Monday, January 5

Please excuse me while I go all Oprah for a moment

Last night Noah was showing off his abs, so I decided to show off mine. Unfortunately, I haven’t felt up to doing anything to re-tone the post-baby tummy, and what appeared was more Bundt cake than six-pack.

As of late I’ve been feeling the itch to go running again. And I use the term “running” loosely, since what I do have done in the past is an alternation of three minutes jogging and one minute walking. But, do that for seven miles, and the pace actually evens out to about 11 minute miles. Not horrible in my book.

I'm ready to get back into shape, to be healthy. And I don't mean that as a euphemism for weight loss. So let’s cut to the chase: body image.

It’s trite to talk about the media and women and negative self-image. Actually, I feel like the whole conversation is stale. Yet, the problem is fresh, and overtaking ever-younger girls. The ones who love Bratz. Which, in my opinion, are Barbies with attitude, but maybe even worse because who really wanted to look just like a Barbie? Besides that one lady. I read the little bios of the four Bratz, and it's kind of scary. They mix things like "Yasmin is a girl who likes to show, not tell" with "You can always find her in the cafeteria, wearing something cute and telling people about the things they can do to help their towns and the world at large." Those were actual quotes. It's like second-generation Cher Horowitz, but for realsies. How do we change this?

I need to start with myself. Though everyone in my family, and of course Noah, and even friends, have always told me I’m attractive (because what loving family member, affectionate spouse or true friend wouldn’t?), I’ve always had trouble accepting myself as I am. When I was super-skinny, I hated being super-skinny. I actually had the problem of not being able to find age-appropriate clothes that were small enough. When I put on 20 pounds after getting married, thus achieving a normal weight, I got down on myself because none of my teeny clothes fit anymore (HELLO buy new clothes!), and wished to be super-skinny again. Now I find myself pining for my pre-pregnancy body, the very one that I wasn’t satisfied with pre-pregnancy. Vicious.

So have you people seen the old Dove-watch-the-model-be-Photoshopped video? Cuz herediz:

There’s loads of other videos on YouTube showing Photoshopping and loads of pictures of celebrities without their makeup on. Though some are truly startling, for me the point of watching such videos and looking at such photos is not for I-feel-better-at-their-expense purposes but instead for iconoclastic reasons. Because picture-perfect icons of the feminine “ideal’ are worth smashing if it helps make normal women feel normal and not, I dunno, hideous…disappointing… FATugly. There’s a place for beautified celebrities, and that’s the red carpet. But when those images appear in anything other than an art anthology, like say style magazines, they’re simply just visual lies. And shame on the establishment (whoever that is) for turning celebrities into icons (and I mean that in the pejorative sense), because those poor people shouldn't have to suffer scrutiny and ridicule for looking normal while wearing a bikini or going to the store with no makeup on.

So I can boycott magazines that fail to feature real women and tout a new diet plan every week, but what about TV? What about male-centric advertising (beer commercials pop immediately to mind) that feature glistening, writhing wraiths in dim nightclubs, and worse? OR, even the seemingly innocuous commericals that feature the decidedly average-looking Average Joes surrounded by stunningly beautiful “Girls Next Door” wearing football jerseys, eating cheeseburgers, spouting sports stats and laughing at dumb guy-jokes. is a good place to start the quest for changing this climate, if you're with me.

I've been reading Runner's World again. I gave it up for a while because it was annoying being reminded that I wasn't physically well enough or recovered enough yet to get back to running (I was training for a half-marathon when I found out that I was pregnant). But now that I am, it's good for pumping me up and showing me real women (and men)--because they don't just feature elite athletes--being empowered by being active and NOT by being Photoshopably photogenic.

I'm off to sign up for a 5k.


Sarah Von Bargen said...

AMEN. Good luck with the running - I can't wait to hear how it goes!

Le Merveilleux Chef said...

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I've been of the opinion for a long time now that Runner's World is among the best magazines out there. It's wholly dedicated to one of the simplest activities conceivable, but they somehow manage to turn out one of the most absorbing (and motivational!) publications in all of print media every month.

Dusty @AllThingsG+D said...

*standing ovation* Excellent post! Off to check out About-Face right now!

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