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Female Lighting v. Male Lighting

Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The New York Times has a thought-provoking article on the difference between the way female politicians are photographed v. their male counterparts: Sarah Palin’s Mustache.

The article discusses the reaction to the 2008 Newsweek cover of Sarah Palin that was considered less than flattering:

“In effect, we had typically ‘man lighting’ and ‘female lighting’ — and they weren’t the same. Also, because our editorial policy was not to alter news photos, we generally did not use close-up images of women on the cover because of the potential for an unflattering image.”

Great examination of the expectations we have regarding the media images of prominent women v. prominent men.

 

 

February 27, 2016   No Comments

Full Figured Fashion Week: Sonsi’s Recap

Sonsi Full Figured Fashion Week

Here’s a link to a fun recap of the 2013 Full Figured Fashion Week by Sarah Sapora at Sonsi. Not only did I love the recap, but the story is full of great pictures of beautiful curvy girls strutting their fashion stuff.

Just makes me happy! (And makes me want to spend money.)

June 28, 2013   No Comments

Be Careful! Curves Ahead. Vogue Italia June 2011: “Plus-Size” Edition

Published: June 2011 Steven Meisel - Photographer

Friend of the Curvy Life, and blogger extraordinaire, Atiya King, of the blog Secrets, Lies and Margaritas, sent me these great shots from the current issue of Vogue Italia, and hipped me to a website that I hadn’t heard about: Vogue Curvy. I asked her to share her take on these images and the Vogue Curvy site.

Atiya writes:

Let’s face it. The fashion industry has no idea what sexy is. They seem to be under the impression that sexy is young, 6 feet tall, blondes, with bodies like teen boys. I know. I know. It takes them awhile to catch up to those of us in the real world. See, in the real world, we know that sexy is more than that. Sexy is quirky. Sexy is smart. Sexy is ambitious, and sometimes, sexy is a whole lotta woman!

Published: June 2011 Steven Meisel - Photographer

Vogue Italia has stepped up their game. Their glossy, black and white, June 2011 cover features sexy, plus-size models Tara Lynn, Candice Huffine and Robyn Lawley. This is what most women look like. Soft, voluptuous and hot! We need to see more of this. Actually, we want to see more of this.

Published: June 2011 Steven Meisel - Photographer

 

A curvaceous beauty hasn’t graced the cover of Vogue since Sophie Dahl’s spread in April 2000. Clearly, it’s been too long. So, I’d like to thank Vogue Itlaia’s editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani for having the courage to put these beautiful, buxom women on the cover. Hopefully, one day, this will not be such a novelty issue.

Until then, check out Vogue Curvy for more pictures of this sexy issue.

June 27, 2011   1 Comment

Belly dance and body love

Belly dancer/model Amani (she’s in the PZI Jeans ad) shares a bit of her philosophy about dance and loving your body.

If you are in Atlanta, Amani is hosting “MEOW! That’s HOT!” a show & workshop with the curvy fabulous dancer Raksanna on September 13, 2009 (1:30-3:30 & 4:00-6:00 PM) in Roswell at The Open Mind Center (1575 Alabama Rd.). Visit Raksanna’s website or Amani’s website for more details.

I’ll be there, getting my curve on!

September 3, 2009   2 Comments

Curvy Me Profiled on Hatch E-zine

I have been a fan of Melissa Grossman of Hatch, Life Coaching for Women, since I discovered her a year ago through Ladies Who Launch.  Melissa is gifted at cutting through the fluff and getting right to the core of an issue.  She describes herself as the “Fresh Approach Coach;” I would describe her approach as the ‘Refreshing Approach Coach,’  as well.

In the latest edition of her Hatch ezine, she interviewed me about The Curvy Life and my philosophy of body love.  I gained tremendous insights about myself as a result of the questions that she asked me.  In particular, her questions regarding my relationship with the camera shifted my perspective regarding my approach to body image in general and toward my own body specifically. I thank her for that gift.  And, how could I not love her for calling me “proudly curvaceous, voluptuously ambitious.” I think that I’m going to put that on my business cards.

I invite you to read this profile and to share your insights on your relationship with the camera, your big vision, and the big questions in your life.

Excerpt:

Meet Angela Stalcup – Proudly Curvaceous, Voluptuously Ambitious,

Angela Stalcup is one of several friends I’ve made through the Ladies Who Launch network.  In fact, I met her last November at the LWL Live Event in Atlanta when she sat in on an afternoon breakout session I facilitated.  Little did I know that on that very day the seeds for her blog, The Curvy Life, were about to break out and see sunlight. The mission behind Curvy Life is anything but petite.  If Angela has her way, it will change our expectations and perceptions around body image, our own bodies and thusly ourselves….[to continue]

October 10, 2008   No Comments

How to Look Good Naked – Grae Drake episode

The blurb for this episode says: “A tall beauty hopes to gather confidence and live out her dream of performing a sexy tango.”

While I could write volumes about each episode of this show, three points really stand out in my mind:

1. Grae likes her body only when she doesn’t know it’s hers.

Grae’s attitude illustrates that body dissastisfaction has very little to do with actual body appearance. She has nothing but good things to say about her body when she thinks it belongs to someone else. Why are we so unkind to ourselves?

2. Body loathing keeps Grae from being fully engaged in the world.

How many of us think that we are “too fat” to try something new, or to pursue our dreams? What about her body would make Grae think that she couldn’t dance? Let’s quit hiding and get out in the world and claim our space and our dreams.

3. It’s all about confidence.

I love the moment in the electronics store, with Grae’s picture on every screen, when the cute guy approaches her and tells her that her body is fine, that all she is lacking is confidence. And her transformation is really based on gaining confidence, even more so than getting a makeover.

Keep it curvy, Grae!

July 29, 2008   1 Comment

“How to Look Good Naked” back for second season

I’m so glad that “How to Look Good Naked” is back on for Season 2 (full episodes available online). I applaud the honesty of the women who appear on the show for revealing the depth of the pain created by body loathing. And I applaud the program for being one of the few (if not only) shows on television to feature a variety of female body types in a positive manner. How beautiful are the models in Kelly’s mirror exercise? Gorgeous, curvy women portrayed in a favorable light? Yes, please, may I have some more?

And how stunning is Kelly in her sexy, black lingerie?

As for the second season of the show, I like the changes, especially the move to hour-long episodes. I also like the addition of the catwalk–I hope that this is a regular feature. This allows for a more in-depth exploration of the impact of body loathing on the featured women’s lives.

In the first season, every time I would watch this show I would find myself wishing for the nude photo shoot. Now, I want to walk the runway in my undies and high heels!

July 22, 2008   6 Comments

“DISFIGURED” – Can an obese girl and an anorexic girl be friends?

(L to R: Staci Lawrence as Darcy and Deidra Edwards as Lydia, in Disfigured, dir. Glenn Gers.
Photo courtesy of Dialogue Heavy Pictures.)

Rachel at The-F-Word.org mentions the movie Disfigured, a movie about women and weight (on DVD July 29). Disfigured is the story of “an unexpected friendship between two women – one obese, the other anorexic.” (If you are interested in whatever happened to the winner of the first season of the biggest loser, definitely read Rachel’s article.)

The movie materials describe this friendship as “unexpected”–the perception being, as the fat girl says in the film, “I’m your worst nightmare.” In the past, I’ve thought it myself: even though thin and normal-weight women who suffer from eating disorder, well, suffer, at least they’re not fat. I never held bad feelings for thin women, but I may have minimized their pain.

Thus, the movie begins with Darcy (the woman with anorexia), seeking to join a Fat Acceptance group because she feels that she is fat. And she is refused admittance to the group.

Coming from the point of view of a woman who has always been larger than the norm, there have been times that I have said (in jest), “If I didn’t have low-blood sugar I would have been an anorexic,” as though anorexia is a condition to be desired, rather than a debilitating disease. Later in the film, Lydia (the larger woman) asks Darcy for “anorexia lessons.”

Thanks to my exposure to the stories of women with eating disorders (mostly through the blogosphere) I’ve learned that language that minimizes anorexia or bulumia is as insensitive (and offensive) as “No fat chicks.” And the more you compare the experiences of women around issues of the body, the clearer it becomes–we are all the same under the skin.

I look forward to seeing how this movie treats these and other issues relating to women and weight.

July 1, 2008   5 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

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

Media images make us feel bad–and it’s getting worse

I wasn’t surprised when I saw yet another article on the negative impact of media depiction of ultra-thin actresses and models on body image; however,  the findings of  researcher Shelly Grabe and psychology professor Janet Hyde describe a sweeping analysis of 77 previous studies involving more than 15,000 subjects that reveals:

“We’ve demonstrated that it doesn’t matter what the exposure is, whether it’s general TV watching in the evening, or magazines, or ads showing on a computer,” says Grabe. “If the image is appearance-focused and sends a clear message about a woman’s body as an object, then it’s going to affect women.”

The effect also appears to be growing. The researchers’ analysis reveals that, on average, studies conducted in the 2000s show a larger influence of the media on women’s body image than do those from the 1990s, says Grabe.

“This suggests that despite all our efforts to teach women and girls to be savvy about the media and have healthy body practices, the media’s effect on how much they internalize the thin ideal is getting stronger,” she says.

In the past several years, I’ve been excited to see media consumers becoming more educated as  to how to deconstruct media messages and media images.  Dove has deconstructed images of beauty–Tyra Banks has pulled the curtain back on modeling.  Sadly, even though we know that the images that we see are not only unrealistic, but that often they are unreal, we are still impacted.

Or, let me change the “we” to “I”–I know that these images are plastic and manipulated, but I still feel the gut punch of the current standard of beauty.  Sometimes I find the mental and emotional fight to be exhausting.  But, I refuse to give up.  I want to love my body, to embrace my beauty, to be grateful to my body for allowing me to enjoy the fullness of life.

[Quote Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison (2008, May 12). Sweeping Analysis Of Research Reinforces Strong Media Influence On Women’s Body Image. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 25, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2008/05/080512163828.htm]

May 25, 2008   No Comments

Whitney – the first “juicy booty” to win America’s Next Top Model

Congratulations to Whitney on becoming America’s Next Top Model (I wish I had a picture of her in that pink Versace dress from the finale). My favorite line from tonight’s episode comes courtesy of the make-up artist preparing Whitney for the final runway show:

You’re the first juicy booty to make it to the runway.

All season long, Whitney has been referred to as the “plus-size” model. Tonight Tyra corrected that term and said that she was the “full-figured” model. Whitney has curves, but she’s neither plus-sized or full-figured. Still, I’m glad a woman with a more ”average” sized body will have a chance to be in the media as a representation of beauty. I’ll be curious to see what kind of media coverage she receives as the first full-figured winner.

May 14, 2008   9 Comments

Mozaïk Curves – Curves as Art

Here is an art project that makes my heart sing:

The Human Mozaïk chose to sing the praises of curves and of round bodies by inviting women from across Canada aged from 18 to 50 years old to lend their forms to semi-nude photography and to unique artistic creations inspired by their curves. Each model’s curves and roundures were interpreted by different artists according to their respective styles, techniques and medium.

The Mozaïk~Curves project is also a collection of testimonies, poems and affirmations. The texts are written by the models, courageous women who become natural, artistic, proud, beautiful and intelligent. This is an original, colourful and inspiring project shedding a positive look on women’s curves and roundness!

http://www.artmozaik.com/Curves.html

I love the beautiful, sensual, artistry of the project. It is fascinating to see how various artists interpret the same photograph. The artists of the Human Mozaïk do a fabulous job of demonstrating the beauty of curves no matter the size or shape. I love seeing this diversity of female bodies portrayed side-by-side. Not only do these images move me, they make me want to see myself portrayed in such an inspiring and empowering way.

See the website for information on ordering the book (US $45) . I’m definitely getting one.

May 14, 2008   No Comments

An ode to hips

I love fashion, but I hate fashion magazines. Studies have shown that the pictures in fashion magazines have a more negative impact on our body image and self-esteem than any other images. That being said, I do read some fashion mags (Figure Magazine just isn’t broad enough for me). One mainstream magazine that I subscribe to is Glamour. I noticed about a year ago that Glamour was making an effort to be more inclusive (in comparison with others) in portraying plus sizes. What that translates to is two or three mentions of plus-size clothes. Their “Dress Your Body” segment always includes a plus size model, and this month they address fashionable plus-size labels. It’s not enough, but it’s something.

That being said, I read one of the most amazing tributes to the female form in this month’s (June 2008) issue of Glamour, in the article “What Keeps a Guy Hooked on You For Life.” This is one of those male-perspective articles on what men love about their women. This article is not posted at Glamour.com, so I’m going to post the highlights of one man’s tribute to his wife’s hips–From: “Her Hips,” by Will Robinson, 29, in love for 15 years.

… But if you asked me what I couldn’t live without, what I need above all else, what I’ve worshipped since the very first day we met, I would tell you with a smile: her hips.

Round and sensual, those hips are what transform my wife from simply beautiful to incredibly sexy. They take a hard turn from her waist and then softly curve down to her thighs, a perfect combination of forcefulness and femininity….

… I wish I could convince her that though I’ll love her forever no matter what shape she’s in, having those extra-voluptuous hips to grab onto makes life together all the sweeter.

That may be the hottest thing I’ve ever read. Female hips as the “perfect combination of forcefulness and femininity”–that is a powerful testimony.

May 8, 2008   No Comments