Monday, August 18, 2008

Dear World: What Would YOUR Letter Say?

dear world

Dear World,

It's me, a girl.

What is it like growing up as a girl today? What was life like for YOU as a girl? The new "Dear World" campaign from Girls Inc. invites girls and women everywhere to write their own original letters and join together in asking for all the support and empowerment that the world has to offer.

Join the campaign:

Watch the "Dear World" ads and find out what messages girls are sending.

Submit your letter, or call 888-DEAR-WRLD to record your message to the world.

What I love most about this idea is that it challenges us to use the power of our voices to build connections and make positive changes. Think about what you want to tell the world. Share your letter here, and ask the girls in your life to share their letters with you. Let's make sure the world hears us loud and clear!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Beauty Road Trip

Just heard about this very cool project: Beauty Road Trip. The idea is that two multi-media artists will travel across the country interviewing women about their ideas on beauty. We can't wait to see what they come up with.

Oh, and Martha? I hear ya on the Burt's Bees Orange Essence Facial Cleanser. So much so that I had a complete freakout a couple of years ago when I couldn't find it in any stores for some mysterious reason. I started believing that there was some crazy orange essence shortage/conspiracy going on and why, for the love of God, wasn't anyone in the mainstream media talking about it? Then I calmed down and found some BB cleanser on the internets. And all was right in the world again. Well, not exactly. But at least my face was clean and smelled fruity. [Beauty Road Trip]

What The Family Guy Can Teach Us About Jennifer Love Hewitt

After posting yesterday's rant, I sat down to watch Family Guy for some comic relief. Fittingly, the episode was called "He's Too Sexy for His Fat." Peter decides to trim down and get plastic surgery. Hilarity ensues, including this tidbit featuring a family of Eskimos saying farewell to their son as he paddles off to chase his destiny:

"My son, your place is here in the ice village. You know nothing of Hollywood and its ways."

"But Father, I have dreams and courage, and the name of an excellent cosmetic surgeon. Fear not, one day word will reach you of the success of me, the great Eskimo actor, Jennifer Love Hewitt."

Funny, Jennifer's true roots got completely left out of that Us Weekly miracle weight loss article.

Note: Newspaper Rock pointed out how this scene portrays Indians in a stereotypical light. The igloo, the ice floe. Yes, he has a point. And apparently this isn't the only episode with that problem.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Jennifer Love Hewitt: Oh, the Hypocrisy

This is Jennifer Love Hewitt on the cover of Us Weekly, talking about her 18-pound weight loss. But let's rewind for a sec. Remember back in December when she was sooo fired up about how the tabloids were calling her "fat" because people, a SIZE TWO is not fat? At the time I took issue with her insistence on broadcasting her size, but otherwise her quote was pretty positive: "To set the record straight, I'm not upset for me, but for all of the girls out there that are struggling with their body image...A size 2 is not fat! Nor will it ever be. And being a size 0 doesn't make you beautiful."

So if she was a size 2 in December and then she lost eighteen pounds, I wonder what size she is now? I'm guessing that number is revealed in the article along with her her "exact diet plan," but I just can't bring myself to read it. It's depressing, quite frankly.

Look, the girl is allowed to lose weight. That's her choice. And I do sympathize with the intense appearance-related pressures that actresses face. But anyone who gets up on a soapbox to talk about how beauty isn't about being a size 0 and then turns around and sells her weight loss story to a tabloid also loses more than a few sizes of credibility in my book.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Back to School: The Brands, The Labels, and The Pressure to Have the “Right” Look

It's that time of year when girls start stressing about what to wear because they don't want to be teased and tormented at school. A new poll conducted by the British Association of Teachers and Lecturers reveals that advertising's increasing influence on kids is partly to blame for this pressure, which makes a certain set of Wal-Mart commercials I saw this weekend that much more offensive. Today I'm over at Shine talking about the ads, and offering some tips on how to help girls deal with all the brand mania. See you there.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pregorexia: What Happens When Moms-to-Be Aren't Eating Enough?

We have written before about the insane amount of pressure pregnant women and new moms face in our "get your pre-baby body back" culture. We've also talked about the fact that we now need a new dictionary to define all the terms that are popping up to describe disordered eating behavior, a surefire sign that our collective attitudes about food and weight have gone off the deep end. Now we've officially arrived at the intersection of these two observations: Pregorexia.

"Pregorexia" is another media-coined term used to refer to mothers who are so terrified of gaining weight during their pregnancies that they diet and put their own health and the babies health at risk. Those health risks include anemia, low birth weight, heart palpitations, and rickets. Of course, women are warned not to gain too much weight either, because that comes with a whole other set of health risks. No pressure or anything. Just get it perfect, okay?

We're hearing a lot of accusations of women putting vanity before the health of their babies. We'd like to slow down the judgment train for a second. It's a pretty widely accepted fact that many women have serious body image issues, weight concerns (and yes, eating disorders) before they get pregnant, right? So why are we all so quick to assume that those issues will magically melt away as soon as women decide to become moms? What resources are available to help us cope with the body changes and body pressures that come with pregnancy and motherhood? The fact is that we're surrounded by "Celebrity Moms' Diet Tricks!" magazine covers (sometimes in the OB/GYN's office, thanks very much), but the voices of reason are few and far between.

Our recommendations? Women need doctors who are sensitive to and knowledgeable about body image issues, and we need to talk honestly with each other about how we're coping with these pressures instead of quizzing each other on how much weight we've gained or lost during and after pregnancy. What do you think? [Daily Mail] via [Shine]

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Eating Disorders and The Olympics: Is the IOC Doing Enough?

It's almost time to let the games begin, but as controversy swirls around the hot topics of performance-enhancing drug use and gender testing at the Olympics, another major issue gets less attention from the officials: eating disorders.

According to a study published last year in the Psychology of Sport and Exercise journal, almost one in five of Britain's leading female distance runners has an eating disorder or has suffered in the past. We would venture to guess that the U.S. numbers match up pretty closely. Does anyone remember Dying to Be Perfect: The Ellen Hart Pena Story (Yep, Lifetime movie)? And it's not just runners, of course. Little Girls in Pretty Boxes highlighted the struggles of figure skaters and gymnasts (Uh, yeah, Lifetime again. Although to be fair, it was a book first). Gymnast Jennifer Sey just chronicled her own experience with eating disorders and depression in Chalked Up: Inside Elite Gymnastics' Merciless Coaching, Overzealous Parents, and Elusive Olympic Dreams and American swimmer Dara Torres just inked a deal (sub required) to write her memoir, which includes a discussion of her battle with bulimia.

We talk about how the world of modeling is a breeding ground for disordered eating. Models get into the business when they are young and impressionable. They are often completely isolated from their support systems and they're thrown into a highly competitive environment where their success depends largely on their bodies. Take those factors off the runway and put them on a track or an ice rink or in a swimming pool and the risk for eating disorders is still sky high.

Many have questioned whether the fashion industry is doing enough to protect the health of models, but there has certainly been plenty of discussion and enough movement to develop some basic guidelines. The International Olympic Committee issued its own guidelines in 2005--in the form a 46-page position on the Female Athlete Triad (Disordered Eating, Osteoporosis, and Amenorrhea). While comprehensive, this paper is far from user friendly. The IOC also states that "International and National Federations and National Olympic Committees are encouraged to develop coach and team physician Female Athlete Triad education programmes, and where possible modify rules to reduce the incidence of the drive for thinness and subsequent unhealthy eating behaviours." Is that happening? If you know about any such programs or rule modifications, please let us know. Our search came up with nada.

Monday, August 4, 2008

You're Amazing! Events This Week

Are you in NYC? Hope you can make it to one (or both!) of these events:

cupcakeI'm on the bill for Great Teen Reads Night at Books of Wonder, Wednesday August 6th, 6:00-7:30 p.m. Books of Wonder is one of my favorite spots in New York, and not just because it happens to be attached to The Cupcake Cafe!

This super deluxe reading and signing also includes Melissa Walker (Violet on the Runway, Violet by Design and her brand new release, Violet in Private); New York Times bestselling author Lisa McMann (Wake); Linda Gerber (Death by Bikini, P.S. Did you enter Linda's giveaway-to-end-all-giveaways yet?); Katie Davis (The Curse of Addy McMahon); and Jenny Davidson (The Explosionist).

brooklyn fleaBrooklyn Flea, Sunday, August 10th, 10 a.m. until I can't take the heat (literally).

I'll be selling and signing books at the flea this Sunday! I'm sharing a table with photographer extraordinaire Kate Glicksberg. She's the one who made me look all reflective and professional in my author pic. Come on by and see us. I'll be the one in the sun hat and slathered in SPF 45. Yeah, I'm a delicate flower.