter the ballroom wearing accessories designed to make them look like The Village People. Neal had donned a sailor cap, Phil wore a hard hat, Kevin a fireman's hat*, Carol a police cap, and my mother—yes, I said my MOTHER!—showed up in full headdress.

I could have died.

But rather than die, I did what Pam and Jim did: I laughed as five people I loved performed the entire song as if they really were The Village People. And I reminded myself that weddings aren't just about the bride and groom or even the vows. They are a celebration of all the people in the couple's life: the friends, the family members, the hooligans.

And when I look back on that day—eleven years ago this past summer—what I remember now is not how shocked I was by their subversion of the rules we tried to create surrounding our wedding but how impressed I was by their confidence and joi de vivre.

Because you see, none of them—not Carol, not Phil, not Neal, not Kevin, not even my mom at the age of 56—revealed even an iota of self-consciousness, embarrassment, or shame that night. If you had made me get up in front of a group of 200 people and dance the "Y.M.C.A." eleven years ago, I would have been a wreck—I would have been nervous and insecure and ashamed and worried about everything from my naked arms to my usually unseen cleavage—but none of them displayed any of these qualities.

Tom Hanks has said that "self-consciousness is the death of art," and I have come to believe that the same can be said about life. The more self-conscious we are, the less alive we are. None of the people boogieing down the aisle at Pam and Jim's wedding and none of the people dancing the Y.M.C.A. at ours were worried about how they looked. And why should they be? They were having too much fun to do it.

I hope that all these years later I am a different person than I was back then: a person who could get up in front of a crowd and get my groove on without feeling shy or insecure about doing so, a person who would not worry about something as silly as arm fat. And I hope that you, too, can do the same.

*I do not have a photo of this moment with Kevin in it on my computer, but I will try to find one and post it later today, especially since he's so famous.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Girl before a Mirror

195 pounds
While I was getting ready this morning, I had a bit of an epiphany. Wearing only my favorite jeans and a black camisole, I looked in the mirror and saw someone fabulous staring back at me.

Normally, I can’t stand the sight of myself in anything sleeveless, but something was different this morning. Instead of thinking my arms looked out-of-shape and flabby, I thought they looked shapely and sexy. Truth be told, I felt hot.

I mulled over this change in perspective while I finished getting ready for the day, and here’s what I came up with: I really believe I felt different about my body this morning because of the images I’ve been seeing in the media lately: the photos of the absolutely gorgeous “plus-size” models in Glamour, the image of Joan working her curves like they pay the bills on Mad Men, the Dove advertisements featuring regular sized woman (an amazing company I haven’t even talked about yet), the portrait of Lizzi Miller laughing joyously even as her little stomach hangs out, or the scenes featuring perky Brooke Elliott on Drop Dead Diva. It feels like all of sudden we live in a world where some of the women we revere, some of the women we see every day, actually look like me. In fact, these precious few media outlets are showing the love for curvy women everywhere.

Imagine that.

And when I realized that this was the reason for my change in perspective, it hit me that we’ve been right all along about how much it hurts our collective psyche to only see women in the media who are as tapered as the skinny jeans it seems like every one of my students now wears. So I want to give a big shout-out . . . to Dove, to Glamour, to Mad Men, to Drop Dead Diva. You’ve helped me continue to improve the way I see myself, and for that I can never thank you enough.

As for everyone else, consider this a warning. It's time to get on board. If you don't join the movement to appreciate curvy women, I promise you'll be left behind.

*Girl before a Mirror is a 1932 painting by Pablo Picasso.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Glamazons rule!

195 pounds
I said it a few weeks ago, and I'll say it again: Lizzi Miller could start a revolution! You might remember that I was singing the praises of Glamour for featuring model Miller in their magazine a while back. The reason I was so happy about their decision to feature her is because even though Miller is drop-dead gorgeous, she also has a real-sized body with wonderful womanly legs, a little stomach pouch, and a size twelve wardrobe.

Since then, Glamour has received so much positive feedback about Miller and so many requests for more models like her that they have decided to give the people what they want. And that's why next month's November issue will feature an entire spread of regular-sized models. (See the picture above.)

Honestly, when I saw this picture, my first thought was "Yowza!" These women look incredibly hot, hotter than many of the models I see staring back at me from the pages of most women's magazines and certainly much more voluptuous and sexy. And then I had to wonder: is that why we don't let these women appear on the covers of our magazines? Are they simply too hot for our own good? Would we all return to the walking hormone state we lived in when we were adolescents if we had to look at women like this on the newsstand every night?

Technically, these women are called "plus-size" models in the fashion industry because they wear bigger than a size six, a fact Glamour calls perverse and a problem I believe is just one more reason that none of us can live up to the images of women we see in the media. From here on out, I refuse to call models like these "plus-size" and will now refer to such women—models or not—as "regular-size." Who knows? Maybe doing so will reinforce the notion that there is nothing shameful about wearing a size eight, ten, twelve, fourteen, or even bigger.

Glamour is claiming that, as of November, they're committed to "featuring a greater range of body types in our pages, including in fashion and beauty stories," and I believe it's crucial that we send the message that if they stay true to their word and do that, we'll be there with our dollars, ready to support them. Because if we don't, we have no one to blame but ourselves when we can't find anyone who looks like us in the pages we flip through and on the screens we watch.

This is a revolution, people! Get excited and do your part!

I know it seems silly to think of buying a fashion magazine as a revolutionary act, but we all know that this is a change that needs to happen, a change that must happen if we are to give each other, our daughters, and our nieces healthier role models. The Glamour November issue hits newsstands soon, and I say we all buy a copy . . . or two . . . or three . . .