I’m thankful that Victoria’s Secret really gets me

Is there anything better than opening your mailbox to discover that your Sangria of the Month subscription tri-weekly Victoria’s Secret catalog has arrived?  Doutzen Kroes has the same taste as I do when it comes to pom pom outfits, Gisele is an uber-relatable breastfeeding mom, and Behati Prinsloo is practically my bestie (she married a Jewish guy…just like me!)

But as I opened my newest catalog this week, I was struck by something.

You know what I really love? What I’m truly grateful for this Thanksgiving? It’s how the folks at VS really seem to get me. Their photos, they just speak my language. I mean, how could I not see myself in these images?

This is exactly how MY friends and I hang out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is how I look when I box.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is how I warm up by my radiator (please excuse my messy books!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the kind of thing I wear when I'm cold on top but hot on the bottom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a pair of undies just like these for days when I don't want anyone to stare at me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is how I look on Christmas morning.

 

 

 

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#YesAllWomen

When I was in my early 20s, I fell asleep in a hotel room after a night of celebrating at my then-boyfriend’s annual medical school ball. I woke up about an hour later with a strange man straddling my hips, kissing and groping me. His belt was unbuckled; his pants were unzipped. Though I was not raped, the moment transformed me, kicking off years of PTSD-induced nightmares and fueling a general lack of trust towards men in particular, and humanity in general. When hotel security was phoned in response to my screams, the police were summoned; the first thing they asked was why it took me so long to call for help.  When I decided to press charges, the district attorney warned me that the attacker’s lawyer would attempt to drag me through the mud. Indeed, I was peppered with questions and accusations, ranging from indictments over having danced with more than one man that night at the party to the suggestion that by not wearing underwear to bed, I had been “asking for it.”

The guy was a medical student. He had to write an apology to me and got off with drug and alcohol testing for a year; I spent the next half-decade in and out of therapists’ offices, chasing various cocktails of medications that might allow me to sleep without waking up terrified that I was being sexually assaulted, and feeling the perpetual imprint of his hands on my body, like the flash of a camera that won’t leave your eyes no matter how tightly you shut them.

I haven’t thought of that attack in years, but the UCSB shootings have brought it all back. It’s not just because I was in a sorority like some of the murderer’s intended victims. It’s because practically every one of my girlfriends has a story like mine; a story of some man assuming that he can touch, ogle, leer at or penetrate our body simply because he wants to, starting at an alarmingly young age. It’s because my husband and I will soon have two daughters and I don’t want to have to worry about them disappearing because they one day may opt to not kiss a certain boy. It’s because girls and women worldwide have to contend with the omnipresent threat of being kidnapped, assaulted, disfigured or murdered simply because they desire agency over their bodies, whether it’s a college student being date-raped, a trio of ladies being held against their will in some monster’s basement for a decade, women splashed with acid in Bangladesh, girls subjected to Female Genital Mutilation in Africa and the Middle East, child marriage, child (and adult) pornography and more. Enough already. Enough. #YesAllWomen

More powerful #YesAllWomen tweets…

 

 

 

 

Posted in Health, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

New stories out!

I’ve got a slew of new stories running in some of my (and hopefully your) favorite women’s mags!:

I’m Healthy Thanks to Mom (Better Homes and Gardens)

Why Is Everything So Annoying? (Cosmopolitan)

The Breathing Cure (O: The Oprah Magazine)

What Heart Disease Survivors Want You to Know (Woman’s Day)

Eat to Cleanse Your Body (Natural Health)

Happy reading!

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Are transgender models good for women’s body image?

She shouldn't make you feel badly about yourself.

Victoria’s Secret models typically make women feel like something stuck to the bottom of one’s shoe after a quick spin around the public restroom of a major league baseball stadium. In our home, the catalog goes directly from the mailbox into the recycling bin, unless I’m desperately in need of a new pair of leggings, in which case I cover my eyes with my hand and peer through the slits of my fingers, horror movie-style, until I find what I’m looking for. I’m semi-joking, of course, but even women with the most rock solid of body images and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Photoshop still fall prey to the confidence-shattering effects of those pics.

But what if the Angel on p18 with a 24-inch waist, sinewy arms and impossibly long legs actually had a Y chromosome? Would women somehow feel less threatened by a model who was born male and transitioned to female? The question may soon become a very modern-age reality; Elite model Carmen Carrera has thus far secured more than 40,000 signatures via Change.org to petition Victoria’s Secret to hire her as its first transgender model.

She’s not the only born-male model smashing through stereotypes. Gender-bending Andrej Pejic has graced the cover of Serbian Elle (Jean Paul Gaultier has called him an “otherworldly beauty”); transgender Ines Rau got very close with Tyson Beckford in this sweltering shoot; Isis King made gorgeous waves as America’s Next Top Model’s first openly transgender contestant; 17 transgender men and women currently star in Barney’s Spring 2014 campaign.

I was recently asked to comment on the trend of male-to-female transgendered models and their potential impact on women’s body image, and I have to admit, I was stymied. Work travel forced me to bow out of the interview, but when I saw writer Stephanie Stark’s blog on the topic, it piqued my interest.

At first blush, I would have said that transgendered models seem to have an unfair advantage. Born male, they inherently possess the flat chests and size 00 hips that leave runway designers drowning in a pool of their own saliva. Augmented with breast implants, their bodies morph into yet another unattainable ideal: The toned, skinny girl with big boobs. (See: Pam Anderson.)

But on a deeper, more meaningful level, the inclusion of all different kinds of women – plus-sized, petite, androgynous, trans – is actually an incredible step forward for women’s body image. It shows the world that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and forms, that there is no one right way to be gorgeous, sexy, fashionable or confident. We shouldn’t feel any more intimidated by Carrera than we do by Angels who were born with ovaries. If anything, we can find inspiration in the journeys of these FTM models, which likely included moments (years?) of emotional ups and downs, childhood and professional bullying, and mistreatment by outsiders who think it’s appropriate to ask intimate questions about their bodies and sexuality. These women rock supreme confidence, and while their effortlessly curve-free bodies may make better coat hangers for Gucci’s latest line, their struggle for acceptance is one we can all relate to. Egregiously airbrushed images (of any gender)? Now those serve to tear us down by presenting a false reality. Hopefully one day we’ll no longer refer to transgender models as “transgender models”…or to curvy models as “plus-sized”…but just call them all models and be done with it.

 

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Barbie VS Lammily

You’ve heard it before: It Barbie were real, she wouldn’t be able to walk, she’d only have half of her intestines, her head would be wider than her pelvis, etc, etc. But do little girls want to play with a fuller-figured doll? That’s one of the questions people are asking about the Lammily doll, a “real woman” Barbie that has been creating using the CDC’s measurements for the average American woman. I was invited to speak on WGN TV this morning (it was at 5:45AM so you are excused if you didn’t happen to catch it.) Luckily, my DVR was awake – here is the clip.

Posted in Body Image, Diet and Nutrition, Fitness, Health | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment