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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mixed messages from Victoria's Secret get customers coming and going

Glad to see that Victoria's Secret has picked up on the fact that women should love their bodies...but not glad that their skinny, super-sexualized models help set impossible beauty standards that make women feel like crap about their bodies.  When a company that objectifies women's bodies to sell their product comes out with a "love your body" contest, I'm highly skeptical.  Appearing socially conscious is a great marketing move, is it not?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

CCFC Victory: Baby Einstein video refund

Just got a great announcement from the Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC): 

"CCFC's ongoing campaign to stop the false and deceptive marketing of baby videos has had a stunning success.  We've persuaded the Walt Disney Company to offer a full refund to anyone who purchased a Baby Einstein DVD in the last five years...Recent research shows that screen time is not educational for babies [and The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under two].  Now parents who purchased Baby Einstein DVDs, mistakenly believing the videos would make their babies smarter, can recoup their money."

The refund is only available for a limited time, so make sure to act now!  Also, share this fact sheet from the CCFC with parents you know.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cancer Society, in Shift, Has Concerns on Screenings

The American Cancer Society has changed its tune a bit on the importance of cancer screenings.  Check out this NY Times articles for more.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Today (and every day I hope) is Love Your Body Day

Today is Love Your Body Day!  Here's the deal (official press release from NOW):
NOW logo

For Immediate Release
Contact: Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116; cell 202-641-1906

Unrealistic Images of Women Make Love Your Body Day More Important Than Ever
October 15, 2009

For years now, advertisers and fashion magazines have airbrushed photos to turn models into the latest beauty ideal. Women and girls are constantly bombarded with these artificial images -- fantasies they can't possibly live up to in real life.

This Photoshopping of models and celebrities has really gotten out of hand lately. Self magazine felt the need to digitally slenderize singer Kelly Clarkson before putting her on the cover of its "total body confidence" issue, even though Clarkson has said that she is comfortable with herself just the way she is. Model Filippa Hamilton recently revealed that she was fired by Ralph Lauren for being too big, despite being a size four. Hamilton is the same model who appeared in a Ralph Lauren ad that was so aggressively retouched that she appeared emaciated and completely out of proportion.

If models can't catch a break, how can the rest of us hope to have a healthy self-image? Starting at younger and younger ages, eating disorders, low self-esteem, and a preoccupation with appearance plague women and girls, sometimes with disastrous results. "In my teenage years, I was hospitalized for anorexia," said eating disorder survivor and NOW Action Vice President Erin Matson. "I remember a fellow patient winning a modeling contest while she was on a pass from the hospital. The only way to end the glorification of unhealthy beauty stereotypes is to stand up proudly for real women's bodies."

That's why the NOW Foundation is celebrating its 12th annual Love Your Body Day on Oct. 21. This campaign is a giant shout out to the fashion, beauty, diet and advertising industries: No more fake images! Show us real women, diverse women, strong women, bold women. And to the women and girls who are targeted by messages telling them that the key to success and happiness is manufactured beauty, we say: It's okay to "Be You" -- the true you is beautiful.

Many different kinds of Love Your Body events will be held across the country on Oct. 21. Contact the NOW Foundation to learn more.

More Information:
Kelly Clarkson Photo Retouched to Make Her 'Look Her Best', Janet Mock People Magazine
Size 4 model: I was fired for being too fat -- Former Ralph Lauren model Filippa Hamilton is 5' 10" and 120 pounds, Today MSNBC

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fat Talk Free Week

What are you doing for Fat Talk Free Week?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Girls Write Now wins 2009 Youth Thrive Award!

Check it out.

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Operation Beautiful

Eliza wrote, “The other day at work, I put a note in the bathroom that said "YOU are BEAUTIFUL!" The next week later, I used the bathroom and was standing at the sink washing my hands...

More at

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sick of Pink

Boston Globe Sunday Magazine
The Health Issue

This month, like every October, a sea of pink ribbons washes over products from sneakers to snacks. While the effort raises research dollars, it leaves some breast cancer survivors feeling that companies are profiting from their pain...


Hottest Hip Hop Glorifies Pimping

Hip hop is commercially hot, culturally influential and replete with references to pimping and prostitution. Critics say this not only sends teens a pro-pimp message, it puts some girls even more at risk for becoming prostitutes.

Keith Olbermann, Misogyny Is Not A Progressive Value

Air America article on Keith Olbermann's misogynistic treatment of blogger Michelle Malkin.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tweens convene for learning, support on body image

WASHINGTON — When 12-year-old Chloe Harris sees a large-screen image of a stick-thin model in a new ad campaign, the seventh-grader from Alexandria, Va., says the picture makes her "feel sick" because the model looks so "unnormal."

Read on...

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Plus Size Models Get Naked for Glamour Magazine

Today's Examiner has an article about Glamour's plus-size model spread.

Interesting step...and maybe one day we can stop calling "50% of women in this country wearing a size 14 (the average size of a plus size model)," plus size.

Friends Don't Let Friends Fat Talk

Fat Talk Free Week starts early at Lululemon Athletica in San Antonio.  (Fat Talk Free Week is a five-day effort to draw attention to the damaging impact of fat talk and the “thin ideal” on women, starting  October 19.)

What will you do for Fat Talk Free Week?

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It's time to challenge casual sexism

Check out this article from the Times UK about challenging the casual culture of sexism that we all accept.

I love the author's point that we all stay silent because eh, what's the big deal--we want to be cool, not uptight.  And when we do speak out, we get the response, "Geez, why can't women take a joke?"  We can take a joke, but sexism isn't funny.

Now go read this really articulate, awesome article!

Addendum:  I was just reading Lucinda Marshall's blogpost on "Objectifying and Belittling Women In The Name Of Breast Cancer Awareness," when I got to her line, "At the risk of being called a humorless feminist [this campaign is] sophomoric and deeply insulting to both men and women."  There it is folks.  The humorless feminist is a total stereotype, a dirty joke.  Our aversion to standing up for everyone's right to act as a full human being (yup, that's my definition of feminism) is our own obstacle. 

And in the meantime, this cancer awareness campaign is a perfect example of casual sexism, where the physicality of boobs as objects is used as the attention-grabbing aspect of their ads.  But what else are companies to do than concoct a sexy message to garner support and awareness?  Perhaps if the general public were to make some noise and let them know we don't need ads like this to care about the *people* we're losing to breast cancer, companies wouldn't need to rely on sashaying body parts to get the word out.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

German women's magazine to ban professional models via Feministing

Lately, Europe seems to be eons ahead of us regarding their recognition that the fashion and media having a significantly unhealthy effect on women's body image. The latest is Germany's most popular women's magazine's announcement of their intention to omit professional models from their pages in an effort to combat unrealistic social beauty standards:
The editor-in-chief of Germany's bimonthly Brigitte told reporters that, starting next year, the magazine will feature a mix of prominent women and regular readers in photo spreads for everything from beauty to fashion to fitness.
Andreas Lebert said the move is a response to readers increasingly saying that they are tired of seeing "protruding bones" from models who weigh far less than the average woman.
"We will show women who have an identity -- the 18-year-old student, the head of the board, the musician, the football player," Andreas Leberts said in Hamburg, where the magazine, published by Gruner+Jahr, is based.
I like this sentiment; we should humanize models not just as "more realistic" subjects of voyeurism. I just worry these kinds of efforts (cough, Dove, cough) often end up having some contradicting issues to contend with - like if the new magazine's campaign consists of shaming underweight women, that's not very productive either.
Either way, it's interesting to see how fast the efforts to combat body image issues and eating disorders are spreading among the fashion and media industries on one continent, while others (ahem) seem to be at a standstill.

Posted by Vanessa - October 06, 2009, at 10:14AM | in Body Image , International
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Egypt: 'Artificial Virginity Kit' Opposed


INTERNATIONAL / MIDDLE EAST   | October 06, 2009
World Briefing | Middle East:  Egypt: 'Artificial Virginity' Kit Opposed
Conservative lawmakers have called for a ban on imports of a Chinese-made kit meant to help women fake their virginity.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Why does this "Anna Rexia" Halloween Costume even exist?

Why on earth does this Halloween costume have to refer to anorexia? It just looks like a skeleton to me. X-Rays, Zombies, bones--all that is ghoulish enough to fit with Halloween.

The description for this costume is the worst part: "If Anna Rexia doesn't want to put it in her mouth there is nothing you can say to change her mind. You can stop trying to sell her on the point that there aren't any carbs and it's all protein because Anna Rexia just doesn't want anything to do with it. Make no bones about it this girl is as disciplined as they can get. Anna Rexia costume is anything but bare bones! Costume includes headband, choker neckband, removable "Anna Rexia" badge and ribbon tie belt. If you're starving for attention, this costume will be sure to put you on top of the world."

It seems that the prevalence of anorexia has turned it into a common cultural fact, so part of our collective consciousness that, as with ads, we're almost immune to how serious (and unnecessary) it is.

Gross. And not in that fun Halloween way.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fat Talk Free Week

Passing on word from the AED:

"Join AED and Delta Delta Delta in supporting Fat Talk Free˙ Week (FTFW), a five-day awareness campaign to challenge and begin to reverse the prevalent and damaging pursuit of the "thin ideal" by women of all ages.

The goal of FTFW, October 19-23, 2009, is to shed light on an underground and pervasive thought cycle practiced by many women by demonstrating how "fat talk" can damage self-esteem and set strong patterns of unproductive behavior.

The approach and interventions promoted during FTFW are based on the Reflections: Sorority Body Image program, a peer-led body image program developed through the joint efforts of AED members Carolyn Becker and Eric Stice and the Delta Delta Delta organization. The AED has endorsed this program as a model for community-based collaboration and the effective integration of research and practice. Reflections is active on 34 college campuses nationwide.

Interested in hosting your own FTFW event? Click here for details. 

Visit the Reflections Web site for much more, including tips for promoting positive body image, and more details on Fat Talk Free Week.

Academy for Eating Disorders
111 Deer Lake Road, Suite 100
Deerfield, IL 60015 USA

Thursday, October 1, 2009

New book out -- Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat? The Essential Guide to Loving Your Body Before and After Baby

Claire Mysko and Magali Amadei's new book, Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat? The Essential Guide to Loving Your Body Before and After Baby is now out!  They do amazing work.  Check it out.

Other things you can do to help:
1. Spread the word to the moms and moms-to-be you know.
2. Sign the Healthy Beauty Pledge and add a badge to your blog or website.
3. Know of a moms group, birth education class, retail store or book club that would be interested in a signing or workshop? Contact them at
4. Join the discussion on Facebook and/or follow on Twitter

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