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Motherbird vs Advertising

August 21, 2012

I have a younger sister and for all her shortcomings, including taking the largest bedroom in the house and hijacking the remote control, is a huge reason I try to be a good person.  I haven’t lived at home in 4 years, but whenever I spend time with her I make sure that I am the same person I was when I left: silly, childlike, and never too cool to be her friend.  I do this mostly because despite how much older or cooler they get, you can just tell when younger siblings simply miss you.

That said, as my sister has aged, she has became a little grown up.  She has a larger wardrobe and a competing social life, but the other day, when the Jonas Brothers were in town (New York City that is) she and 4 of her friends met at midnight to sleep on the side walk for their chance to meet the brothers.

I met them to say hi and take them out for crappy mid town pizza.  As we walked through Manhattan we passed all different kinds of advertising: Rihanna’s sultry profile, Potted Potter, and a life-sized Gap window displau with beautiful models running about a Gap Land where everyone has great outfits and a tiny waist.

This small pack of zesty 17-year-olds had very different shapes, skin colors, and hair colors.  They looked nothing like these models in Gap Land, but in a good way.  It wasn’t the most outrageous advertisement but something about walking by it with a group of real girls struck me as ironic.

We admit that seeing digitally altered perfection sends the message that perfect body shapes are possible and anything less is a work in progress.  In that mindset I thought to myself how upsetting to think that girls who did nothing but grow into what they are now, may feel the slightest bit of shame about what they looked like.  The thing is, obviously, this happens every day.  This life sized window display wasn’t traumatizing or special to them, because they see it all the time.

For some reason in that moment, on that block, I felt protective (I really have no idea why).  It’s fine if media and advertising hurts me, I’m handling it, but if it tries to tell my little sister that she’s not good enough or skinny enough- that’s another story.  If there is any reason to oppose the airbrushing and super thin models of the fashion industry it would be to protect girls who, despite their growing independence, are still children.  If we could eradicate the sense of self loathing of puberty and airbrushed perfection then maybe we could keep children’s focus on things like learning, playing, or friendship.

Maybe not all my sister’s pack of Jonas-loving friends felt the sting of comparative anatomy like I did when I was that age.  Yet, having felt this kind of pressure I can say I only wish young spirited girls wouldn’t have to walk by perfection through a window display.

When we think of issues and whether or not we want to stand up to them sometimes we should choose to do so not so much for us but for the people we care about.  Even if we know enough to reject digitally altered images, so many young girls and boys don’t know that they are perfect looking just the way they are.

Peace and Love,


Curvy, Skinny, Make it Real.

August 21, 2012

I think body image is something that affects pretty much everyone.  I know M and I have talked extensively about how we can get the nasty voices out of our heads and learn to love our bodies.  One promise we’ve made each other is to stop calling ourselves “fat.” And boy you never realize how much you use a word until you’re not allowed to anymore.

This is why we wanted to take the day to discuss…. Body Image.

I read this article  on fox news today and wanted to share my thoughts.

It is nothing new that our society dotes on big breasts and sex appeal- so it comes as no surprise that magazines are digitally altering subjects to look “curvier” aka sexier.  But before we start, let’s get something straight: they are not altering them to look “fatter.”  This is where I may get a little picky about word choice.  But come on, the language we use about our bodies changes the way we think about them.  To soften bone thin model’s arms, give them larger breasts and child bearing hips is not the same as making them look like a natural body size or anything close to this word “fat” or “curvy.”  Instead, it creates the EVEN MORE impossible standard and expectation that you can have a model thin waist, and simultaneously have softness, breasts, hips and er… a butt.

If we use the word “fatter” to describe Kierra Knightly’s bust increase, or Lady gaga’s hips on the cover of vogue, how will that affect the way we think about ourselves?  If curvy is used to describe a model that is still unbelievably thin but now has photoshopped hips and breasts, how will real life “curvy” girls describe themselves?

I am all for showing “curvy” girls in the media.  But this labeling is counter productive.  Hire models who are actually a healthy weight.  Stop making skinny girls look curvier and stop photoshopping curvier girls to look skinnier.  This weird body type does not exist in nature!  Kim Kardashian, undoubtedly one of the most celebrated women for her “sex appeal,” is constantly airbrushed and smoothed.  Wouldn’t it be great if it was ok for one of the sexiest women in the world to bare her cellulite (because she has it!)? Wouldn’t that be more relatable?

If were going to celebrate Kim Kardashian for her body, then we should celebrate her for her real body- which is beautiful just the way it is.

Same goes for Kate Upton.  I both like and dislike Kate Upton for various reasons.  Forbes wrote this article on Kate Upton which calls bullshit on her relateability… And while it makes some excellent points, I can’t help but applaud inside when I see her walking down the runway, her love handles creasing at her ribs.  Yes, she is by no means fat.  Yes, she does not represent the average american woman.  BUT in terms of models, she’s unarguably much fuller and healthier looking- and much more relatable.

The below images make me want to bust out my bathing suit and rock that shit the way she does.

Still, when you see her on the cover of a magazine or in a swimsuit add, her figure looks somehow tighter and smoothed.  And that- is not only less relatable, but disappointing.  I say promote more accurate depiction of women’s bodies; No matter what their body actually is, that is what should be shown.

The other great thing about Kate Upton is that she has opened up a debate about what it means to be “plus size.”  Some have argued that she is not plus sized, some have argued that she is bigger than some plus sized models.  If everyone’s body is shown for what it is- fuller, thinner, curvier, flatter, bustier- then the term plus-size would kind of be obsolete.  Maybe we should do away with the term altogether, since “plus size” is actually closer to normal. Do away with the unhealthily thin models that are told they are not skinny enough, and make the norm of modeling women who have healthy, real bodies.

When someone like Crystal Renn stops starving herself and goes to her natural beautiful body size, that should be called a “regular model” not a plus size model.  How disappointed I was when she dropped back down 4 sizes- as were many others.

But nonetheless, we can’t crucify the models when it is the industry that is telling them to be thinner and deciding the work they get depending on their weight.  All we can do is support the models who do look healthy and real, and make sure the media knows that this is what we want to see.  Yay for buying power!

Peace and Love,


Keep Playing For Fun.

August 16, 2012

So while browsing youtube I came across this awesome video…  The whole channel (love Amy Poehler) is actually made up of awesome videos… but this one specifically addresses feminism as well as baseball… which happened to be my sport of choice as a young girl.

This little girl articulates some great improvements brought about by feminism.  She insightfully points out that her single mother can raise and support her because of feminism.  I hope this little one doesn’t lose her passion for feminism and continues to advocate for women as a young adult, and eventually as an adult.  Near the end, she sings a song about girls being able to play baseball and sports, just as boys can.

The song brings me back to my years in which baseball wasn’t something I only watched but something I participated in.  I was on “the yankees” in little league, of which there were maybe only one or two other girls at any given time. No, not on the team- in the entire league.  I attended baseball camp every summer as the only girl in my age bracket. Growing up with an older brother and a twin brother, I did not find this strange. I was very aware of it but it didn’t bother me. I felt special even. When I think back to baseball camp I get nostalgic… what a great way for a kid to spend summer.

Read more…

Jenna Marbles Does it Again: Sports Bras and the Olympics

August 14, 2012

First off, Jenna Marbles… I LOVE YOU.  Nothing I write could come close to how stupid Jenna Marbles makes this guy look by simply putting on a sports bra followed by a bikini.  Now,  I sort of doubt that all olympic athletes would have as dramatic a transformation (Jenna is quite busty) BUT she makes some really important points.

We don’t know what the olympic athletes bodies really look like.  Despite the misleading skintight jumpsuits and leotards, we do NOT know what their bodies really look like without clothing. And this is as it should be.  Because frankly… this is not a Miss Universe contest.  These women are not here to model swimsuits and show of their “femininity” and get bonus points for doing so.

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This Struggling Feminist Salutes Helen Gurley Brown

August 14, 2012

We wanted to pay respects to the late Helen Gurley Brown who died Monday at ninety years old.  Brown played an important role in the transformation of the modern sexual woman.  In the early 1960’s Brown wrote “Sex and the Single Girl,” where she was famously quoted:

“I think a single woman’s biggest problem is coping with the people who are trying to marry her off.”

A high percentage of the feminist movement generally critiques Brown’s work and editorship at Cosmopolitan for its ultimately patriarchal tone, but in the criticism let’s not overlook what Brown did to also regain the sex life of average women.

Brown explored how a woman could find personal happiness and yes even sex without a husband, which was momentous for the era in which she wrote.  She was a pioneer because she not only lived this lifestyle but also shared it.  Today in general, women (single and married) demand much more personal satisfaction in all parts of their romantic life.  It was unconventional and even shocking for a woman to be happily “single.”  Today, being unmarried does not make a girl a social outcast…which is pretty great I’d say because now we have time to worry about other things, like school and a career.

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Candy Crowley Slotted to Moderate Second Presidential Debate

August 13, 2012

After mounting pressure to employ a woman as a host for the 2012 presidential debate, Candy Crowley from CNN became the second woman to be awarded the respected slot in 20 years.  Crowley will host the second presidential debate on October 16.

Let’s  get to know her!

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Breaking Down Some Health Care Reform Queries

August 9, 2012

If you glanced at the papers or Internet a week ago on August 1 you would have saw that it was arguably the most important date for women since the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act. Provisions of The Affordable Health Care Act began taking effect allowing women access to important medical services. Not to say that you are as insurance-confused as me but here’s a run down of things I was curious/confused about and reasons why we can’t take it as an all around victory (not to be a debbie downer).

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