Quick hits: The physical cost of beauty

Two more reminders of the cost of the ideal of the perfectly toned, perfectly thin body:

1. A Daily Mail reporter (I know, I know — they’re a thin-loving nightmare, but that also means that they publish a lot of articles that unintentionally reveal the cultural pressures behind that) works with Madonna’s and Gwyneth Paltrow’s trainer for five weeks and her life becomes a living hell. She nearly passes out, almost vomits on the treadmill, loses the ability to walk up stairs, and — most crucially — loses all desire for any semblance of a social life, because she is so damn tired.

Unexpectedly, this is turning into a booze-free few weeks as well. Working out at this intensity means I cannot drink at all; I simply wouldn’t be able to train properly.

As for dating, it’s completely hopeless. I’ve definitely seen the last of Finance Guy, the man I’d been seeing on and off for a few weeks. Our relationship was already stretched, and my refusal to drink seemed to push him over the edge. Could this be what drove Guy Ritchie away?

At the weekend, I take a much-needed mini-break to Dublin. I am looking forward to three days away, out of town and away from the gym.

I am lazing around in my suite at one of Dublin’s poshest hotels, when I get a text from Jonathan reminding me to do my cardio workout.

I bet Madonna and Gwyneth get text messages like this, too.

Two hours a day, six days a week, with your personal trainer sending you intrusive text messages while you’re on vacation: just the cost of being thin and female, right? As Margaret at Jezebel puts it,

Though you might expect that Pearson would realize after going through this “nightmare” that such a gym routine wasn’t worth it or condemn the society that demands our celebrities obsess about their weight, all Pearson takes from this experience is that we should have more respect for Gwyneth and Madonna. “Their tightly honed bodies were not achieved by swallowing a pill, from cigarettes, or cocaine. These ladies didn’t take the easy way. They are in the gym every day sweating their guts out,” writes Pearson. Apparently having a lower quality of life is worth it, as long as you’re 10 pounds skinnier.

Remember, y’all, things are only worth doing if they improve your life. You don’t have to do this.

(SW warning on comments at both the Daily Mail and Jezebel.)

2. Remember that Campari ad that photoshopped away Jessica Alba’s already astonishing figure? Apparently she got that post-baby figure by torturous workouts and the help of a girdle. (I can’t access the original Elle article on this, so I’m relying on a summary here.) Not really surprising, but it makes it all the more ridiculous that the ads are so incredibly photoshopped.

I know you know this, but it’s always worth a reminder: these images are lying to you. Ads are lying to you. Magazines are lying to you. Posters are lying to you. They will never stop. Nobody looks like Jessica Alba — not even Jessica Alba.

114 thoughts on “Quick hits: The physical cost of beauty

  1. This kind of thing always makes me think of the part of The Beauty Myth where she talks about beauty as the ‘third shift’ – just around the time the culture seemed to be letting up slightly in the standards of domestic/housekeeping upkeep, beauty maintenance cam to take its place. (Sorry I can’t find my copy for the quote!)

  2. [i]I know you know this, but it’s always worth a reminder: these images are lying to you. Ads are lying to you. Magazines are lying to you. Posters are lying to you.[/i]

    Thank you anyway. It’s easy to forget sometimes… easy to allow the thoughts of “that’s what I should look like, why am I failing at that?” back in. So, also, thanks for the general message of this article. It’s impossible to have a normal life and look like a celebrity.

  3. Thanks everso but none for me. If I happened to be heathy enough to do anything round the clock, it wouldn’t be that.

    Nobody looks like Jessica Alba — not even Jessica Alba.

    Doesn’t that just say it all!

  4. The Beauty Myth third shift section is a fairly long one, lasting from page 25 to 27 in my copy, but the gist of it is “the tactic of obstruction from lack of child care became inadequate to hold back the class of women from whom the power structure had the most to fear. What it needed was a replacement shackle, a new material burden that would drain surplus energy and lower confidence… [so working woman's assignments] grew ever more rigorous: the amounts of money, skill and craft she must invest were to fall no lower than the amounts previously expected – before women breached the power structure – only from professional beauties in the display professions. Women took on all at once the roles of professional housewife, professional careerist, and professional beauty.”

    Cost of beauty discusions always make me think of a coment I once ran across, from one of the scientsts doing studies with the Internet group of people who’ve kept weight off for x-amount of time, that in essence, “the only people who keep the weight off are those who make staying thin their primary job” – i.e., people who change careers to something in the weight-loss industry, so they spend all day in the gym anyhow.

    If your body’s not interested, keeping the weight off is literally a full-time job, and if you don’t find a way to make money at it, you’re not going to be able to keep it up because the necessities of life will interfere.

  5. Kelly

    “SW warning” means a “sanity watchers warning” – if you’re trying to keep your sanity, reading those comments is probably not your best approach.

    Although some people seem to have “SW points” to spare and can survive lengthy and stupid comment threads with sanity intact. ;)

  6. She nearly passes out, almost vomits on the treadmill, loses the ability to walk up stairs, and — most crucially — loses all desire for any semblance of a social life, because she is so damn tired….Two hours a day, six days a week, with your personal trainer sending you intrusive text messages while you’re on vacation: just the cost of being thin and female, right?

    Why, no, Sweet Machine. OBVIOUSLY that’s the cost of having Healthy Lifestyle (TM).

  7. Although some people seem to have “SW points” to spare and can survive lengthy and stupid comment threads with sanity intact. ;)

    I’m saving all my points to buy a pony. Stupid internet comments are the anti-pony.

    It’s Gwyneth Paltrow’s body, and she can do whatever she wants to it, but I find her painfully thin. If that’s not her natural body shape, and she were to you know, fire the trainer and relax for a while, I don’t think anyone would care. I adore her acting, not her ability to wear size 0 clothing. I’m almost certain that her acting would improve if she had some room to relax. Anyone who gives her shit will be ground beneath the hooves of my sanity pony.

    I really gotta get my own copy of The Beauty Myth. The bit shiloh paraphrased brought back all of the employee handbooks that I’ve read in my time. The ones declaring that women will wear makeup, have “professional hairstyles”*, and strive to have “professional appearances” that somehow don’t include double chins and fat arses. Nothing about men except that the should keep their facial hair groomed. Anyone who doesn’t think the Beauty Myth comes with written rules and economic consequences should look over their company “dress code” again.

    *I learned that “professional hairstyles” include such wonderful things as keeping gray hair dyed, wearing a wig if you have alopecia, and a special caution against “ethnic hairstyles” that was read as a directive to order female employees to have their hair chemically relaxed. And this was at a company where the customers would never see us.

  8. “’SW warning’ means a ‘sanity watchers warning’ – if you’re trying to keep your sanity, reading those comments is probably not your best approach.

    Although some people seem to have ‘SW points’ to spare and can survive lengthy and stupid comment threads with sanity intact. ;)”

    Hey – not me! I admire those who can, though! Thanks for filling me in, shiloh!

  9. Isn’t there a warrant out for that trainer’s arrest in a couple of states? Isn’t there an allegation that she took prospective clients’ money and ran?

  10. . The ones declaring that women will wear makeup, have “professional hairstyles”*, and strive to have “professional appearances” that somehow don’t include double chins and fat arses. Nothing about men except that the should keep their facial hair groomed.

    Hm. I think I’m glad I haven’t worked in a company with rules like that. The day care required a certain amount of “modesty” – low-cut tops and short-shorts were verboten. The tech companies I’ve worked at tend to foster a suspicion that people who wear something dressier than jeans and a t-shirt aren’t there to work.

    Does toss a new spin on the girls* in college who would wrinkle their nose at my major and imply that I wasn’t really a woman, because what woman would want to major in computer science? *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*

    And why does it still bother me that they insinuated I was a lesbian 20 years ago?

  11. I like how all these fatophobic media whores assume that we have the time and money to afford things like personal trainers and have the time to work out 6 days a week.

    One user’s comment said it pretty well though: “I didn’t take the easy way out, but throwing up coffee and walking ten miles in subfreezing weather was worth it! No positive quality of life, but damn did I look skinny!”

    Right…because that’s every woman’s meaning in life or else it HAS no quality. From one of my favorite movies, “I hate the future.”

  12. I remember my freshman year in high school, I played football and I was practicing 2 hours a day 5 days a week. In college, I wouldnt be surprised if student athletes dedicate about 14 hours a week to training. I assume that the intensity of a college athlete’s workout is as much as Paltrow’s. I wasnt a college athlete, and I didnt continue playing football after my freshman year, largely because I appreciated napping after school and not doing pushups.

    But at the same time, I dont think the training is *absurd*; it may be very challenging, and require a sort of dedication that is easier to come by if you really care about the end goal (I didnt care about being on the football team or playing football). Like someone here mentioned in a different article, I didnt think the practice was worth it.

    I have no indignation for what Paltrow goes through to maintain her look through physical training. She gets millions of dollars, and she puts in about the amount of physical effort high school students do to win basketball games. And contrary to what Godless Heathen said, I think Paltrow has plenty of time to relax–much more free time than the average american. I find the time we spend working much more ludicrous than the time some people spend in physical training–and more effort to reduce the work week would go much further than reducing social expectations to exercise more than is necessary for health.

    Of course, no one is demanding that Paltrow continue being a celebrity; I could certainly live my life without another movie with her in it (her acting is good, but really, its not that crucial in my life). I am more indignant about a society that permits actors get paid millions of dollars than a society that obsesses over the appearance of said actors.

    Even though I did not think the practice was worth it in high school, I still wouldnt mind having the sort of body that often comes from that sort of practice. And Shiloh–that sort of training isnt so much a full time job as it is closer to a part-time job. There are some people who spend the same amount of time watching television each week or reading gossip magazines about the people spending all that ridiculous time training. The same people who are capable to spending 14 hours a week exercising may have a hard time spending 14 hours a week, say, studying neuroscience–but there are some crazy brains who do.

    That being said, I still find it ludicrous to expect all women to invest that sort of time into physical training. Or to ridicule women who do not.

    Women who do dedicate that amount of time to training, and men for that matter too, often do so very conscious of the competitive advantage that they feel they might receive from it and the subsequent pride. Conformity isnt the only driving force behind trying to be more beautiful (in ones own eyes I suppose); competition is a factor too, and trying to be more beautiful than others–status, not merely acceptance; and not merely of equal status to others, but greater status.

    With that said, Im going to go stuff my face with food. Im hungry.

  13. The thing that gets me is how people think it’s admirable for somebody to spend hours each day working out. By conflating thinness with health, we’ve allowed vanity to look like virtue. Because if I said, “I spend 90 minutes every day straightening my hair” or “I spend 90 minutes a day doing my make-up” (I don’t do either of those, FTR), people would think I was vain, and they certainly wouldn’t applaud me. I’d probably keep my mouth shut about it, and pretend I didn’t spend that much time working on my appearance.

    But, if I work out 90 minutes a day (or two hours, or three), I can yell it to the world, and instead of being called on vanity, people will think I’m virtuous and noble.

    Maybe somebody loves exercising so much that it’s a hobby, and they enjoy their 2 hour daily workouts. And, that’s cool. Hobbies are good. But, it’s still not virtuous or noble. Nobody would think I should be admired if I said that I knit for two hours a day or read for two hours a day or played computer games for two hours a day (and, yes, I do sometimes do that). Exercise for two hours a day, though, and the whole world showers you with praise for how virtuous you are, which seems absurd to me given that either 1) you hate it and are only doing it to look good, which is vain or 2) you love it and are doing it because you enjoy it, which is great, but not any greater than time spent on any other hobby.

    I’m just continually appalled at how vanity is celebrated in our culture.

  14. Rachel, I think folks in media are well aware that not everyone has the resources or access for professional beauty regimens. No, what I think is that they just don’t give a shit, because anyone who doesn’t have those resources and access doesn’t truly count — we’re too poor, too impaired, too brown, too fat, too gay or too whatever the fuck is too, too declasse my dear this week to be anything other than a human interest story appended to more important news.

  15. Timely, given that one of my classes is reading “The Beauty Myth” in a couple weeks (this week is “Feminine Mystique” which none of them appear to have read before).

    I got into an argument with a friend a couple months ago about the issue of making time for working out. While she admitted to some of my points regarding the fact that some people simply do not have time in the day for working out, she kept insisting people could get their exercise in by walking – the old “take the stairs” riff. I pointed out that I live in an extremely rural area where I cannot walk outside, and lots of women live in urban areas where they do not feel safe walking alone. She didn’t want to listen, especially when I pointed out that there are other things some of us would rather do with two hours a day than exercise (like, say, talking about issues on the Internet!).

    And randomly: not to be stereotypical but what is up with that dress the DM reporter is wearing in the second photo? How in the world is that outfit showing off her “new physique” when it obscures her body from mid-thigh to upper waist? Not to mention she’s got her arms pinned behind her. Whoever took those photos will never make a career out of the before & after shots. They look like they should be reversed.

    DRST

  16. @Lori: Good point — morality creeps all up in these topics. Meh. Even in the best case scenario of a person working out for copious hours for excellent reasons, it shouldn’t be considered morally superior.

  17. It’s Gwyneth Paltrow’s body, and she can do whatever she wants to it, but I find her painfully thin. If that’s not her natural body shape, and she were to you know, fire the trainer and relax for a while, I don’t think anyone would care.

    Paltrow obviously has evidence to the contrary. I’ve read interviews with her where she’s said that she’s taken withering criticism when she’s slacked off her workout routine and gained even a few pounds. Which is why, when I read these things, I think about how deeply fucked up society is, that even fat people don’t want to let a thin performer, especially a woman, look even a little like themselves.

    She’s also pushing 40 and that’s when a lot of actresses become hyperaware that they are only a few years away from “mom roles only.” Don’t get me started on how nobody can get a movie made anymore with a woman in the lead, let alone one who’s shot past maiden and into mother and even (gasp) crone.

  18. all Pearson takes from this experience is that we should have more respect for Gwyneth and Madonna. “Their tightly honed bodies were not achieved by swallowing a pill, from cigarettes, or cocaine. These ladies didn’t take the easy way. They are in the gym every day sweating their guts out,” writes Pearson

    This argument drives me crazy. Yes, it’s true, they do work really hard to get those bodies. But the fact is that they have assistants to do all their shopping, personal chefs to do all their cooking, maids to do all their cleaning, etc. Consequently they have a lot more time and energy to spend sweating their guts out. If I didn’t have to worry about any of the ordinary, everyday chores I have to deal with, I’d certainly be happy to spend 90 minutes working out, instead of collapsing on the couch after a 10 hour workday followed by laundry and vacuuming.

  19. Yes, it’s true, they do work really hard to get those bodies. But the fact is that they have assistants to do all their shopping, personal chefs to do all their cooking, maids to do all their cleaning, etc. Consequently they have a lot more time and energy to spend sweating their guts out.

    And, still, all they are doing is trying to look good.

    You tell me that Gwyneth or Madonna are spending 90 minutes a day volunteering at a soup kitchen, teaching prisoners how to read, or keeping elderly people in a nursing home company, and I’ll stand up and talk about how much respect we should have for them. But, they are freaking exercising.

    Like I said above, I see the time I spend exercising as no more virtuous or noble than the time I spend knitting or reading. All of those are activities that I enjoy and that refresh me. I certainly don’t feel guilty for doing any of them. But, they are all pretty much selfish. The world is not going to be left a better place than it was because I knit a sock, read a book, or walked three miles.

    I just think we need to stop applauding exercise and holding it up as like the best possible way people can spend their time. We talk about people “making time” for exercise as if there is nothing more productive or useful anybody could possibly do.

    The fact that Madonna or Gwyneth work so hard to look the way they do? I kind of think it should be something to be ashamed of. Putting so much time, energy, and money into keeping your body to some ideal is just not something to be admired.

  20. just around the time the culture seemed to be letting up slightly in the standards of domestic/housekeeping upkeep, beauty maintenance cam to take its place.

    Not only that but beauty and “health” routines are often marketed as “relaxation” and “pampering”. Not that there is no enjoyment to be had, but it often obscures that for many these activities are closer to requirements than free choices.

  21. Exercising that much can feel really good, IF you’re in great shape. I think saying it’s so vain and such a waste of time misses the point. Good for them that they have the time! I love to, when I can. It feels great and makes me feel like I kick ass and can do anything. (Beginners with lots of free time should start slow, of course).

    But look–it won’t make most people thin. At least, it won’t make *me* thin. It makes me too hungry. I still do it when I can because I love doing it. And I rest if I feel sore or worn-out, so it’s not a compulsive thing (I take it easy regularly).

    The reporter can’t drink because she won’t be able to workout? Sounds like she’s more in touch with her body–working out makes me want to take better care of myself, too (which does not equal thin. It means when I got home starved, I ate loads of natural PB and Lara bars and fruit and beans; not soda and chips and french fries. It was tons of calories and my body said “thanks so much!”). (Too bad she can’t see her boyfriend, but that’s a scheduling thing more than a workout thing, depending on the situation).

    Is their motivation really just looks, though? I totally would not workout if that was my motivation. Blegh. I’m putting in a plug for working out, but strictly HAES-style.

  22. Is their motivation really just looks, though? I totally would not workout if that was my motivation. Blegh. I’m putting in a plug for working out, but strictly HAES-style.

    Barb, maybe you wouldn’t, but your livelihood probably doesn’t depend on maintaining a body that meets the extreme ideals of female appearance at all times with no slacking allowed. These women do this because it’s their job.

    The big problem comes when the culture holds up the standards they maintain with the uberexpensive trainer, the hours and hours of exercise, the private chef, the servants and above all the money these women have as the ideal for the rest of us who don’t have the other forms of support to let us make it our job to be that thin. And even though it’s not required of us poor folk who aren’t superstars to maintain that physique, it’s still held up as if “They can do it, so so can you! You’re just lazy!”

    (Leaving aside the airbrushing thing which is just crazy-making, obv.)

    DRST

  23. Lori, I don’t know about Paltrow or Madonna, but LOTS of celebrities do a whole lot of charity. I DO respect that. The working out isn’t my business and I don’t really care. I’m not going to judge their workout routines as good OR bad. Their bodies are their own fucking business, you know?

    Fwiw, Godless Heathen, I understand your point, but I’m pretty sure I’m thinner than Paltrow even when I’m not working out at all. And she’ll certainly get vilified if she gains any weight, that’s pretty clear. So on those two things I disagree.

  24. I’m not saying their workout routines are bad. I just don’t see them as fundamentally different from the time they spend getting their hair and make-up done, and we don’t see people telling us the stars are so fabulous and dedicated because of that.

    By all means, if they want to work out for two hours, they should. But, I don’t think that’s something to be respected for.

  25. I think saying it’s so vain and such a waste of time misses the point. Good for them that they have the time! I love to, when I can. It feels great and makes me feel like I kick ass and can do anything.

    I don’t think working out is a waste of time. It might be for vanity, or it might be for fun, and either way is fine. But, neither, IMO, is noble.

    Sure, they might love working out. And, it’s great if they have the time. However, if their hobby was crochet, or origami, or baking, or playing the clarinet, it would be just as great if they had the time to do that. It still wouldn’t be noble, though, and I seriously doubt the media would be telling us that we should really respect all the hard work they put into crocheting/baking/clarinet-playing. Exercise is afforded a special place of honor in our society that few other activities are afforded, and I think that’s BS. I like to exercise, I think it has many benefits, but so do all sorts of other activities. The privileging of exercise as the (or at least one of the) most virtuous uses of one’s time isn’t something that I think is positive.

  26. Totally agree with this post, but I just wanted to point out one tiny thing for people who may want to check out Jezebel:
    I don’t think SW really applies there–they don’t allow body snarking at all, and though it’s not quite as fat-positive a community as this one is, I think you’ll find that most of the women there are both feminists and very critical of the thin/beautiful standard that dominates the media.

    I really like checking out some of the sites that show you the difference between the photoshopped and original pictures of celebrities. The posters and magazines are lying, it’s true. It’s kind of astonishing to see just how strange they make people look–changing the shape of perfectly natural hips and stomachs, changing the texture of skin–and of course we don’t even notice it unless it really looks bizarre.

  27. [Jezebel]

    “they don’t allow body snarking at all”

    Unless your body happens to have a stigmatised illness, in which case the bloggers themselves will mock you merciessly.

  28. Ok, I don’t read celebrity gossip rags. Not as a sanity watchers thing, mostly it’s because I just really couldn’t care about the personal lives of celebrities. When I said what I did, I was thinking about Paltrow spending the entirety of Proof looking like something the cat threw up, and it was an. awesome. movie. Maybe I’m just crazy for wanting talented actresses and not caring what they look like and it’s the rest of the world that’s sane. In which case, I’m sure the cure for this insanity is to have my head pounded up some starlet’s ass by the omni-media extravaganza that is celebrity-shaming journalism.

    I don’t understand the people who don’t respond to “zomg, she gained 5 pounds!” with “why the fuck do we care?” Don’t people have their own shit to worry about?

  29. i think the author of that article must miss the point rather a lot… not only on how that kind of workout schedule was making her miserable, but also on the state of her b/f. frankly, if he’s dumping her b/c she won’t have a beer (or whatever alcoholic beverage) then she is probably better off w/o him. i don’t drink and yet somehow my husband (in his infinite patience and tolerance…) manages not to divorce me.

  30. Scott Adams (Dilbert) had an interesting take on this kind of thing a year or so ago on his blog. As best I can recall he made the proposition that people will suffer for things in direct proportion to the happiness they derive from them. I suppose you can also posit that “happiness” is open to a lot of interpretation there, too. He said movies stars, super models and that sort of person derive huge rewards from looking the way they do and that ordinary people simply don’t. Ordinary people, however, are more likely to derive happiness in proportion to the time spent on it from a good piece of chocolate than a lifetime spent at the gym. I’ve probably mangled that, but it made sense at the time.

  31. The reporter can’t drink because she won’t be able to workout? Sounds like she’s more in touch with her body–working out makes me want to take better care of myself, too

    That’s an awfully puritanical view of alcohol, don’t you think? The reporter wants to go out for beers with her boyfriend and she is literally too tired and hungry to contemplate it. That’s not the same as “Wow, I really feel like spinach today!” Having a drink is not a sin.

  32. When I said what I did, I was thinking about Paltrow spending the entirety of Proof looking like something the cat threw up, and it was an. awesome. movie. Maybe I’m just crazy for wanting talented actresses and not caring what they look like and it’s the rest of the world that’s sane.

    But these are two contradictory statements. Clearly you do care what she looks like, because you think she looks unhealthy. My point is that we don’t know anything about her health based on how she looks alone, even if we do know she works out a lot with an intrusive asshole of a trainer.

  33. Yeah, raven, that was weirdly phrased. I got the feeling it was more about her drastic change in habits and energy level, though, than that her boyfriend insists his girlfriend must drink to be acceptable.

  34. I am a lurker, but decided to make a post after reading this entry. The biggest thing that hit me in this article – besides the obvious ridiculousness of trying to conform to modern society’s idea of the “ideal body for a woman” – is that the reporter totally ignored the signs her body was giving her that something was wrong. She almost vomited on the treadmill, and she could not walk upstairs at some point because her body was so weak. Right there, she should have stopped this regimen. Her body was telling her that something was wrong, and she apparently ignored it. And if her trainer knew about these problems, he should have stopped her. This whole “no pain, no gain” idea is unhealthy and dangerous. She should have more respect for her own body…forget about Madonna and Paltrow.

    I have to say after looking at the pictures – which I agree with whoever said they are absolutely horrible as “before and after” pictures – I think she looks worse. Her look is hard to describe, but she doesn’t look as happy or relaxed as she did in the before picture.

    BTW, I love this site! Thanks for all of the hard work you do to keep it going! :-)

  35. I don’t think SW really applies there

    Often it doesn’t, but we checked and in this thread it does. FYI, we usually don’t offer SW warnings on a guess.

  36. What an extreme example they used though; like Paltrow and Madonna? The freakishly thinnest woman and frighteningly buffest woman in the public eye? I suppose the extremity was meant to drive a point home (about how far you need to go), but does anyone even want to look like that? If you really wanted to look like a celebrity, there’s probably a hundred woman you could look like without vomiting on the treadmill or getting texts from a personal trainer…

    …But maybe we shouldn’t be trying to look like celebrities in the first place…in which case I’ll be honest: I like looking at pictures of physically fit female celebrities. It doesn’t mean I hate what’s already in the mirror, but it’s motivating to me; I say to myself: “if they can work out every freakin’ day to look like that, I’m sure I can work out for an hour on this Sunday afternoon, and look and feel better than I do right now”…it all depends on how you spin it, and it’s different for everyone. In the end you have to work on what’s on the “inside”, ’cause after that you can be huge or thin, and it’s all the same.

  37. The freakishly thinnest woman and frighteningly buffest woman in the public eye? I suppose the extremity was meant to drive a point home (about how far you need to go), but does anyone even want to look like that?

    jesus christ, what’s with the body-shaming talk today??

  38. Often it doesn’t, but we checked and in this thread it does. FYI, we usually don’t offer SW warnings on a guess.

    You’re not kidding. Anyway, I’ve had a strenuous morning of sitting on the couch watching Doctor Who, so I’m going to go reward myself with a glass of water and a mouthful of air now.

  39. What an extreme example they used though; like Paltrow and Madonna? The freakishly thinnest woman and frighteningly buffest woman in the public eye? I suppose the extremity was meant to drive a point home (about how far you need to go), but does anyone even want to look like that? If you really wanted to look like a celebrity, there’s probably a hundred woman you could look like without vomiting on the treadmill or getting texts from a personal trainer…

    Romi, everything about this paragraph is body-shaming and solipsistic. Advocating for fat people does not mean hating on thin people. Knock it the fuck off.

  40. And Shiloh–that sort of training isnt so much a full time job as it is closer to a part-time job.

    That’s why I said, “if your body isn’t interested” it’s a full time job. Yeah, for some people, keeping a shape like that takes the time of a hobby or a part time job – but for someone whose body thinks they should be much heavier than the norm, part time attention Does Not Cut It when it comes to keeping thin.

    I don’t have a problem with someone who thinks it worthwhile to work that hard – my problem is with the culture demanding that all women achieve this goal, even though for some women it’s not that hard while for other women no matter how hard they try, they’ll never achieve it. Someone saying, “It’s not that hard, really” is about as useful as me telling someone, “Sure, you can take physics without having taken the math requirements – I did. Hey, physics is cake.”

    For me, physics was cake – mildly challenging, always knew what math formula to apply, totally enjoyable. But that’s no reason for me to assume physics is cake for everyone. The fact that some people can achieve the “body of the day” with reasonable effort is no more garuntee that anyone can than the fact that I could ace physics without the required math indicates anyone can.

    Personal experience is just that – personal. I love to hear other people’s personal experiences because they may be mine or they may be a glimpse into a world I don’t live in, but while there is no doubt in some sense a universal human experience, that doesn’t mean we should assume that our personal experience is THE human experience.

  41. Also — what is with this obsession with not bulking up? I saw it in the article and I’ve seen it all over every exercise infomercial aimed at women — how we all want the ‘long and lean’ look and how we don’t ever ever ever want to bulk up.

    Well, in opposite order: first — if I’m working out and lifting weights that much, I damn well want to see results, which probably means bulking up. I think it would be kind of awesome. Second, I’m short, short-legged, short-armed, short-torsoed, short-waisted (I’m fairly proportionate, which means it’s all short) and it would take an act of G-d or Zeus or something to make me long. Lean, well — my arms are pretty damn lean, and I don’t have any visible fat on my calves, but they’re not ‘thin’ — at least, not the way that the ‘long and lean’ infomercial ladies mean it.

  42. Also — what is with this obsession with not bulking up?

    Gender norms in Western society. Bulked-up women are generally perceived as masculinized, and often ridiculed as ugly.

  43. What an extreme example they used though; like Paltrow and Madonna? The freakishly thinnest woman and frighteningly buffest woman in the public eye? I suppose the extremity was meant to drive a point home (about how far you need to go), but does anyone even want to look like that? If you really wanted to look like a celebrity, there’s probably a hundred woman you could look like without vomiting on the treadmill or getting texts from a personal trainer…

    I think you’re missing a key point here. There are women who could probably go through this exact same training regimine and look NOTHING like Gweneth paltrow or Madonna (*raises hand*). They could torture themselves and still not be thin enough to win “Miss Clavicle of the Year.” Which star’s trainer they pick is not the issue, I’m sure all of the the stars have similar training programs.

  44. “Romi, everything about this paragraph is body-shaming and solipsistic. Advocating for fat people does not mean hating on thin people.”

    Thanks for that! I am new to the site but I don’t dig the whiffs of thin-hating – or whatever someone smarter than me could identify it as. I am wondering if this is OK or common on the site. This may be stepping out on a limb but I don’t enjoy the dissing on those who want to work out tons. I see a huge merit in addressing and (repeatedly) pointing out the lies, the photoshopping, the intense amount of work that goes into the celebrity image – precisely because those celebrity images are A. shown to us as normative and attainable and desirable and (sometimes) virtuous and B. many of us and our sisters and mothers and husbands or whatever are suffering as they chase after these images. But hating on individuals who work out a lot – for WHATEVER reason they do? I can’t get behind it. We had a quote here where a reader said if you’re fat and have an ice cream in hand people will judge and hate you – having no idea if it’s the first time you’ve tasted it in 15 years or if it’s your 51st cone of the day. I feel that way about hating on skinny or fitness-”obsessed” people. Yes, some of them are bound to be pursuing thinness for thinness alone, and therefore they are not practicing FA, and even working against it. But not all people who are super-active are fat-haters. And no matter what – can’t we speak about these people whom we don’t know with respect?

    I understand one might argue that those who pursue hardbodies are doing so “only for looks” and therefore they are part of the problem, and therefore fair game for our ire. I understand the argument. However one thing that drew me to this site strongly was this little treatise – http://kateharding.net/but-dont-you-realize-fat-is-unhealthy/ – the authors here uphold. And it’s all about banishing hate. Fat people know what it’s like to be hated. How could we let hate come out of our mouths? Criticism, yes. Curse words, fine! I love ‘em! But talking about Gwyneth or whoever as “freakish” and “something the cat threw up” and “undesirable”, et al – even saying working out for two hours a day is in and of itself vain. I dunno. I understand this language may seem necessary to some but I refuse to participate and I hope others here do too.

    The gym thing confuses me. Somewhat anecdotal – I have a friend who works out a lot. I’ve known her since we were in 2nd grade and she’s grown up to be very athletic. In her own words, she “works, goes to the gym, sleeps”. She seems extremely health-oriented – her profession is in healing, she has read tons of literature on food and natural remedies. I can’t imagine looking at her with the lens of “you suck” or thinking of her as vain, or whatever. Because I simply DON’T KNOW why she does what she does. I haven’t even asked her WHY she works out. I haven’t taken the time to really get to know her motives. I’m sure there is an interesting discussion there! (and after writing this, I plan to have it with her) But “other”ing her simply because yeah, she hits the gym a lot, I just don’t think that’s right.

    I do not want to tread on anyone’s toes here. Keep in mind I am so super-new to Fat Acceptance! I just found this site three days ago but have been reading quite a bit ever since. I am so impressed with the caliber of the three main authors, and I have enjoyed many of the comments I’ve read here.

  45. “Lori, I don’t know about Paltrow or Madonna, but LOTS of celebrities do a whole lot of charity. I DO respect that. The working out isn’t my business and I don’t really care. I’m not going to judge their workout routines as good OR bad. Their bodies are their own fucking business, you know?”

    volcanista, you said what I was thinking way smarter than I could.

  46. Kelly, did you see volcanista’s guest post? If not, it may interest you. Thin-bashing (and body-shaming of any kind) is absolutely verboten here, so please do let us know if/when you see it.

    We all have different activities that we value, and we all get different pleasures out of certain activities. Some people detest reading poetry; I’m devoting my life to it. I have no doubt that people who get more joy out of athletics than I do will actually want to exercise more than I do — and it won’t be for vanity or pressure, but for pleasure. That’s awesome; that’s their prerogative and we fully encourage pleasure here.

    What I wanted to point out in this post, and what many commenters have also noted, is that the workouts above are described as torturous and hellish to the people who do them. They are clearly damaging to the body in the short-term, and they’re engaged in to meet physical standards of beauty that are constantly narrowing, to the point where (as I said in the post) even Jessica Alba doesn’t look like Jessica Alba. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all known people who punish themselves with exercise because they think they’re supposed to look like Alba; but we’ve probably also known people who do a similar amount of exercise because they’re training for a marathon. It’s not exercise or gym-going per se that is the problem here: it’s the demands on ALL bodies to look like CERTAIN bodies, no matter what the physical, psychological, and social tolls are.

  47. Thank you so much for the link, Sweet Machine. I completely understood your original article and agreed with every point. My gym comments and queries were entirely in response to some of the comments I was reading.

    Funny you’d bring up running marathons – I was talking to my husband about SP last night (he’s had to hear a lot about it since I found it!) and he commented that he’s always understood bodies were different – or had different setpoints, or whatever way you’d describe it – because at road races (he was a runner) he’d see all sorts of sizes and shapes crossing the finish line at all levels of speed.

    (going to read volcanica’s post now)…

  48. Thanks, Kelly! I noticed your comments within the past couple days, and you do seem new (fyi, there are a lot of resources in the archives here about how to find clothes to fit lots of kinds of bodies), but I think you’re totally right about what you’ve said here.

  49. because at road races (he was a runner) he’d see all sorts of sizes and shapes crossing the finish line at all levels of speed.

    This is totally true. And yet troll commenters still insist they’ve never seen a fat person at a road race. I mean, seriously? Where are they looking?

  50. Oh, Kelly, that recap wasn’t just for you — sorry if it seemed that way! But you’re right that several people have wandered into shame territory on this comment thread, and I wanted to reiterate the main point.

  51. Yes, I am new – and loving this site more than anything! I am trying to read and absorb and not say anything ignorant and assy.

    Wow – clothes? Clothes that could fit me? I almost have tears in my eyes thinking about it! ;-)

    This is a bit OT but, volcanista, I loved your guest article. The passage about going to the doctor’s office and how you were treated, gave me the chills. “Good girl!”, indeed.

  52. Ah sorry everyone; I certainly didn’t mean to imply that Jezebel is perfect, but it is (often) a lot better than some of the other stuff out there. You guys are much better at recognizing a lot of offensive things than I am though (I am definitely still trying to get a handle on recognizing the privilege I benefit from), so I apologize if I have led anyone into something ugly–I just like Jezebel because it (usually) is a decent alternative to other blogs that discuss fashion and celebrity, if you’re into that sort of thing.
    @lauredhel–I’m not sure exactly what you’re referring to, but that makes me really sad if it’s true. BAH. Why aren’t more sites as awesome as Shapely Prose?
    Apologies for doubting your judgment here–I love this blog (obviously) and I really don’t want to sound like that over-privileged jerk who doesn’t understand how some things are just blatantly wrong and offensive.

    Since someone mentioned the thing about not bulking up, I was wondering if anyone else remembered this? I can’t remember if it was here or another blog, but there was a link to a post about female bodybuilders at a feminist blog where all of the comments were along the lines of “ewww” or “Oh, I don’t find that attractive at all.” One of the mods eventually dealt with it, I think, but it’s awful that there’s such a pervasive idea (even among people on a feminist site!) that certain behaviors are acceptable only if they render you acceptably feminine. I really enjoy that post that you’ve linked to sometimes called “you don’t have to be pretty.” I know it shouldn’t really be a revelation, but it kind of is.

  53. I agree that exercise itself isn’t a bad thing. Even intense exercise. There are certainly people who train 2+ hours a day because they love it, or love the sport it trains them for. I also agree that exercise is pretty healthy. Even if I think it’s pretty ridiculous that exercise, which is something good we do for *ourselves*, is seen as every bit as virtuous as truly charitable things we do for others.

    But my problem here is that there are times when exercise is not healthy, and the author’s experience here seems like one of them. Yes, soreness after a particularly hard workout is okay at times, but soreness for days on end is a sign that you’re straining your body. Vomiting-is-ok workout mentalities and the inability to climb stairs? Not healthy. I actually thought that the routine itself sounded interesting – lots of stuff to build up full-body strength and balance. It’s the intensity and the mentality that irked me, as well as the expectation that because people for whom it is part of their job can put in this sort of effort, it’d be a good thing for other people to do it too.

    Oh, and the idea that women don’t want to bulk up. I hate that shit. I want to build muscle. If it makes me look jacked that would be awesome. Long and lean my ass, I just want to be able to bench press more.

  54. Erika, I think the blog post you’re referring to was on Feministe.

    I also remember similar discussions from when Mapplethorpe’s book about Lisa Lyon came out — in the intro, perhaps? And also in magazines, newpapers and television, that being long before the Web … in 1979 or 80, I think.

  55. I can’t really think of anything to add. I just want to scream very loudly, for a really long time, while bashing my head against the desk.

    I am one of those people who will overdo the workouts at times. Even though I try to keep exercise separate from my eating habits (as in, NOT working out to “make up” for eating dessert), it doesn’t always work. Yup. I’ve got issues. Fortunately, I’m also in therapy.

  56. Ah yes Sweet Machine and Eucritta, that was the post I was referring to. I was so disappointed in Feministe’s readers then, but I’m so glad that you talked about it here on Shapely Prose. That was a great post and I think it relates to this one in a lot of interesting ways.

  57. But hating on individuals who work out a lot – for WHATEVER reason they do?

    I don’t hate Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow for working up a lot. That’s their choice and not actually any of my business. I just think it’s fucked up that they’re required to. I’ve seen a lot of comments along the lines of: “Well it’s their jobs to look like that”, but it isn’t. Madonna’s job is singer/entertainer and Paltrow’s job is actor. It’s completely fucked that when women have those jobs, part of the job description becomes “having 0% body fat.” And even more fucked that that seems to be part of a requirement for being a woman in public.

  58. “it’s awful that there’s such a pervasive idea (even among people on a feminist site!) that certain behaviors are acceptable only if they render you acceptably feminine.”

    Erika, agreed. That’s why I cringe whenever anyone, man or woman, fat or thin, looks at another woman and says, “I don’t find that attractive AT ALL”, as if that’s the be-all end-all reason to do or not do anything!

    “I don’t hate Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow for working up a lot. That’s their choice and not actually any of my business. I just think it’s fucked up that they’re required to.”

    Agreed. I only recently found this site; after reading the post re: Jessica Simpson’s weight gain, yesterday my family was out at the supermarket and she (Simpson) was splashed all over the tabloids “FAT”/”NOT FAT” etc. Thank you to the smart readings on this site I saw the whole thing in a different way than I would have before. If this makes any sense, I saw the mag covers as MORE important than I would have previous (no, I don’t read these mags, or fashion mags, or even fashion / celeb websites – at all). I just think I’ve been walking around on some level, deep down – waaaaay deep down – accepting that it is the “right” to demand thinness, attractiveness, etc out of all these women in the way that we do. As in, “You’re a celebrity, deal with it.” Now I am feeling differently.

  59. I see the time I spend exercising as no more virtuous or noble than the time I spend knitting or reading. All of those are activities that I enjoy and that refresh me. I certainly don’t feel guilty for doing any of them. But, they are all pretty much selfish. The world is not going to be left a better place than it was because I knit a sock, read a book, or walked three miles.

    Also this, which was far up and now the topic’s changed to being “required” to work out, but I wanted to add my two cents’ worth and agree here. That’s always been one of my biggest obstacles to regular exercise. How dare I spend an hour on something that is just for me? How can I justify exercising when there is so much else to do? I know I take it too far in the other direction, but because I have that view on it, it’s impossible for me to understand the people who hold up exercise as the number one Best Most Virtuous Thing In The World to do. Um, no. It’s a nice thing to do for your own body, unless you do it in such a way that it hurts your body, and that’s it.

  60. thank you for this.
    i am used to being fit and healthy. now, i have delivered four babies in four years and my fitness and health — psychological, emotional, physical — have been, um, shall we say, reshaped. and i have been struggling mightily with this. i’m not usually stupid enough to believe the crap we see and hear about celebs and their bodies, but in this realm — the post-baby world of mommy-lushness — i seem to have lost all critical capacity. i needed this dose of reality. a lot. thank you.

  61. Exercise as virtue is a very puritanical idea. After all, a synonym is “working out,” and we all know about the Puritan Work Ethic and the idea that self-deprivation and working yourself to exhaustion are noble in themselves, even if you don’t actually accomplish anything.

  62. Speaking of pressure on women not to “bulk up.” I went to the reproductive endocrinologist a few weeks ago (for a consult on my PCOS), and he told me to stop lifting weights b/c women with PCOS have more testosterone than most women, and they build muscle faster. He then went on to say that, “women don’t like to get bulky,” and over the course of the conversation said this about three times!
    Ack!

    Funny, the ability to build muscle quickly is something I’ve always considered one of the few advantages of PCOS! I just sat absolutely still and said nothing in response to this, because he is one of two RE’s in my insurance network (the other one is about an hour’s drive away), and I may need to go to this guy for IVF someday. I didn’t want to get blackballed as the “difficult patient” in his office. Maybe a little cowardly, I know, but I just didn’t want to expend my mental energy untangling this guy’s sexism/sizeism for him, know what I mean?

    Geez, sorry for the long post! I’ll end my threadjack now :P

  63. Oh, to clarify, I meant, “I just didn’t want to expend my mental energy untangling this guy’s sexism/sizeism for him, and in the process become his least favorite patient when I may need him to help me concieve later, like in 5 years, know what I mean?”

  64. For the record, I hate the beauty standard in the entertainment industry with the burning passion of a thousand fiery suns. I don’t think it’s a good thing.

    However, for someone like Paltrow, whose career depends on her looks, even if she made some kind of stand and said “Fuck you, I gained 5 pounds, I don’t care!” it would translate into a loss of worth as a “star” (whereas Kate Winslet can act circles around anyone and has a track record of refusing to buckle to this kind of pressure, so her career is not in jeopardy based on this single decision). Gywneth Paltrow probably can’t survive as an actress if she doesn’t look the way the producers and executives want her to look.

    Just look at what happened to Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Love Hewitt, two significantly less talented women, when they were just photographed in an unflattering way. Armageddon. (Bellygeddon?) And JLH after coming out at first and defending herself went on a diet.

    Is this absolutely wrong and fucked up? Hell yes. But I’m not an actress and I have no idea how I would behave if I was coping with that standard, what I would do to meet it, what decisions I would make in that situation, with that kind of public, intense and monetary pressure at work on me.

    DRST

  65. Annitspurple, that’s insane. I have PCOS too (though my testosterone is normal) and I’ve read that having more muscle is good for your insulin resistance, and thus FIGHTS PCOS!!!!

  66. Long and lean my ass, I just want to be able to bench press more.

    Me too! Adding weight to a machine (circuit training) makes me feel powerful and mighty in a way shrinking never can.

  67. Erika: I’ve a few links here.

    Five instances of “retard” or “retardedly” as an insult, and one of a whole lot of disabilities being “made-up”. They use the term “fictionyalgia”, and claim that ADD, bipolar disorder, and irritable bowel syndrome are just caused by people “obsessing over aches that other people simply tolerate”.

    These aren’t comments; they are the Jezebel bloggers themselves. They’ve been called out – repeatedly – and don’t care. Because they’re _edgy_.

  68. Romi, everything about this paragraph is body-shaming and solipsistic. Advocating for fat people does not mean hating on thin people. Knock it the fuck off.

    Where was the hating on thin people? It was the reporter who described the “thin people” workout including the extreme exercise up to and including vomiting on a treadmill, not me…And yes maybe I described Gwenyth as looking freakishly thin, but that doesn’t mean I hate thin people, it just means that it would scare me to be that thin…a personal thing. In the end thin people inspire me in their photographs, as I said.

    And honestly is that how his blog works? That it’s an accepted society of commenter-friends who are welcome here only as long as they completely agree with whatever point of view is already established? (and if there was one I’m sorry but I missed the disclaimer). In that case maybe this blog should be private for only those readers who will say whatever is pleasing to your ears…but in the event that it is a public blog open to comments (which it seems to be)…well I don’t know…didn’t see that reaction coming.

    In the end, you can tell me to keep my opinion to myself and I will, it’s your blog afterall. But telling me to “fuck off”? Your prerogative, but wildly immature. I’ll try not to let the door hit me on the way out…

  69. lauredhel:
    Oh wow, I definitely did not know about that. That is really unfortunate. Thanks for the link–that stuff is incredibly infuriating. A close friend of mines mom has fibro and chronic fatigue (I guess she’s my friend too, but she’s a lot older than I am so calling her that feels weird) and I can assure you that that it’s completely real. Ugh, I’m really disgusted now; thanks for pointing that out.

  70. @ lauredhel

    Thanks for the heads-up about Jezebel. My best friend has bipolar and I’ve seen the hell she endured over the years until she finally found a regimen that worked for her. It enrages me that people could dismiss this very serious illness as “fictionyalgia”.

  71. Oo oo my turn!!

    + passive-aggressive name calling (you guys are so immature!!)
    - “You can’t fire me because I quit”
    - “you’re ruining the movement”
    - complaints about specific deleted comments/mean encounters/”I know this post was really about me”
    - exclamation points
    + “free speech”
    ++ “echo chamber”

    Romi’s flounce rating: only a 6, in my opinion. Especially since so far there has not been a return, which I think deducts from the flounce.

    I like how calling someone’s appearance isn’t thin-bashing now, it’s just a personal opinion!

  72. “And yes maybe I described Gwenyth as looking freakishly thin, but that doesn’t mean I hate thin people, it just means that it would scare me to be that thin…a personal thing. In the end thin people inspire me in their photographs, as I said.”

    So let me get this straight: Thin people are thinspirational for you unless they are freakish and scary and too thin. Yet you weren’t judging thin people in your post.

    What in the everloving fuck?

  73. I’ve seen a lot of comments along the lines of: “Well it’s their jobs to look like that”, but it isn’t. Madonna’s job is singer/entertainer and Paltrow’s job is actor.

    THIS TIMES TEN BILLIONTY BILLION TO THE BILLIONTH POWER.

    Yes, sometimes male actors put themselves through the wringer, physically, for the demands of a particular part–Christian Bale and Adrien Brody starving themselves to play concentration-camp inmates come to mind.

    But female actors are expected to do that for EVERY part. And when they’re not acting. And just in their everyday lives.

  74. And honestly is that how his blog works? That it’s an accepted society of commenter-friends who are welcome here only as long as they completely agree with whatever point of view is already established? (and if there was one I’m sorry but I missed the disclaimer).

    Not been reading here long, have you?

  75. I also like how “knock it the fuck off” now means “fuck off.”

    My post was missing the word “freakish,” fwiw. Not that it matters. I’m suspecting that was an actual one-time flounce! A rarity!

  76. And yes maybe I described Gwenyth as looking freakishly thin, but that doesn’t mean I hate thin people, it just means that it would scare me to be that thin…a personal thing. In the end thin people inspire me in their photographs, as I said.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    -freakish
    -scary
    -inspiring

    To repeat a great quote by Roy of No Cookies for Me:
    If you can’t talk about about the ways that our society idealizes unrealistic body types without calling another woman “gross” or “disgusting”, then you’re doing it wrong, and you should take a minute to figure out why.

    But, you know, please take that minute elsewhere.

  77. What really gets me is the woman who now trains Madonna and Gwyneth (Tracy Anderson, I think?) is known for emphasizing thinness as if it were more important than being fit. It worries me that fitness isn’t her primary goal, and it worries me that she says women shouldn’t do cardio (“I don’t believe in running. I can’t be pulling your muscles in teeny-tiny and then you go bulk it up with your cardio.”) or lift weights heavier than 3 pounds. Even though she’s in financial legal trouble up to her eyebrows, clients still flock to her–’okay, she may scam me for thousands of dollars, but will I get thin?’ (Perhaps, but then you will be neither fast nor strong, and you may simply end up with a lighter wallet.)

    (The full article is at http://www.indianapolismonthly.com/article.aspx?id=18612.)

    The earlier Beauty Myth references are spot-on. I see no empowerment for anyone in this kind of regime.

  78. You’re right, volcanista, this was not a very impressive flounce. Especially given that it only followed one warning and not a series of increasingly heated comments.

  79. It’s possible.

    I will never understand why, when someone asks you not to use certain words or expressions, so many people feel the need to go all, “You’re stifling my free expression by not allowing me to be as nasty as I want!”

  80. Ah. My sense of entitlement is very small naturally, which means that I am morally superior to those with large senses of entitlement, right?

  81. SM, why don’t you just go ahead and get the bio-port installed for your sense of entitlement? It’s much comfier than that old-school abdominal slit. And you can switch out your sense of entitlement for, say, a baby-doughnut holder on an as-needed basis.

  82. Orbach: From the therapist’s point of view, these two forms of managing food share complementary characteristics. Anorectics have a tendency to overestimate their size. The obese tend to underestimate theirs. Neither see themselves as they are. Nor do either have an easy time accepting their appetites.

    Oh, Orbach. You could have been so great. If only you had some clues.

  83. Sarah hit it right on the head. Tracey Anderson is in deep legal shit, gives sketchy “fitness’ advice, and her 2 most famous clients are known for working out a bit compulsively.
    Why do people take said advice from her?

  84. The ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos….can anyone else not really see any difference? Sure, the lighting, dresses and poses are different, but to me the journalist looks pretty much the same in both shots – except possibly the strained looking smile in the ‘after’ one – probably denoting that a) she’s sucking in her tummy, and/or b) the poor maid’s totally knackered!

    Articles like this one just make me feel sooooooooooooo glad and relieved that I gave all this sort of rubbish up.

  85. Tru Blu xx – I can’t see a difference either (and since the “before” dress is much nicer, to my mind, I thought it was the after pic until I read the captions. DRST nailed it upthread:

    And randomly: not to be stereotypical but what is up with that dress the DM reporter is wearing in the second photo? How in the world is that outfit showing off her “new physique” when it obscures her body from mid-thigh to upper waist? Not to mention she’s got her arms pinned behind her. Whoever took those photos will never make a career out of the before & after shots. They look like they should be reversed.

  86. lauredhel – I just read your post on issues with Jezebel and am seriously, seriously disappointed with them. I hadn’t noticed the ableism (ah, the blinding power of privilege…), but I am usually pretty alert to the use of “retard” as an insult, which I hate, and hadn’t seen it. Grrr.

  87. Bev, I didn’t read all of the article you linked — I gave up at the point where Orbach began to just plain make shit up, such as her claim that the ‘circle’ graphed from consumption of low-fat milk ‘would’ correspond with the ‘circle’ of recent obesity. IMHO, it’s never a good sign when someone blatantly pulls data out of their ass to bolster an argument.

  88. Just wanted to chime in with some comments above, that I don’t exercise as much as I probably “should” because there are so many other things I’d rather be doing with my time, that I don’t have time for as it is. And this is the number one reason for not going to the gym, even though several people have said, even if I pay for it you won’t go??? No. It’s a waste of your money and my time….because every second will be spent with me thinking, what else could I be doing that would make me so much happier. I prefer mental health over physical, I suppose.

  89. lol… Eucritta, I linked the darn thing, and I didn’t read it all either! I gave up about half way through, when I could no longer decipher what she was actually trying to SAY.

  90. DRST: “Just look at what happened to Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Love Hewitt, two significantly less talented women, when they were just photographed in an unflattering way.

    “…But I’m not an actress and I have no idea how I would behave if I was coping with that standard, what I would do to meet it, what decisions I would make in that situation, with that kind of public, intense and monetary pressure at work on me.”

    Yeah, but there still is some level of personal responsibility as well. And as long as these women continue to enable and encourage it, then it continues on. There’s too much enabling and encouraging all around. I typically don’t even watch movies, or TV, because the vast majority of them are a waste of time for me. And although it’s totally fucked up with the backlash against Jessica Simpson, I don’t particularly feel sorry for her because she was taking advantage of this current system, and benefitting from it, just fine. She was in part responsible for all of those airbrushed images of herself marketed everywhere for young girls to compare themselves to. So she stopped feeding the monster and now it bit her, but why feed it to begin with?

  91. I hope constantly that there will come a day in my lifetime where a woman is not told that her self worth is equal to her waist line. I am hopelessly frustrated with the media images of what a ‘real woman’ is supposed to look like.

    And I thought it was so great that Dove had the Campaign for Real Beauty, until I found out a couple months ago that Dove is owned by Unilever. The same company that owns Axe. I’ll never buy Dove products again.

    It’s just proof that they really don’t care about the messages they send to and about women, it all boils down to money.

  92. i]I know you know this, but it’s always worth a reminder: these images are lying to you. Ads are lying to you. Magazines are lying to you. Posters are lying to you.[/i] — sad part about it is that, that’s how they sell. they lie to sell.

    as an advertising graduate and former practioner, i have long realized that truth.

    sad but true. people now tend to judge by what they see from the outside.

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