Friday, October 24, 2008

Are People Finally Fed Up With Model Shows? MTV Pulls the Plug on "Model Makers"

MTV began casting for a new show called Model Makers, but it appears the show will never see the light of day. That's good news, because it looked all kinds of horrible. Contestants on the show would have been forced to "endure twelve weeks of intensive physical fitness training to help them get down to their ideal size...With weekly eliminations looming, models must put their best foot forward at all times while staying focused on losing weight."

In truth, the premise of Model Makers sounds a lot closer to reality than most other model "reality" TV shows. Yes, a segment of the population of today's working models is naturally and effortlessly skinny. The rest are perpetually and sometimes dangerously focused on losing weight (remember Ali Michael?). The show's teaser line sums up exactly what's wrong with the fashion industry: "Women come in all shapes and sizes, but models don't." Actually, you could modify that line to read "Women come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, but models don't" and you would have a pretty accurate picture of what the runways at Fashion Week look like these days.

So why did Model Makers get the ax? Darryl Roberts, director of the documentary America the Beautiful, credits a massive letter writing campaign. Roberts wrote an open letter to MTV on HuffPo earlier this month. He published the casting email address and encouraged outraged readers to protest the show. We love to think of that inbox being flooded. And if MTV really did come to its senses as a result of the groundswell, that is a huge victory for woman and girlkind.

But while we're on the topic of model reality shows, we'd like to pose a question. Will audiences ever grow weary? Of course America's Next Top Model keeps on trucking into it's 200th season or something. We've also seen Model.Live, Models NYC, The Agency, She's Got the Look, 8th & Ocean, The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency, and our personal favorite, America's Most Smartest Model. Even Project Runway insists on incorporating a model elimination within a show that's supposed to be about the designers (insert Tim Gunn inflection here). We're not exactly crying a river, or a puddle, when Heidi aufs one of them each week. Is there anyone out there shedding a tear?

We suppose there is a core audience of the model-obsessed who will watch anything and everything related to those pretty moddles. As for the rest of us, it's fun to laugh along for a while, and sometimes those shows can even be edumacational! But when does it start to get old? Is there a saturation point for eye smiling and fierceness?

[Huffington Post via Ypulse]

Friday, October 17, 2008

You're Amazing! in Brooklyn Tomorrow

If you're in the New York area, bring your daughters, nieces, little sisters, friends, and neighbors to Blue Ribbon General Store on Saturday, October 18th. I'll be reading from my book, You're Amazing! A No-Pressure Guide to Being Your Best Self, and conducting self-esteem activities for girls from 12-1:30 p.m. You'll be free in time for some Brooklyn brunching. All the details are here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Hot Mama Curse and Love Your Body (Every) Day

Our upcoming book just got a nice mention on Redbook editor-in-chief Stacy Morrison's blog. She writes:
"It’s true that pregnancy creates a lot of strange conversations in your head about your relationship to your body...I’m excited to say that two women are going to be taking on this issue in an upcoming book, to capture the many different ways we women go through this stage of life called pregnancy and what it makes us think and feel about our bodies."
You can read Stacy's full post here.

On another note, we somehow spaced and forgot to post about Love Your Body Day yesterday. So we're celebrating today. And every day. What do you love about your body?

Image: Love Your Body Day 2008 poster winner Shanti Rittgers, high school category.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Voices of Eating Disorders

The New York Times is running a "Patient Voices: Eating Disorders" feature today, which includes interviews with female and male sufferers at different points of recovery. A mother of one of the sufferers is also interviewed.

Patrick Bergstrom talks about the connection between perfectionism and eating disorders, and how he struggled to recover in a treatment center that catered mostly to women. Emily Hertz, a recovering anorexic, remembers a comment her grandfather made to her when she was just nine years old: "If you keep eating those Skittles, you're going to get fat." Kirsten Haglund, Miss America 2008, reflects on how her eating disorder isolated her from the people she cared about. Disappointingly, there is not much ethnic diversity here, which doesn't do much to dispel the myth that eating disorders are a white issue. That said, the piece is definitely worth checking out.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Friends Don't Let Friends Fat Talk

October 13-17 is Fat Talk Free Week, an initiative launched by Delta Delta Delta to get women to think about how our body bashing talk can keep us from the meaningful conversations and actions we really need in our lives.

Sign the promise to end fat talk
Vocab Rehab: Pregnancy and New Mom Edition
Vocab Rehab: Change Your Body Talk for the Better

Monday, October 6, 2008

Women Who Diet Before Pregnancy Gain More Weight During Pregnancy

Women who count calories, cut carbs, and measure fat grams before pregnancy are more likely to overeat during pregnancy. UNC researchers asked 1,223 women who had just become pregnant about their previous dietary habits. Regardless of how they did it, all normal-weight, overweight, or obese women who had tried to restrict their diets gained more weight during pregnancy than did women who did not diet before pregnancy.

This is one of those studies that confirms what we've heard from many of the women we're interviewing for our book--and it's common sense if you think about it. At every point in our lives, we're told to watch our weight. But during pregnancy, women are suddenly handed a free pass to "eat for two." Of course there are still plenty of celebrity magazines that bash stars who dare to show up in public with anything other than a cute little baby bump. But generally friends, family, and colleagues are more likely to encourage us to relax rigid eating habits for the sake of the baby. For women who have been restricting to the extent that they have little sense of their natural appetites, that permission to finally eat without guilt can be equivalent to opening the floodgates. In fact, another study shows that pregnancy can lead to binge eating disorder in some women who have never been binge eaters before.

Culturally sanctioned pregnancy feasting is time-limited, make no mistake. The pressure is on the minute after delivery. That's when the "indulge your cravings" allowances come to a screeching halt and the "get your pre-baby back" alarms are sounded. Ah, mixed messages.

Millions of women suffer from eating disorders, disordered eating, and poor body image before getting pregnant. Why would we expect that these issues would magically disappear during and post-pregnancy (two of the most stressful and body-transforming times of a woman's life)? Unfortunately, obstetricians are woefully untrained to deal with these issues.

"It would be important to have a nutritionist meet with these patients, because most obstetricians -- including me -- don't have the training to know what specifically to recommend," says obstetrician J. Christopher Glantz, MD, MPH, director of the perinatal outreach program at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

What are your experiences with these issues? We invite you to fill out one of our surveys.