Archives for Minding the Magazines
I'm not sure that I've ever felt good reading a fitness or "health" magazine geared toward women. Instead, I've felt self-conscious, inadequate and way too big. At some point I realized the words in their glossy pages weren't gospel. I realized that I didn't have to believe or act on their tips---which focused on watching my weight and what I was eating (like a hawk), feeling guilty any time I wavered and preparing for (i.e., panicking over) bikini season and holiday parties.
This week I came across an article on another website that featured two dietitians sharing what they eat in a day. They mentioned eating certain foods to prevent "over-indulging" at their next meal and having such and such tea to keep them from eating more chocolate. I've seen similar articles on other websites. And I've seen similar words. Words about not exceeding calorie counts and filling up on certain foods to prevent eating entire meals (of pasta, for instance).
Today, in the U.S., we honor Martin Luther King, Jr., who had an incredible dream and helped make it a reality. Inspired by his powerful speech and Therese Borchard’s beautiful piece, every year I republish a post on my personal dream (which I’ve updated since last year). It’s a dream that focuses on everything from how we treat each other to how we treat ourselves. I have a dream that our society will stop judging, shaming and bullying people because of their size, shape and weight.
In our culture there is a prevailing belief that if we can't get our bodies to look a certain way, to lose weight, to fit into an old pair of jeans, then they're the enemy. They're an enemy we have to subdue, manipulate and pound into submission. An enemy we need to insult, yell at and despise. Today, I wanted to share a reminder that, in fact, our bodies are not the enemy -- despite what you see in ads or read in "health" publications. They never were.
Today, I'm republishing an older piece to remind us to enjoy and savor the foods we'll be eating this holiday season. Sadly, we're surrounded by articles and ads that warn us about how many pounds we'll gain if we eat two helpings of dessert. Ads and articles that perpetuate a vicious cycle of fear, guilt and shame around food. It isn't right. And it doesn't have to be this way, either. Instead, we can focus on enjoyment, nourishment and curiosity this holiday season. One bite at a time. I hope this piece gives you some good ideas to do just that.
I mentioned several lessons I've learned throughout the four years I've been writing Weightless in this giveaway post (you can enter to win a book of your choice). But I wanted to expand on the lessons and share a more thorough list. So here's what I've learned in four years of being a body image blogger.
Here's part two of my interview with Jennifer Nelson, author of Airbrushed Nation: The Lure and Loathing of Women’s Magazines. In her book, Nelson gives readers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the business of women's magazines. She delves into how articles are made -- and just how they affect us. Below, Nelson explains why she still likes women's magazines and why they continue to promote damaging ideals. She also offers valuable advice for readers on becoming smarter consumers. Nelson also explores the world of women's magazines in her blog.
I used to love reading women's magazines. It was my break from homework and books for school. I'd catch up on the latest fashion trends, read an interesting article and get a few beauty tips. But then I remember reading an odd tip from a writer on not eating an entire piece of cake: She'd take a bite -- maybe two -- and then pour salt on it. And that's when I started realizing that maybe these magazines weren't for me (or really for anyone). Maybe these magazines had become a slippery slope into a world of shoulds and damaging thoughts. And the more I started dissecting their messages, the more I realized that that's the whole point: to sell us specific standards, so we buy, buy, buy. That's why I'm excited to share my interview with Jennifer Nelson, the author of Airbrushed Nation: The Lure and Loathing of Women’s Magazines, a new book about the history of the women's magazine industry, how articles are made (and manipulated) and their effects on readers. Below, Nelson shares what inspired her to write Airbrushed Nation, the research that surprised her most and the damaging effects of reading these publications.
In her book Airbrushed Nation: The Lure and Loathing of Women's Magazines, author Jennifer Nelson gives readers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the history of these publications, how they're run -- and the damaging ways they affect us. Several facts in the book especially surprised me. Facts that I think you should absolutely know whether you love these publications or loathe them. Specifically, below are tidbits from Nelson's book on how women's magazines manipulate their content. Some are little lies while others are downright deceptions.
Part of building a positive body image is surrounding yourself with positive things and letting go of anything that doesn’t nourish you. That’s where women’s magazines and so-called health magazines come in. I'm talking about magazines such as Self, Shape, Women's Health, and even Prevention. The kinds of magazines that glorify thinness, diets and weight loss. Their advice doesn't focus on nurturing yourself or building a healthier relationship with food. It focuses on quick fixes, calorie counts, portion control and losing X inches before bikini season. And never ever being good enough. For many of us — me included — these magazines are a slippery slope into a world of comparisons, guilt, shame and misery.