Tag Archives: body shaming

The Skinny Best

29 Dec

It has been an exciting year here at I’m Skinny, Now What? We’ve hit more than 100 posts, celebrated an anniversary and delved deeper into the weight-loss journey. As the year comes to a close, here are some of the 2014’s top posts based on number of hits.

What I learned:

Prince Fielder

prince_fielderThe Body Issue post may have done well because there was a naked man at the center of the post. I’d like to think it had something to do with the writing, though. Body shaming is a big issue to me. In short: I’m not here for it. No one should be made to feel less than because they’re not your idea of perfection. We are all flawed works in progress. Prince Fielder is an amazing athlete who can do incredible things on the baseball field. He doesn’t look like Derek Jeter or (insert your favorite hot baseball player here). He looks like a stocky man with muscular thighs that can swing a bat and knock a baseball out of the park. He’s awesome. It ends there.

Street Harassment

This post got a boost from advertising, but also from touching on an important issue to women: street harassment. Every woman has had to deal with unwanted advances from men. Every woman has their go-to deflection technique. And every woman has had to explain to men that this is a real problem, not just some stranger on the street saying hello. Some day we’ll get to the  point where women telling men this is a problem is enough and not just seeing a video to prove it.

Aerials

arial_4One of the first posts of the year had me seeing the world upside down. And it was ridiculous fun. I haven’t had a chance to do it again, but I’ve got to set aside some time. If you’re in New York, I suggest you make a date with Kiebpoli, because she has the patience of Job and is an excellent instructor. There are all levels of participants: from newbies like myself to people preparing for their first circus performance. Don’t be afraid of heights. You’re not going up that high when you start. But prepare for lots of upper-body strain. And a lot of fun.

BET Awards

nicki4To be honest, I do a lot of recapping in my professional life. I contribute to our entertainment site’s live blog of Oscar, Tony and Grammy coverage, so adding my two cents to the BET Awards was nothing new. It was different, however, to try to incorporate some Skinny Now elements. But that was just some added fun. My favorite moment of the night was Nicki Minaj’s shade/no shade moment with Iggy Azalea. In that moment, the queen conquered.

The End of Cuffing Season

Winter chills came a little early this year, pushing everyone’s cuffing-season plans into overdrive. With just a few days left until Christmas it’s safe to say that if you haven’t found your cuddle buddy for the next few months, it’s time to invest in a space heater and a large blanket. But if you’ve found that special someone to make the cold nights not so lonely, remember that you can’t spend all your time in bed. Some fun kitchen activities will help you refuel for what’s to come.

Honorable mention: The Ugly Truth

IMG_0737Even though this wasn’t posted in 2014, it gained some traction and actually got a few more hits than the cuffing season post. You guys really like my story about being dirty, funky and icky. Thanks peeps.

Next year, let’s keep this party going. Tell your friends about the site. If there’s something you’d like to see covered here, I’m welcome to suggestions. I’m Skinny, Now What? is about helping you along on your journey. We will continue to laugh, think and press forward as we strive to reach our goals. Thank you all for your support, and good luck in the new year.

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Running From Street Harassment

31 Oct

A couple of months ago, I was out walking my dog before my run. I was wearing what most runners wear: capris, a dri-fit T-shirt and running shoes. It was a nice day, so we took a longer walk than usual.

A young man crossed the street while Xander was doing his thing and said, “Hello.” “Hi,” I responded and kept it moving. When we got to the park, he showed up again and asked how my day was. I said fine, and moved along. A block later he caught up with me again and continued to try to carry on a conversation with me. I told him I wasn’t interested, but he kept walking with me. I used the usual tropes a woman uses when trying to get a persistent guy away from her: I have a boyfriend; I have to get going; I don’t have time; Take care. For almost five blocks, this guy followed me until I raised my voice and told him, “You’re just going to have to take no for an answer!” The rest of the way home, I was looking over my shoulder to make sure he didn’t follow me back to my apartment.

This was the second time I’d been followed by a man in less than two weeks. This type of harassment is something I’ve been dealing with since I was 11 years old.

I’ve mentioned several times on here how I’m an avid runner. What I haven’t mentioned are some of the comments, the leers, the striking sense of discomfort I get at times on these runs. I’ve had a guy cross over and nearly block my path to stare me down while I’m out. I’ve had men clap like I’m putting on a show when I’m just trying to get in some exercise. But I’ve often heard, “Damn!” “Look at that ass!” “Don’t lose too much now!”

These are just some examples from when I’m trying to maintain a certain level of health. I’d need another blog post to run down the instances when I’ve been objectified for just trying to get from Point A to Point B. Every morning on my five-minute walk from my building to the train station, I hear something from at least one guy. Every morning.

The woman featured in Hollaback’s catcall video was showing a slice of life that nearly every woman has to deal with on a regular basis. For detractors to belittle her experience by saying, “It doesn’t happen that often,” or “It was staged,” or (my personal favorite) “We can’t say ‘hi’ anymore,” is insulting, unnerving and misses the entire point.

There are women being verbally and physically assaulted for not giving some man the attention he feels he deserves. Some women are even being killed.

My walking down the street has nothing to do with anyone else’s desires. My desire to go about my day without having to appease some stranger’s need for attention outweighs any man’s need for a reciprocal hello. As one of my friend’s pointed out, some men need to learn to read social cues. Many men need to ask themselves a few questions before they speak:

  • Do you know this woman?
  • Did you two make eye contact?
  • Did she drop something and you need to get her attention to give it back?
  • Will both of you benefit from an interaction?
  • Are you going to say something to her that wouldn’t offend your mother, sister, aunt, cousin, etc.?
  • Does what you want to say absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt need to be said?

If you answered no to any of these questions, your best bet is to keep your thoughts to yourself.

This isn’t a new conversation. Women have been talking about this for years. Jessica Williams of “The Daily Show” did a segment on it earlier this month.

And still there are some men who refuse to recognize the annoyance that can lead to discomfort that does lead to fear for personal safety when dozens of strangers are trying to get your attention in one day. So, men, get over yourselves and recognize that my not talking to you has everything to do with my personal safety and nothing to do with your feelings.

I’m not going to ask if you’ve been street harassed. I’ll just ask what’s an instance that sticks out in your mind when you think of street harassment?

On Prince Fielder’s Body Issue Cover

9 Jul

prince_fielderAbout a year ago, I went to an event called Drink and Draw. For 10 bucks, you have all you can drink beer and you draw a nude model. I tend to doodle occasionally, so I thought what the hell.

The model was not…Matthew McConaughey. He wasn’t even Matthew’s lesser-known brother, Rooster. He was a medium-height, schlubby-built, pasty man with a face someone, somewhere could love. And he was totally naked, standing on the platform with no shame. He was there to serve a purpose: be the inspiration for the artist. He slid in and out of different poses, giving each artist in the room a different view of him to capture to paper.

He was perfect. The light caught his curves in just the right settings, casting off enough shadow so I could draw the negative space. This man with a less-than-ideal body type was an amazing model.

And so is Prince Fielder.

The Texas Rangers’ first baseman is heavy hitter, to put it lightly. To weigh it down—the man’s enormous. He is known for swinging a bat and hitting home runs. Prince’s size and batting ability have drawn comparisons to another big guy—Babe Ruth. But the Babe never stripped down for the cover of a magazine.

The ESPN Body Issue is one of my favorites. This year, the editors decided to do something different and put the girthy Prince Fielder on one of its covers in his usual poster stance: swing away with an arm outstretched toward the ball he’d just made disappear. It’s a beautiful photo capturing a natural doing what he does naturally, albeit au natural.

Social media, as you’d expect, was not so kind to Prince’s portrait.

The Body Issue, as I understand it, is not to “gawk at exceptional bodies,” but to appreciate the athletic body in all its forms. Sure, Serge Ibaka and Venus Williams  may have the more traditional athletic bodies. But Prince is no slouch. He says it himself in his interview: “You don’t have to look like an Under Armour mannequin to be an athlete.” He doesn’t have the typical muscle definition or 12-pack we’ve been taught to believe all athletes should have. But he does work hard.

You can see it in his stance, in his arms, in his thighs. The man does work out. Not having Larry Fitzgerald’s body doesn’t make him any less of an athlete. There are body types for every sport. Swimmers tend to have short legs, big feet and long legs. Sprinters tend to have tight cores, large thighs and defined calves. Basketball players tend to have long arms, wide-set shoulders and long legs.

And to all this I say, so what? There are exceptions to every rule. While many will strive to have Lebron James’s or Michael Phelp’s bodies—which were built for their respective sports—it doesn’t mean an athlete with a different shape can’t excel.

prince_fielder2I’ve made my feelings about fat shaming perfectly clear: it’s a no-no. No one, no matter where he or she is on the journey, deserves ridicule for the way that person’s body is shaped. Prince’s ESPN cover and the subsequent rants from the Twitter gallery show that men are subject to body shaming just as women are. It’s cruel and it’s counterproductive. We should celebrate a healthy body, especially one that is capable of performing incredible athletic feats, no matter what the size. If he has the courage to go nude on a national magazine cover, regardless his size, he gets my congratulations.

There are a great many physical things we cannot control, but we can control our reactions to them. Prince Fielder is an exceptional athlete who’s not here for your criticism of his body. “I work out to make sure I can do my job to the best of my ability. Other than that, I’m not going up there trying to be a fitness model.”

What did you think of the cover? Would you be able to pose nude, be it for an art class or even a magazine cover?

photos courtesy of ESPN Magazine

No Shame in the Game

20 Jan

photo courtesy of Annie Leibovitz/Vogue

I remember when I was a teenager, and my mom and I were shopping at the mall. I was wearing an oversized gray sweater and gray leggings with tennis shoes (trust me, I have elephant brain). As we were browsing the juniors section I hear a guy talking to his friends about the “big girl” looking at clothes too small for her. I tried not to pay too much attention to it, thinking he’s talking about someone else. But as I picked up a dress, he spoke a little louder about how I was so big I looked like a cloud (the gray) and how I needed to just put the dress down. My mom was out of earshot and on the other side of the section, so I just left and went to her.

I’ve lived most of my life well above 150 pounds on my 5-foot-2 frame. My skin has hardened to such comments, but my tolerance for bullying behavior like that has become vapor thin.

In the past few months, body-shaming has become more popular. Cloaked under the guise of drawing awareness, businesses like Lululemon, organizations like PETA and even feminist blog Jezebel have made it their business to point out their perceived flaws with a larger body type.

Last week “Girls” multi-hyphenate Lena Dunham appeared on the cover and in a nice spread for Vogue magazine. Vogue, like most fashion magazines, is known for extensive photo retouching of photos. A longer arm here, a slimmer neck there, lower lighting right there, it’s a thing that happens. But Jezabel, which has been an ardent supporter of Dunham’s for some time, offered $10,000 for unretouched photos.

Our desire to see these images pre-Photoshop is not about seeing what Dunham herself “really” looks like. …This is about Vogue, and what Vogue decides to do with a specific woman who has very publicly stated that she’s fine just the way she is.
Jezebel’s editor-in-chief Jessica Coen

Within a couple hours, the site got the images and Clawd’ve mercy, the images were retouched! Coen herself admitted that there wasn’t a big difference between the originals and the retouched ones. But she stood by her argument that this was about Vogue painting an unrealistic image. You what else is unrealistic? Makeup, pushup bras, high heels, spanx, hairspray, the lighting on “The View.” Everyone does something to make themselves look or feel better. Instagram feeds are full of filtered images to put people in the best light, but Jezabel has no qualms about that. Vogue has been doing this type of thing for years.

I see no problem with retouching as long as it’s not ridiculous. There’s one shot of Dunham where her arm is missing. There are some shots Vogue uses that make people look like bobbleheads. But there’s no need to shame Dunham’s body type, which isn’t totally uncommon to see, to make a point about a misperceived wrong.

Recently animal-rights group PETA was accused of fat-shaming by several media outlets for its “Plan V” campaign, PETA’s attempt to enter the reproduction debate with it’s own agenda. PETA wrote a letter to “population-stabilization” group Population Connection after a report came out that Plan B contraception may not work effectively on women over 176 pounds.

Fat shaming is not now, nor has it ever been, an effective way to get women’s weight under control. Weight is a very personal thing. It is probably the only outward aspect of a person that is still considered open for debate. It is also something that can be very hard to control.

One person’s beliefs shouldn’t dictate how you live your life. Further more, PETA should have done more research before suggesting that women over 176 pounds need to just go vegan so they can use Plan B. The animal-rights organization issued a statement after being called out for fat-shaming, saying that it only wanted to offer another option. The people behind the original statement didn’t take into account how sensitive an issue weight is.

If you ever feel yourself on the receiving end of this type of bullying, understand that whoever’s throwing it at you doesn’t really know you. Someone who loves you wouldn’t make you feel ashamed of being who you are. Whether you’re a work in progress or at the end of your weight-loss journey, it’s no one’s right to tell you how to look or live your life. Do you, boo!