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Posts tagged "models"

I’ve long held the belief that when it comes to promoting positive body image, the WORST thing we can do is start picking apart each others bodies. Time and time again, I see women (well-intentioned, intelligent, pro-lady women) tear down models for their ultra thin frames & it makes me sad and angry.

While we have a substantial body image crisis in terms of representation & diversity, the models we see are women who’ve been hired BY an industry that’s looking to sell us a product (note: that formula only works when we buy into it). They are hired specifically for their looks & they have a genetic “advantage” (if you choose to see it that way). But when I think of the abnormal pressure to be ‘thin’ in today’s world, I count them among the victims. I’d have to argue that no other group of women is so heavily targeted, pressured or bullied to be thin, ideal and flawless. Depression, eating disorders and body image issues are issues that plague the modeling industry, and their world isn’t as glamorous as we’d like to believe.

Sexual harassment, industry bullying and abuse also run rampant within the industry. A new organization, Models Alliance, is hoping to change that, and also hopes to encourage healthier practices amongst models, better work conditions and assistance (psychological) for models in distress. Remember that many of these women get into the industry very, VERY young.

Health is what I’m all about. These measures will not change much in terms of the standards of beauty required to make it to the runway: they’ll still be beautiful, tall & thin. But healthy is something I’d like to add to that list. It’s far too common to hear of models dying before the age 30 due to health problems from years of eating disorders, fueled by insecurity, pressure and bullying from a young, YOUNG age.

Baby steps in the right direction.

Excerpt via Blisstree

It’s probably safe to assume that when most people think of modeling, they equate it to an easy job where beautiful girls get to walk around in beautiful clothes all day. But if you ask them, they would likely tell you that it’s anything but the glamorous picture some people paint. In fact, it can include downright deplorable conditions that include sexual harassment, abuse and bullying. Thank goodness models are finally realizing this and fighting back with a new Models Alliance that will hopefully provide the industry with healthier role models.

Model Sara Ziff founded the nonprofit organization because she was tired of the treatment she and other models were receiving. The alliance is seeking to establish workplace standards, that will, among other things, include privacy to stop unauthorized nude photos and clear the backstage area of photographers and non-essential staff when the models are changing clothes. They also seek to reduce child labor infringements and provide advice on how to handle body image bullying and sexual harassment, which she says are all too common in this industry.

Read more.

Note: not talking about the bodies, but rather the clear and obvious distortion of them. In some cases, the distortion is rather horrific.

Support a photoshop free world with your dollars: save them instead of spending them on unrealistic ideals. While it’s great to be anti-photoshop in your words and posts, magazines will continue to give us what we’re telling them we want with our actions

Cover models are so heavily photoshopped even THEY don’t recognize themselves. And in MOST cases, the model (or celeb) is not in control of the final product, as is the case for the image above.

Average Sized Model Gets Big Reaction - Lizzi Miller Glamour Model

This was an old interview from last year when the picture came out, but it caught my eye again today and I wanted to share it.

What struck me this time around, was the emphasis on her tummy (seeing another similar photo really highlights the difference in response). A hanging tummy. That gosh-darnit isn’t flat. It’s something that many women are programmed to hide, suck in, edit out of photos, or be ashamed of. Which is crazy. Because 97% of women have hanging tummies, including celebs & models (not just plus sized ones). If not standing, then sitting.

We all know a ‘skinny’ pose which makes our tummies look flatter. Some use Spanxx to zip it in, while others just ensure they get photographed from the waist up. We hate seeing hanging tummies in the mirror because we simply don’t SEE hanging tummies represented as NORMAL. Even amongst the curvy and plus sized, they are airburshed out and models are posed in tummy-reducing ways (which - for those of you who’ve done any modeling - generally ONLY looks good on camera. In person, some of the poses we’re used to seeing look awkward, robotic and uncomfortable).

Great interview, check it out above if you haven’t seen it.

Your tummy, flat or otherwise, is beautiful. It’s your center. Efforts to hide it made by many, MANY, people (including women around you) have made a hanging tum-tum seem unattractive. That’s not the case.

Slender, leggy supermodels such as Bar Refaeli and Gisele Bundchen are taking a backseat these days to an unlikely supermodel contender in the form of Lizzi Miller — all 180 glorious pounds of her.

Miller, at 20 already a seven-year veteran of the modeling world, rocked the magazine industry and the blogosphere when her photo appeared alongside an article on womens body confidence in the September issue of Glamour magazine. The photo shows Miller in all her blond beauty, flashing a confident smile — but also flashing some stomach pooch that hangs over her thong bikini.

Within a day, Glamour was inundated with comments, overwhelmingly positive, about the magazines showcasing a beautiful model unafraid to let it all hang out. Web sites such as Facebook, MSN and were consumed with dialogue over Millers photo, and dedicated Web space to a renewed debate over womens body image.

Honestly, can’t say I’m prouder to be on her “team” than I am today. :)

Last week, I shared Fit Mama Training’s 'non-model bashing' post to a HUGE response. It deserved it, and many of you seemed to connect with the idea that we don’t have to knock each other down to raise each other up. However, some of you did not.

There were (very few) negative, and some downright mean responses to the post by women who felt Victoria Secret was absolutely responsible for their body image and their models, soldiers in a war against ‘real women’. Some of you implied that since we (Mama, myself and several of you lot) don’t see it that way, we simply didn’t see the bigger picture.

I assure you, that’s not the case. We see the bigger picture. We’re just turning inward to gain a little more power over it. And doing so in a body-loving way. To me, it’s downright hypocritical to defend and sympathize with women who are bullied for being overweight and not offer the same compassion or stance to those on the other end of the spectrum. Bullying and name calling, specifically commenting on someone else’s body, are NOT things I’m down with. I think I’ve proven that time and time again. It simply doesn’t make sense to me, to have a world where women spend more time demonizing and attacking each other, than rallying together to improve our own situation. We can WIN. But we won’t if we’re name calling, hair pulling and body bashing on our way to battle. WE’RE SETTING OURSELVES UP FOR FAILURE.

Mama followed up with an equally worthy guest post from a recovering anorexic who responded to the model bashing. It broke my heart a little, was inspiring in it’s own right and epitomized why I don’t engage in body bashing of any kind. It also is a reminder to those who use of the word ‘anorexic’ as a put down that there is oh-so-much-more to it. I applaud the guest author. Very brave.

But the nasty comments continued. There were so few on my end, but they still bothered me. Sharing a post that came 100% from my body-loving-for-all heart and having it answered back with even more girl-on-girl hate was tough. But ‘living’ in internet land comes with a double edged sword: not everyone will agree with you. And in the end, I think that’s a GOOD thing.

This weekend, I went back and forth trying to write a follow-up piece that would explain how you can simultaneously agree that the modeling industry needs some changing WITHOUT bashing bodies and why I felt so strongly that we aren’t slaves to the beauty ideal: we have the power to change how we react to it. How we (women) are on the same side. I kept fumbling my words because it’s something I feel so passionately about, and words I didn’t want twisted. And then, Mama, in all her Fittie glory, posted the exact words I wanted to say… out of her own sassy mouth, of course.

I implore you to read it, and to PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT on her blog if you support it. Click on the link above to read the full post. Here’s an excerpt..

"When I say “Victoria’s Secret is not responsible for your body image” I don’t mean it doesn’t impact it.  I also don’t mean that you are a shitty, bitter person if it does.  I responded in anger.  Because what I was seeing in posts was women attacking women.  Not the beauty myth.  Not the company.  Not marketing.  But other women.

When I say they aren’t responsible for your body image I’m attacking the power we as individuals attach to it.  I don’t know how to dismantle all the messages we receive from the cradle on that we aren’t good enough.  It’s a really loud message.  It comes from everywhere.  Nothing we do matters unless we do it while living up to a very narrow beauty ideal.  Models are also women.  I’d be shocked if most of them haven’t at some point if not regularly felt terrible about their appearance and subsequently their worth due to these same messages.

This is a very profitable ideal.  And we buy it.  We buy the new American lifestyle of food that isn’t food and overwhelming inactivity.  We counteract this with diet pills, disordered eating (different from eating disorders but damn it I can only take on so much here in one post) and most recently drastic caloric restrictions along with a daily hormone injection.  *How’s that for touching on a lot at once.*  I don’t say this to put us down.  You aren’t stupid if you are buying into this stuff.  I’m merely expounding ever so slightly on the macro issues that contribute to our current state and illustrating that there are a lot of shareholders in this.  Lots and lots of people literally buy stock in our low self esteems.

So I’m saying fuck that.  Not the models.  Not Victoria’s Secret.  Not diet pills.  Fuck the idea that you aren’t good enough.  Fuck the idea that you aren’t beautiful enough.  Fuck the idea that you aren’t enough.  You are enough. Exactly as you are.

Is it easier said than done?  Yes.  But some how I went from suicidal notions over my body and deeply rooted jealousy toward anyone I felt “measured up” more than me to a grounding sense of self worth in every aspect of my person.  Including beauty.

I did this by deciding I was good enough.  As I was.  The rest of that journey involved testing my physical limitations and surpassing them.  Measuring my body by improvements in strength and performance which makes me feel strong and not by comparisons to magazines.  And I didn’t suddenly start waiving the “you are good enough” flag after I lost 100lbs.  This has been my soap box for many years, I just finally got through to myself.  I could see so clearly that all the other women were good enough.  I needed to believe that I was.  And from there I was able to finally treat my body, my life, my relationships and my goals with the care and compassion of someone who believes that deserve great things.”

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