Wednesday, February 28, 2007

"Women’s bodies have always been theater, and this is just another act."

i meant to post this article by Emily Nussbaum, The Incredible Shrinking Model, from New York magazine last week, but i just never got around to it. it's the best piece i've read about the whole debate regarding models and weight...are they too thin? are they just naturally that way, or are they starving themselves? will a minimum BMI solve the problem? and can we expect the fashion industry to moderate themselves?

it's a wonderful piece, not just because Nussbaum gets some models to admit to some unsavory truths, but because she presents models not as prestigious glamazons who inspire envy, but as "nameless, faceless manual laborers," many underage, many from poor Eastern European countries, desperate to make a living for themselves and their families. so starving themselves seems like a small price to pay for what they hope will be a fairy tale rise to fame and fortune like that of Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova. i finished this article feeling mostly pity for these young women, wishing i could adopt them and make them chili.

then, a few days ago, i finally watched Thin, the HBO documentary that goes inside Renfrew Center, an eating disorders treatment center in Florida. what disturbed me most is how "normal" these women looked to me. is that how conditioned i am? i'm afraid so. the Renfrew women don't look thinner than the women we see on television shows and in the media. sadly, my first thought upon seeing one woman was, "she's not so bad." then, she hops on the scale, and the numbers read "84.5." (ugh. i weighed 85 pounds in the 5th grade) imagine my horror when she reveals that she's been feeding herself through a feeding tube for the past 2 or 3 years because she won't eat.

"normal," my ass.

in the documentary, one of the girls comes in to get weighed and have her vital signs checked. she has to slip out of her gown to show the nurse that she hasn't been cutting herself. (below is a screen grab of that scene) it seemed familiar, like i'd seen this image before...

then it struck me how very similar it is to this image of a model that accompanied the New York magazine article.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

sisterly love, my bum.

they're preparing for the candlelit liposuction ceremony.

i can't believe i missed this New York Times article that ran in Sunday's paper about Delta Zeta, a sorority at DePauw University that evicted 23 of its members for being "insufficiently committed."
The 23 members included every woman who was overweight. They also included the only black, Korean and Vietnamese members. The dozen students allowed to stay were slender and popular with fraternity men — conventionally pretty women the sorority hoped could attract new recruits.
oy. the only remotely redeeming part of this story is that of the 12 women who were asked to stay, six were so angry they quit.

related joke:

what's the sorority girl's mating call? ohmigooooood, i'm sooo drunk.

Monday, February 26, 2007

never underestimate the power of a cookie.

i'm not sure how i ended up on their mailing list (haven't they heard that i've fallen into wicked New York woman ways? then again, that's probably precisely why i'm on it) but i've been receiving the weekly bulletin from the First United Methodist Church in Valdosta, Georgia for the past couple of months.

that's where i was confirmed. that's where i learned how to play handbells. that's where i went to junior choir every Sunday night, not because i wanted to sing for the glory of the Lord, but because i had a major, lustful 8th grade crush on bad-boy Methodist and 10th grader, Justin Bridges.


he had neither eye nor heart for me, but it sure made youth group much more fun.

flipping through the bulletin this evening, i came across this notice:

Thank you so much for providing cookies for the Kairos Prison Ministry. Thirty men gave their lives to the Lord. God's presence was evident during the entire weekend. It was very successful. May the Lord bless you richly.

Kairos Prison Team
now that must be one darn tasty cookie.

real women on the red carpet.

i wonder if they make this dress in a misses size 10.

Abigail Breslin, nominated for best supporting actress for playing the part of Olive in Little Miss Sunshine, on the red carpet last night at the Oscars. goodness, it does my heart good to see such a real little girl - no highlights, no heels, no midriff-baring tops - succeed in Hollywood. i really wish she'd won, but i was pleased as punch to see the curvalicious Jennifer Hudson win too.

my assumption always is that men and women alike prefer the long, lithe silhouettes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Nicole Kidman (b/c, of course, i'm still fighting the concept of that being The Ideal Body. to the men in the my family, it is.) the soft yet substantial slopes of Jennifer Hudson.


i watched the Oscars with a small group of both genders, and it was easily JH who garnered the most positive, visceral reactions from the boys. i'm not sure why that still surprises me even after having been told numerous times that most guys prefer a little meat...a little curve...a little deeelish dish to dive into, and really, how could they not? you get the impression that Gwyneth just wears her dress whereas Jennifer dances hers.

watch jennifer's red dress dance.

and then watch olive get down.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

good cholesterol.

"should i take conversational french classes, or just date a frenchman?"

"date a frenchman."

"do they taste like croissants?"

"nuh uh. better. creme brulee."

Thursday, February 22, 2007

there you have it.

i discovered a great series of cards yesterday afternoon called Pondering Pool, written and designed by Susan Mrosek. the above is my favorite, but i looooove this one too.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

and here i thought *i* was voluptuous.

click the picture for a bigger view.

i love my landlady. among the many, many lovely things she does, she makes me green tea cupcakes, let's me sing Kelly Clarkson ballads full voice (when i think no one else is in the building) without saying a word and freely shares her crafty supplies with me. have i mentioned what a lucky girl i am?

she left me the above clipping from the latest People magazine about the backstage goings-on at Rock & Republic's show at Fashion Week. the Post-It note is her addition.

if this is voluptuous, what, pray tell, is thin?

Monday, February 19, 2007

wrinkles are roadmaps of where life has been.

i have a subscription to More magazine. it's actually a magazine meant for women 4o and over. yes, i'm 32. i don't care. i love it. it's filled with sassy, smart, successful women who have been up and down and over and out. still has it's issues. most of the 40+ women are still too damn skinny to serve as a fair representation of the general population (especially women who have been through menopause), but trust me. pick it up, and you'll see that it's a huge improvement over the vapid shit they try to sell us young 'uns, gives me something to look forward to. i've always been coined a "late bloomer." fine. if i can bloom like these "crones," i'll happily concede my tardiness in the greenhouse of life.

anyway...i discovered in it's pages a wonderful new Dove ad campaign for their Pro-Age line. i love it. Pro-Age instead of Anti-Age...get it, get it, get it? anyway, i went to their website to see if they had something online that i could link to, and i guess they actually shot a commercial, but they weren't allowed to air it.


i think it's absolutely lovely and about damn time. appreciating the beauty of the aging body is not so different from appreciating the beauty of all different body types. it's all about expanding our concept of beautiful to include instead of to exclude. can we please stop acting like life is one big sorority rush?

i think of all of the older women in my life, and they're not less beautiful than the young ones...they're different. my mother's knuckles were lined with deep crevices she blamed on 20 years of dishwashing. she hated them, but tracing those crevices with my fingers while i massaged her hands with Soft Sense lotion when she was sick is one of my most vivid and beautiful memories. i memorized those wrinkles like a blind man memorizes braille. as for myself? i love the way i look now more than i ever have, and yes, i have creeping crow's feet, gray hairs and stretch marks.


check it out, and be sure to check out the "reaction to the commercial" as well. i can't decide whether i pity or i wanna smack the blond woman. you'll see what i mean. eh. i'll choose pity. it hurts my hand to smack a computer screen.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

corsets 'n' conversation, part deux

Anonymous said...
um, as a male reader of your blog - i was wondering if there were any photos of this fine social event?

oh, your sad little face. yes, there were pictures, but this is all you're getting. a nice girl doesn't corset 'n' tell.

gingerbread venus

a friend of a friend's mother made these gingerbread Venus of Willendorf cookies.

from Wikipedia:
Venus of Willendorf, also known as the Woman of Willendorf, is an 11.1 cm (4 3/8 inches) high statuette of a female figure, discovered at a paleolithic site near Willendorf, Austria, in 1908 by archaeologist Josef Szombathy. It is carved from an oolitic limestone that is not local to the area, and tinted with red ochre.

As of 1990, upon a revised analysis of the stratigraphy of its site, it was estimated to have been carved between 22,000 - 24,000 BCE. Very little is known about its origin, method of creation, or cultural significance.

...The Venus is not a realistic portrait but rather an idealization of the female figure. Her vulva, breasts, and swollen belly are very pronounced, suggesting a strong connection to fertility. Her tiny arms are folded over her breasts, and she has no visible face, her head being covered with what might be coils of braids, eyes, or a kind of headdress. The lack of a face has prompted some archaeologists and philosophers to view the Venus as a "universal mother..."

The nickname, urging a comparison of this rather obese figurine to the classical image of "Venus", causes resistance in some modern analysis. "The ironic identification of these figurines as 'Venus' pleasantly satisfied certain assumptions at the time about the primitive, about women, and about taste," Christopher Witcombe has noticed. At the same time there is professional reluctance to identify her as an Earth Mother goddess of paleolithic Old Europe. Some suggest that her corpulence would represent high status in a hunter-gatherer society, and that beside her obvious fertility she could be an emblem of security and success.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

but do they make leiderhausen that small?

on wednesday, february 7th at 12:16 pm, my friend n who lives in frankfurt, germany gave birth to a beauuuuuutiful baby boy named Paavo Joscha Ludz.

welcome wee Paavo. your mama is a warrior and your papa is a bear; you're a tough, little miracle bound for great love and great things.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

corsets 'n' conversation

our party looked absolutely nothing like this

i went to a "corset party" the other night. yes, boys were there too (sadly, not in corsets). boobs, baked goods...funny how boys seem to have radar for this sort of shindig.

it sounds much more risque that it actually was. really just an excuse to wear our closeted corsets (a's in white satin with black embroidery, e's in purple satin with lace trim, mine in black satin inset with pale blue panels and navy detailing), bake valentine's cookies, drink pomegranate martinis and listen to jazz. i certainly wouldn't want to have to wear a corset every day of my life, but every once in a while, it's an uplifting experience. you're certainly forced to have better posture, and if you have any misgivings about exposing your cleavage in public, a corset will force you to get over that real quick. particularly in mid-winter, when the girls ain't seen the light of day in months...they get a little shy, but in a corset -

THERE THEY ARE. and there is nothing you or anyone else can do to avoid them.

it's almost like the physical embodiment of multiple personalities. people have conversations with you and your breasts. was a lovely time. i got into a fascinating conversation with a guy who works for a major tabloid magazine (i promised i wouldn't say which one). i started complaining about all of the diet stories the tabloid magazines do, and he essentially told me they do "diet" stories only when they have absolutely nothing else to write about AND that their diet issues are always their biggest sellers of the year. that's what women want to read about, so that's what we print.


i just thought you should know that. i mean, i think a lot of us know that because we're smart, savvy women, but to actually hear it from the source itself? helpful. i'm absolutely guilty of picking up the diet issues. they always draw me in. i flip through that flimsy little mag hoping to find The Secret to Everlasting Thinness. knowing, however, that i'm a "sure thing" in their eyes - that they can draw me in with what even a tabloid mag knows is worthless drivel by preying on my insecurities - will certainly make me stop next time before picking one up. if i do read it, it'll be with a different perspective, and at least i'll know where to direct the anger - out instead of in.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

and i don't think they meant "phat" in a good way.

my friend a was digging through the digital archives of the Library of Congress, and she came across this little animated film from 1913 - The Phable of the Phat Woman.

who says it was better in the olden days?

Monday, February 12, 2007

i love my nose...because it works.

What We Love About Our Bodies

a lovely feature in Fitness Magazine, February 2007. don't go waste your money on the actual mag, just click on the link above to check out the slide show.

then answer the question yourself...what do YOU love about your body?

i do love my nose. i also love my shoulders and upper back. a genetic blessing from my linebacker father, when i do yoga regularly, they're sinewy and sleek, but not at all delicate...and that's oooookay.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

just no "dutch ovens," please.

i've been stuck inside all weekend with an awful cold. sniff, sniff, hack. a perfect opportunity to flip through the 400 magazines i have stacked around my apartment. i found a couple of new haircuts i might like to try and a few CDs i'm gonna download, but my favorite little tidbit, from Glamour, December 2006:

Men who love "real bodies" are better in bed
Sex during your period? Or when you haven't waxed? If your partner has no problem with that, it's good news for your sexual health. Men who are comfortable with real issues like sweat, hair, and menstruation are more intimate lovers and more likely to have practiced safe sex than men who are less comfortable with those things, a new study finds. A man who is at ease with your body and his own may be better able to relax in the bedroom and talk about safe sex and birth control, says study coauthor L. Monique Ward, a professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor...

makes total sense to me. if you christen my cellulite "darling dimples," i can burp and fart in front of you on occasion, and you still think i'm hot...i'm all yours. i mean, c'mon...if you can't handle that, you can't handle this.

let's be honest; stranger sounds happen between the sheets.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


"i think maybe i should move to a town where they still print the school lunch menu in the newspaper."

Friday, February 09, 2007


standing in line at the drugstore today, i saw this on the cover of US Weekly.

Better after breakup! How newly single stars get slim and sexy fast

Reese, they tell us, is two sizes smaller apres Ryan, Drew has lost 20 pounds, and Kate Hudson has lost 10. these women were already quite thin before their breakups so it's fascinating to me that their weight loss is considered a good thing and assumed to be intentional, the result of some sort of "I Will Survive/Irreplaceable/Since You've Been Gone" exercise and weight loss program.

they are thinner, therefore they must be doing better!

there doesn't seem to be any room for the idea that their weight loss is the result of something far more serious and sad - distress over the end of what they thought would be a lifelong, committed relationship.

sure does piss me off that when most people see women who have lost weight, the assumption is that they must be doing more fabulous. yes yes yes, that can sometimes be the case (and hurrah! i champion those women), but sudden, dramatic weight loss can and should also elicit concern from loved ones. weight loss can be a medical symptom of a serious problem (depression, anxiety, etc.) regardless of one's size beforehand.

instead of:

you look great!

how about:

you look great! how do you feel?

just because their ass looks better in their jeans, doesn't mean their heads and hearts are in the right place.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

i am now a magical fiery bitch.

it's not quite this red, but i thought the pic was so beautiful i couldn't resist

i dyed my hair last friday. after 6 or 7 years of being a "blonde," i am now a reddish brunette. i like it. i really do. i thought i would look into the mirror and start crying because i wouldn't recognize the woman staring back at me, but i actually like my darker, fiery reflection. i can see the green in my hazel eyes now, and my cheeks have grown roses. my friend c says i look "Jane Austenien."

i'll take that as a compliment, thanks.

i needed a change. i've been experiencing some internal shifts as of late, so it seemed right to commemorate those shifts with a slight change in my external appearance as well. it's healthier for my hair, my pocketbook and my psyche. i began to identify way too much with my tousled blonde locks, and i don't like that. hair, like all body parts, is impermanent. so, i guess dying my hair was a little exercise in detachment:

could i still be "me" without the blonde hair?

well, of course i can the answer is, but nothing prepared me for some of the comments i got from co-workers, particularly this one:

"but you were my magical fairy princess!"

"and i can't be your magical fairy princess now that i'm a brunette?"


wow. i've been de-throned. i guess i am now the auburn-haired wicked stepsister who reeks of Gorgonzola cheese and wears granny panties. ah's a good thing i own my own wings.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

because thin people have no problem with self-acceptance...ever.

"well, every time i see you, you just keep getting thinner. you're not going to be able to do your show!"

i smile sweetly, but i want to explode.

um...what? how does that make any sense whatsoever?!?!?


now, this poor fella didn't even see my show, he's just read about it, but...still! good lord. it's been a bit of a constant battle trying to get people to "get it," but then, i guess that's why i do the show. the show seems to help folks "get it" in ways that a coffee conversation never ever will.

i find it incredibly fascinating that people want to assume that my show must be about the struggles of a fatish girl wanting to be thin b/c, the assumption seems to be, don't we all desperately want to be thinner? prettier? er-er? the concept of a anyone being happy right where she/he is seems so totally foreign to most people particularly if that place doesn't reflect the cultural ideal, and isn't that sad.

par example:

i am sitting in my cluttered little sort-of-a-one-bedroom apartment in the very non-exclusive borough of Queens. i could bemoan my lot - i'm not rich, i'm not in love, i'm not Grace Kelly's twin, but at this very moment, i wouldn't be anywhere or anyone else. the Super Bowl is being played somewhere, and i couldn't care less. i am alone. i am warm here. chili simmers on the stove. the scent of cinnamon, cumin and allspice waltzes through my apartment and takes me back to childhood football games and Christmas roasts. shirley horn's buttery voice melts through my speakers...

Here's to Life, here's to Love, here's to you...

now yes, the journey illustrated in my show began as an attempt to find happiness in a size 6, but the path took a big sweeping turn, and ended up becoming about learning how to maintain the same level of love for myself no matter where i fall on the weight/dress size/is-my-nose-too-big-or-just-right spectrum. now, does this mean i don't ever think i could look better? feel better? be better? absolutely not, but i really believe i have to be happy where i am before i can get anywhere better. if i can't sit here and see the joy in this, how can i expect to see the joy in that?

god's not dumb. he's not gonna give you the sun when you refuse to see the sunlight and keep begging for the moon.