I’ve become obsessed with the Lou & Grey line at the Loft lately — comfortable, cozy, textured pieces that can be dressed up or dressed down — which is perfect for me. First, I work in a cool-but-cas environment (digital ad agency), so I can get away with jeans and heels and a cute, comfy tank and cardigan. And since I’m a mom, I look for ease and comfort when it comes to dressing on the weekends. While I still love (and live in) my beloved Lululemon gear, I’ve wanted to branch out a little — yoga pants don’t make me feel like a 35-year old woman lately.
It’s epic. Truly, truly epic. Personally, I think this does far more for women than Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty. This has nothing to do with physical beauty and everything to do with how we perceive ourselves early on … and how society basically screws us up by the time we hit puberty.
I want my daughter to see this. I want her friends to see it. To know it. To love it. To believe it. (When she’s older than 3, of course!).
Anyone who has ever struggled with body image (and who hasn’t?!) knows that the beach is one of the most challenging places to visit on earth. It’s a judgement zone on steroids (or at least, that’s how it feels) and everyone is next to naked … which makes me horribly squeamish.
Even when I was my thinnest (circa 2004-2005), I only liked laying down or walking around with a sarong at the beach/pool. Rationally, I knew that I had a [mostly] flat belly (a gift even when I wasn’t thin) … but I had dimpled thighs, a big bottom and curvy hips — all “flaws. ”
I’m absolutely appalled by this latest body image blunder I got wind of via one of my fave bloggers,Carla, via Facebook.
Blogger Brooke Birmingham lost an incredible amount of weight (170 lbs!) and was supposed to be featured as one of Shape magazine’s upcoming weight loss success stories. Check out what happenedwhen she sent in her photo: which included her rocking a bikini.
Upworthy has the best posts … this amazing video of Jean Kilbourne (per Wikipedia: an author, speaker, and filmmaker who is internationally recognized for her work on the image of women in advertising and her critical studies of alcohol and tobacco advertising) was shared by a friend earlier today via this Upworthy post, “Advertising’s Image of Women.”
I don’t need to repeat all the great nuggets in here — just watch it for yourself — but listening to her words — every single one truer than the next — just made my blood boil. How many of us — knowing full well that all these images we see in ads, magazines, movies, etc., are “Photochopped” — still fall hook, line and sinker for the products/diets/programs being marketed to us? I know I’m guilty. Just yesterday at Walgreen’s I happened to pass by the magazine rack and within two seconds, felt my post-partum self-esteem plummet just from a glance at the glossies in front of me. As if I wasn’t already feeling uncomfortable in my own skin … oy!
Of course, once in my car, mentally I kicked myself — post-partum body or not, you KNOW better, Melissa! — but the truth is, I’m just as easily persuaded to fall for the facade as the next person. In spite of all my progress over the years, I’m rendered as susceptible to media influences as an impressionable 8-year old girl. It’s both infuriating and perplexing. Shouldn’t I/we be above this by now?!! Sadly, I don’t see things changing — just getting worse, as Jean notes … which upsets me for my daughter (and my son, too).
I don’t have the answers, but it’s always good to get the conversation going in the right direction. While I don’t see myself banning the purchase of beauty products or magazines, I realize I have the power to control my reaction to images I see. I can also look away with full knowledge that what I see is just some utopian image vs. reality.
It’s just not easy when we’re bombarded 24/7 with images of “perfection.” Of truly unattainable expectations, expectations we need to collectively dismiss. Somehow.
All of a sudden, Maya has grown taller and thinned out. Her delicious Michelin Man arm rolls and chubby toddler cheeks have all but disappeared. She is still built like Luis and I — a long, lean(ish) torso and thicker arms and legs. But her body is … different now.
She’s clearly had a growth spurt–even though she still religiously wears two pairs of 18-24 month BabyGap jeans (no clue how they still fit …) , depending on the brand, some of her 2T clothes are getting snug. Short. This is a kid who wore newborn til she was two months old and was always a size behind her age. Continue reading “Carefully chosen words”→
Right now, at 33 weeks, I feel like I look like I did when I was nine months pregnant with Maya. I’ve already gained above the 25 pounds I gained with her. I’m waddling. Wearing heels hurts. And my spine is all out of whack from having a giant basketball in front. I feel like a human teapot, about to tip over at any given moment. And on top of all that awesomeness, I’m pretty much a forgetful, anxious hot mess these days.
So it came as quite a surprise when, on two separate occasions in the past week, people paid me compliments that totally didn’t jive with how I have been feeling … but made me feel great regardless. Continue reading “Perception and Reality”→
Facebook’s news ticker can be a distraction at times, but then there are days like today when a friend comments on a post or article and I click over and read it … and am truly blown away. It was called “An Open Apology to All of My Weight Loss Clients,” and reading it, I was near-tears. The author’s words are amazingly powerful and so brutally honest. Continue reading “The Trap”→
Maybe we are FINALLY turning a page with respect to post-partum body image.
When Kate Middleton stepped out of the hospital — not even 24-hours post-partum — she stood there, cupping her still-swollen belly looking absolutely radiant … and moms around the world cheered. Here she was, looking like we all do after delivering a baby: exhausted, puffy, and still looking 6-mths pregnant. Continue reading “A Turning Point?”→