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Posts from — June 2008

Living the Curvy Life at skirt! magazine party

(ME, Britt Menzies, Traci Long, Alyson Hoag, Stephanie Davis)

A special thanks to Megan Underwood and Stephanie Davis of skirt! Atlanta for inviting me to the 2nd annual anniversary party for the magazine. I love the message and the beauty of skirt!, a free monthly magazine available in print in Charleston, SC; Atlanta, GA; Augusta, GA; Charlotte, NC; Savannah, GA; Jacksonville, FL.; Columbia, SC; Knoxville, TN; Memphis, TN; Richmond, VA; Houston, TX;  Boston, MA; Lexington, KY; Winston Salem, MA, Ventura/Santa Barbara, CA; Tampa Bay, FL. Not only will you love reading it, you’ll want to frame it!

The party was very “Sex And The City” — held on the rooftop of Atlanta’s MidCity Lofts, trés chic ladies (and their gentlemen friends) sipped pink drinks by the pool and hobnobbed with all sorts of interesting and talented people. I did remark on an absence of big girls at the party – I don’t know if that says something about skirt!’s audience or shyness on the part of curvier girls.

I was invited as a member of a great organization, Ladies Who Launch, an international organization with local “incubators” that offers in-person events and an online social network to support entrepreneurship as a lifestyle for women. Without the support of the lovely ladies in my incubator group I would have never gotten this blog out of my head and onto the Web. I highly recommend them if you want support in launching your dream, be it for business or otherwise.

Thanks, also, to Kyle at Multi-Tasking Woman for adding our picture to her news page.

Just wanted to share.

June 27, 2008   2 Comments

Body activism – pink Post-Its on the prowl

Have hot pink Post-Its, will travel. (See earlier article: Body activism works to reduce the “thin ideal”)

I’m leaving “You are beautiful” notes on mirrors everywhere.

What have you been doing in the name of body activism? I’d love to hear about it.

June 24, 2008   10 Comments

Curvy me in a bikini – do I dare?

I am always trying to challenge myself regarding my own comfort level with my body (thus my foray into a women’s nude yoga class–a story for another time). So, at the end of swimsuit season last year, I decided to buy myself a cute, skirted bikini.

I’ve wanted to wear a two-piece swimsuit since, well, forever, but I’ve never had the nerve. However, when I saw a version of this cute INC International Concepts suit in a size 16, I took it to the dressing room to try it on.

Even under the cold flourescent glare of the fitting room lights, the suit looked cute. I liked the cut and the skirt was just the right amount of flouncy. I took it on and off several times, and each time I liked it on more than the last. The thought crossed my mind: this suit is meant for tall, lean, size-16s, not 5’5″ size-16s. But, I let that thought go, and bought my first bikini.

I took the suit for a test drive at the complex pool last season when I figured that no one would be around. I was pleased.

But the real test came this weekend, at our homeowner’s association pool party. Did I have the nerve to wear my (not so)-itsy-witsy-teeny-weeny black-and-white skirtini in front of all my neighbors? Could I sit in a lounge chair by the pool with 30 other people?

I rarely feel self-conscious around clothes and public settings. If I like how I look, that’s good enough for me. So, I screwed up my courage, put on my cute sarong cover-up, and headed to the pool. My reaction when I arrived really surprised me: I couldn’t bring myself to remove my cover-up.

I had the following dialogue with myself:

Just take off your cover-up and get in the pool.

But, I don’t know if I’m ready to be known by my neighbors as “the fat girl in the bikini?”

Didn’t you make peace with the whole “fat girl” thing a long time ago?

Yes, but, remember what they say on “What Not To Wear”: You may not care what you look like, but the rest of us have to look at you.

Anyone offended by you in a bikini by the pool can avert their eyes. Just take off the sarong and do it.

So, I did. And no one screamed out in disgust or ran in horror.

And how did I look in my bikini?

Curvy me in a bikini, do I dare? I did, and I do.

June 24, 2008   14 Comments

Body activism works to reduce the power of “the thin ideal”

Thanks to Rachel at The-F-Word.org for her article on Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s (CNN) report in Time magazine and on his CNN blog. Gupta reports enthusiastically on the success of the Body Project, an eating disorders prevention program that not only educates women as to the source of “the thin ideal” (marketing messages) but also incorporates “civil disobedience” in its curriculum.

Since 2001, more than 1,000 high school and college students have participated in the Body Project, which works by getting girls to understand how they have been buying into the notion that you have to be thin to be happy or successful. After critiquing the so-called thin ideal by writing essays and role-playing with their peers, participants are directed to come up with and execute small, nonviolent acts. They include slipping notes saying “Love your body the way it is” into dieting books at stores like Borders [and on mirrors in public restrooms] and writing letters to Mattel, makers of the impossibly proportioned Barbie doll.

Gupta remarks that the Body Project is “seeing remarkable progress so far in an area that has seen few if any truly effective programs at all.” What makes this project more effective than most? Studies have shown that media education is not enough ( See the previous post: Media images make us feel bad–and it’s getting worse). Women and girls are more educated than ever about the plastic nature of media images; however, our body dissatisfaction continues to increase. Could it be that the effectiveness of the Body Project is the combination of education and activism?

Knowing that we are daily manipulated by media images can create a feeling of helpless and powerlessness The activism of the Body Project gives the participants a sense of personal power in the battle against external messages.

What I love about this approach is the simplicity–a Post-It note on a mirror is about as easy as it gets. So, I challenge everyone: be a body activist. If you must, begin with your own mirror, and move from there.

I’ve got my Post-Its–mirrors of the world, watch out!

June 17, 2008   3 Comments

A Curvy Take on “Sex And The City” – Part I

Last weekend, when I was waxing poetic to an activist friend about how I loved the “Sex And The City” movie even more the second viewing than the first (yes, I went to see the movie two days in row), she replied:

Why would you care about the lives of rich, skinny, privileged women who spend $100,000 on shoes?

That’s a great question, and the the reason that I didn’t invite her to see the movie with me. In fact, both times I saw the movie, I went by myself. I am not the “typical” SATC fan (if there is such a thing): I was late coming to the show—I didn’t start watching it until several seasons into the show. I don’t have a gaggle of girlfriends with whom I gathered to gawk and gab about the show (a straight male friend of mind convinced me to give the show a try.) In fact, for many years I felt guilty for enjoying the show—doesn’t this just promote a doubly impossible beauty standard for women of never too thin, never too rich?

However, not only do these wealthy, thin women entertain me, they make me feel powerful and proud. I left the theater thinking, “I’m forty and fabulous, just as I am.” So I have to wonder, can a curvy girl really feel empowered by SATC?

I’ll give my take on the question in my next post.

June 8, 2008   4 Comments