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Female Lighting v. Male Lighting

Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at

Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at

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

A Curvy Girl Always Has Shoes

Just wanted to share some pictures from the last Hello, Stiletto Shoe Club outing in Atlanta, hosted by the wonderful folks at Emily Blenhem Shoes. I got a chance to model some fabulous patent-leopard Jimmy Choo’s (thanks, James!), which, next time I have an extra $1200 lying around, I might pick up.

One thing I admire about the curvy girls of the world: we may be neglected, abused, and ignored by the clothing industry, but we always have shoes.

In their full glory

In their full glory


In my full glory


I gaze admiringly at more shoes I can't afford

September 24, 2009   1 Comment

Jennifer Weiner — Engaging, Empowering, Entertaining

Jennifer Weiner

Jennifer Weiner is currently on a 10-city book tour promoting her latest novel, Best Friends Forever. We had a chance to see her at her Atlanta signing, and it was an absolute treat. She was gregarious, entertaining, engaging, and hilarious. The signing was held in the middle of a Borders, and as she spoke, a crowd gathered around the perimeter of the seating area, many unaware of who she was, just to enjoy the show.

There was a gentleman in line behind us with a couple of books in hand, and someone asked if he was a fan. He replied, “Never heard of her. But listening to her now, I’ve decided to get books for my wife and daughter.” No doubt he was influenced by her positive energy and wanted to share that with the women in his life.

If you are in any of the following cities, I highly recommend that you check her out.

Saturday, July 18th: St. Louis, The Ethical Society of St. Louis, 9001 Clayton Road 8 PM

Sunday, July 19: Framingham, MA: Barnes & Noble, 1 Worcester Road, 3 p.m.

Monday, July 20: Lincolnshire, IL, Stevenson High School, 1 Stevenson Drive, 7 p.m. (The event is free, but you have to register for tickets ahead of time, which you can do by clicking here).

Tuesday, July 21: El Cerrito, Barnes and Noble El Cerrito, (El Cerrito Plaza), 7:00 pm

Wednesday, July 22: San Francisco, Book Passage Bookstore in the San Francisco Ferry Building (1 Ferry Building, #42), 8:00 pm

July 18, 2009   4 Comments

Curve Appeal Beauty & Fashion Convention – Atlanta, May 9

Curve Appeal Conference link

May 7, 2009   1 Comment

“America the Beautiful” Documentary in Atlanta 10/22-23

The documentary that uncovers America’s unhealthy obsession with beauty.

931 Monroe Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30308
(678) 495-1424

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 7 p.m.
Thursday, October 23, 2008 @ 7 p.m.

Both screenings to be followed by a Question/Answer session with Producer/Director Darryl Roberts.


In 2004, America spent $12.4 billion on cosmetic surgery, but the true cost of America’s obsession with youth, beauty and a slender physique is tallied in an epidemic of eating disorders, complications and death from unnecessary surgeries, exposure to dangerous toxins in cosmetics, and most disturbingly, the equally toxic effects on generation after generation of young people.

How did we get this way? Who is harmed by our quest for perfection? And who is profiting from encouraging the insecurities that fuel that quest?

In Darryl Roberts’ candid and heartfelt documentary, we hear from the fashion industry, advertising executives, plastic surgeons and ordinary men, women and teens. The answers they give are astounding, with consequences far more than skin deep.


Landmark Midtown Art Cinema

931 Monroe Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30308
(678) 495-1424

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 7 p.m.
Thursday, October 23, 2008 @ 7 p.m.

Both screenings to be followed by a Question/Answer session with Producer/Director Darryl Roberts.

Click on links to see interviews!

The Today Show

Good Morning America Now

CNN News



– Roger Ebert

– Variety


– The Daily Campus


– AFI Dallas

A Personal Message
from the Director

“Considering that we’re challenging an industry
that has been assaulting our self-esteem for a long time, this isn’t just a movie opening, it’s a movement. It’s how each and every one of us can say ENOUGH!

The reason I believe a movie about our unhealthy obsession with beauty is important is because it really affects young girls. The average girl, 8 to 18 years of age, doesn’t like her body, doesn’t feel she’s attractive and is contemplating dieting or even worse, plastic surgery.

This is very unhealthy because as we all know, a healthy self-esteem is the engine that makes you assertive, confident and ready to take on the world. Unfortunately, this has been taken away from a lot of us, so that some beauty companies can sell more products and the CEO’s of these companies can drive Bentley’s.”


All of us with “America the Beautiful” appreciate
your support! We hope you will come out with friends and family, pass this letter on, and spread the word about “America the Beautiful.” We want everyone to share it’s important message!


Trailer for “America the Beautiful”


Click here to see the trailer

or copy and paste URL in your web browser

October 20, 2008   No Comments

Does Olympic swimmer Dara Torres make you feel bad about your body?

(Photo:Robert Maxwell)

Dara Torres, still an Olympic contender at age 41, has been touted as the “physical ideal for mothers, women at or approaching middle age, and just women in general.’’ While it gives me great pleasure to see a 40-something female athlete achieve at an Olympic level, I find the notion that her body is the physical ideal for “women in general” a little extreme, even in this age of extremes in body image. And why does the media always make body image a competition: ‘See, since this woman is ripped and lean at 41, you should all be ripped and lean at 41.’

This woman is clearly a professional athlete, and as such, devotes her entire life to working on her body. According to the New York Times, Torres spends $100,000 a year on support staff alone–coaches, trainers, etc.–to compete at an Olympic level. For $100,000 a year she’d better have an athletic body!

I’ve read two very interesting articles in regard to Dara Torres as a body and fitness ideal for women:

1. Dara Torres: The New Beauty Myth, at is a great commentary on what goes into sculpting a body the likes of Torres”–working out is her full-time job.

2. Olympic Abs vs. Simple Fitness, in The New York Times, which suggests another candidate for female “physical ideal”: 80-year old Estelle Parsons, weights in hand, who maintains a diverse, physically active exercise regime and is still going strong.

    (Photo: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times)

    I think that both of these women are amazing. Why does there have to be an “ideal” at all? How about finding what’s “ideal” for the individual? As women, we can celebrate Dara Torres (and Estelle Parsons) without feeling diminished by our own bodies.

    August 9, 2008   2 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

    Wii Fit bad for body image? BMI strikes again

    Is 4-foot 9-inch 10-year-old girl who weighs 84 lbs fat? According to Nintendo’s Wii Fit game, she is. Wii Fit’s “fat” or “fit” is based solely on BMI. This young girl is active–she swims and dances–yet she is declared not just “unfit” but “fat” by a video game.  The article below reports that the girl in question is “devastated” to be labeled “overweight.”  And rightly so. This is such a delicate age for body image issues–and being called fat by your video game is just the kind of thing that triggers serious body image issues.

    This is just one more example where BMI does not accurately represent health and fitness.


    Could Wii Fit create bad body image?

    Concerns after game labels young girl “fat”

    NEWS: 7 May 2008 15:32 GMT by Verity Burns

    Parents on an online forum have expressed concerns over Nintendo’s Wii Fit creating a bad body image, particularly with young girls.

    The controversy was sparked after a user complained that the game labelled her relative overweight.

    “My [relative] came round this weekend and we let her play on our Wii Fit”, she wrote. “We have all laughed and joked about being told that we’re fat and need to lose weight but I was gobsmacked when it told her that she is overweight.”

    According to the poster, the girl in question is a healthy 4-foot 9-inch 10-year-old who swims, dances and weighs only six stone [US 84 lbs]. “She is solidly built”, the poster adds, “but not fat”.

    Apparently the young girl was “devastated” to be labelled as overweight.

    The poster added: “I know it is just a game but seriously we already have to worry about young girls starving themselves to look like the magazine models and now we have a game that tells them they’re fat”.

    Forum users have replied with varying responses, many angrily and backing the poster’s decision to write and complain to Nintendo (they are yet to reply).

    However as one forum member pointed out, Wii Fit merely utilises the internationally-used BMI scale to calculate whether a user is overweight or not, and so Nintendo cannot be held responsible for the outcome.

    BMI is considered by some to not be the best way to measure weight as it does not take into account frame or muscle.

    May 9, 2008   12 Comments

    International No Diet Day – May 6, 2008

    I’ve been so busy that I almost missed it–Tuesday [not Monday, as previously stated] is International No Diet Day. The goal of the day is to encourage “women of all ages to collectively reflect on the importance of diets and on our society’s obsession with thinness.” No Diet Day was established in 1992 by Mary Evans Young, the director of the British anti-diet campaign “Diet Breakers.”

    A great way to celebrate No Diet Day is to check out the fascinating blog, The blog is one young woman’s social experiment on what it means to NOT diet for a year. Her take of the pressures of body image and eating are insightful and interesting. She is not advocating unhealthly eating, in fact, she is pursuing healthier eating habits by purposely not dieting (and to me that says it all). Here’s a little of her story:

    Some of you may be thinking: who is this crazy nut that is not dieting for one year?

    Well, this crazy nut is 28 years old and has spent more than half her life on a diet. In fact, this is the first time since I was 12 that I have been NotDieting for any period of time. Since the age of 12 my life can be placed in two categories, dieting and overeating after the diet.

    Strangely, I have never been overweight. I remember reading my mom’s Vogue magazines when I was 7 or 8 years old and hoping, praying that one day I would be as beautiful as the models in the picture. I thought they must have perfect lives, filled with happiness and love. My own mom always told me I was beautiful and gave me lots of love, but the glossy pages were too seductive.

    I don’t blame the magazines themselves. I’m sure there are plenty of young girls who have glanced through the very same pages I once did without feeling completely inadequate. Aren’t there? Anyway, I often wonder what would happen if I hadn’t been exposed to media that glorifies physical perfection. Well, my skin would be pretty pasty because I’d have to live underground in order for that to happen! Today it is more prevalent then ever and equally dangerous.

    I, too, like to live dangerously and I suspect that if you have made it to the bottom of this article, so do you. Let’s blow this diet pop stand together and have a life filled with happiness and love, our way.

    And for anyone who is/has been a life-long dieter, her article on eating cereal is priceless.

    So, on this International No Diet Day, I wish the hostess of much success in No Diet Year.

    May 5, 2008   5 Comments

    To Spanx or Not to Spanx

    First: Forgive the vanity of this exercise.

    Second: Apologies to the guy I met last week who hates it when people turn nouns into verbs. If he thinks “Google” shouldn’t be used as a verb–as in, “I Googled it”–then he’ll pass out if Spanx becomes a verb.

    Am I a sell-out if I wear Spanx? I rarely wear them–I figure, I’m curvy and cinching in my gut and my hips an inch or so isn’t going to make a difference. However, I do have the occasional outfit that I believe looks more refined with the addition of some shapewear underneath.

    At the Clinton Kelly event, he really pushed the idea of shapewear, so I decided to conduct an experiment. I wore the same dress (3 part construction–defined bust, defined waist, and a skirt that flows away from the body–à la What Not to Wear) two days in a row, one day with Spanx, one day without. The Spanx clearly takes away some of the width of my hips, but does it really matter? What do you think: Spanx, No Spanx?

    Spanx/No Spanx

    SpanxNo Spanx

    SpanxNo Spanx

    April 21, 2008   5 Comments

    Body Image “Media Code of Conduct” in Australia

    Victoria, Australia has created a “Voluntary Media Code of Conduct” through its Department of Planning and Community Development Office of Youth.  The Media Code of Conduct was released in July 2007, but I’m only hearing about it now (Aussie state moves to stamp out unrealistic body imagery, TV3 News).

    The mission of the Code of Conduct:

    The Code is designed to encourage the fashion, media and advertising industries to place greater emphasis on diversity, positive body images and a focus on health rather than body shape.

    The Code presents four key recommendations (complete report here):

    Altered and Enhanced Images
    The use of unachievable and unrealistic digitally manipulated images of people in the media is discouraged. If such alteration has occurred, digitally altered images should be disclosed and accompanied by a ‘tag’ stating that “this image has been digitally altered” to help young people make a balanced appraisal.

    Diversity in Shapes
    Consideration should be given to the inclusion of a variety of body shapes, to provide fair representation in both editorial and advertising images.

    Fair Placement
    Consideration should be given to the editorial context in which diet, exercise or cosmetic surgery advertising is placed.

    Modeling Health
    Glamorisation of severely underweight models or celebrities is potentially dangerous; effort should be made to depict people of healthy weight and size.

    Unlike the French proposal (to ban glamorization of  thinness), the code is strictly voluntary and provides no penalties for failure to conform to the rules.

    I find these recommendations much more in line with my own philosophy, particularly the goal:”to place greater emphasis on diversity, positive body images and a focus on health rather than body shape.”

    I also think that it’s a great idea to “tag” altered images as “digitally altered” (or perhaps “objects may be fatter/wrinkly-er/shorter/older than they appear”).  Even knowing that an image is altered doesn’t change its power to influence; however, the reminder of the plastic nature of the image is something.

    Related to this issue, The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) announced changes to the Advertising to Children Code, so as to ban the “sexualization” of children ages 14 and younger.

    April 18, 2008   No Comments

    Backlash against “plus size” beauty contestant

    In a previous post I mentioned Chloe Marshall, a size-16 contestant in the Miss England pageant. Of course, it was bound to happen–London’s Daily Mail (a tabloid-style newspaper) criticized Chloe as “fat, lazy and a poster girl for ill health.” (Click here for a link to the ABC News article Backlash Against Big Beauty Queen.)

    OK, that’s to be expected. Of course, the Daily Mail doesn’t rail against Kate Moss as being the ”poster girl for ill health” as an extremely underweight drug abuser. But, again, anytime a woman who is even slightly larger than the acceptable media standard makes any effort at all to publicly claim her beauty, she’s attacked for promoting an unhealthy lifestyle (all of this ignoring the damaging effects to the body of yo-yo dieting and the stress associated with low self-esteem, among others).

    But this is the bit that galls me. One female reader, who described herself as 5″ 8′ tall, size 10, who struggles to maintain her weight by running 5K each day and avoiding junk food, wrote in support of the vicious attack on Chloe by saying:

    “It makes me mad when people like Chloe are allowed to glamorize obesity, and even worse, make it look like a mentally and physically healthier alternative to watching your weight.”

    What gets me about this is two things:

    1. “Glamorize obesity?” Really? Come on, now. This always seems to be the charge against any positive media coverage of size acceptance. One kind word about loving even a “normal” body and that’s glamorizing? Then what the hell do you call the media treatment of thinness? Idolizing thinness? Deifying thinness? Canonizing thinness? I don’t think we have a word in our vocabulary.
    2. We, the average women of the world, we support, and in fact, enforce, the hatred against ourselves. I feel sorry for this woman–no doubt, she lives under constant pressure to maintain her weight. And that, is sheer torture.

    So, I conclude with: Kudos, Chloe. Hang in there, you gorgeous girl.

    April 4, 2008   3 Comments

    V-Day 10th Anniversay

    Today, Valentine’s Day, is the 10th anniversary of V-Day, a day and an organization created to combating violence against women that developed from Eve Ensler’s play The Vagina Monologues. The V-Day organization has raised more than $50 million for local anti-violence groups and rape crisis centers.

    Eve Ensler and Jane Fonda were interviewed twice today on the TODAY Show, and I appreciated this comment by Jane Fonda on the power of the play:

    “I knew that women have a right to our humanity and bodily integrity. I didn’t always live it behind closed doors. But when I saw ‘The Vagina Monologues,’ I never laughed or cried so hard in the theater. I think it was while I was laughing that something happened and I kind of slipped into my body and I really changed.”

    If we are fully in our bodies, fully appreciative of our bodies, we will not tolerant bad treatment of said bodies by others or by ourselves.

    To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of V-Day, Ensler and company are staging the biggest production of “The Vagina Monologues” in its history. It will take place over two days at the New Orleans Arena and Louisiana Superdome on April 11-12, with a star-studded cast: Jane Fonda, Salma Hayek, Oprah Winfrey, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Hudson, Glenn Close, Julia Stiles, Ali Larter, Sally Field, Marisa Tomei, Calpernia Addams, Rosario Dawson, Kerry Washington, and musicians Common, Eve and Charmaine Neville.

    Friend of The Curvy Life, Authentic Beauty, will be providing makeovers for up to 5000 of the women of New Orleans as part of V-Day’s “Superlove” event at the Superdome. The Curvy Life plans to be in New Orleans for the event–if you want to join us, see V-Day 1{0} for details.

    February 14, 2008   No Comments

    Kathleen Turner – Curvy Icon

    I love Kathleen Turner as a fabulous curvy icon. She has been making the rounds with her new book, Send Yourself Roses:Thoughts on My Life, Love and Leading Roles. Give yourself a Valentine’s treat by watching her interview on the Today show (click here) or go and check out her book.

    February 14, 2008   No Comments – Connecting Women Through Life’s Curves

    You’ve just got to love the tagline of Multi-Tasking is Redundant.

    Kyle Young, founder and CEO (Chief Encouragement Officer) of the site, is creating a community of women:

    “that empowers each of them to embrace and celebrate ALL the facets of their lives as a unique whole. There’s so much power in women having the support of each other at every point along their path.”

    And I’ve got to love MTW: check out the fantastic profile of The Curvy Life (by clicking here) and the profile of me (by clicking here).

    If you are a Multi-Tasking Woman (I know, redundant) head on over to Multi-Tasking where you can meet some awesome women (present company included) and share your own Multi-Tasking story.

    February 11, 2008   No Comments