Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘feminism’

Have you ever found yourself pulled in so many different directions you realize you have forgotten to do the things you most love to do? Maybe it’s sitting down to read a good book, look at magazines in a bookstore, morning yoga sessions, a long run, a Sunday nap, or a nice long dinner shared with good friends.

If you’ve ever forgotten the things that truly make you feel most alive inside or maybe even right now these things are staying warm on the the back burner. Know this: you are not alone.

Recently, I have been buzzing around busy as a bee but have found myself starting to run dry of all that sweet stuff. I have forgotten that in order to produce honey you have to have a constant intake of a little sweet goodness yourself. It’s kind of like the saying, “What goes in must come out” but perhaps better stated, “What goes out must first come in.” Or else we run dry.

A few days ago, after much push and pull, I had finally dragged my tired self outside, pulled on my dusty running shoes, and started to run. Then it happened, my IPod ran out of batteries. Great. How was I supposed to have a rock out run without the rock?

I almost decided to take a nap instead but then I realized I was indeed tired. I had been going full speed a head juggling work, class, volunteering, and studying with short breaks to drive to and from each activity filled with NPR or music blaring in my ears. I’ve been so busy maintaining speed that I’d forgotten to appreciate the moment. I had forgotten what silence sounded like.

So, I took my IPod back to the house and instead of taking off, feet slapping the pavement, I simply just started walking. After a while my thoughts began to slow. I started to hear the green parrots talking to each other and the breeze gently whistle through the leaves. I began to see that some time since January spring had occurred.

There were purple daisies, pink lilacs and white lilies. There were red rose bushes growing up sides of peach stucco houses and like a heartbeat the blue-green ocean was roaring in the background.

I stopped to look at a vacant lot filled with cracked cement. Between all the cracks there was grass growing but the most curious part was the bright yellow and pink flowers that were also pushing themselves up through the cracks. Yes, the blooms were probably weeds but they were absolutely beautiful!

That’s when it occurred to me. We are the vacant lot.

Every day we put so much pressure on our selves with work, deadlines, and the economics of living.We build up the cement around us and on top of us.

We forget that underneath the cement we are just part of the earth. Our intrinsic nature is to grow and to reach up towards the sky.

So, lets take a moment, turn our faces up towards the sun, and break through the cracks in our cement. Let our true selves grow up and out from the weight of our daily commitments.

Let’s revamp! Do a little Spring cleaning.Let’s tear down our vacant cement lot and rebuild it into a beautiful garden filled with lemon trees, lavender, and lilacs. Or maybe your lot is filled with roses or a tropical version with palm trees!

But, whatever your lot looks like the only cement is the stepping stones that are scattered throughout. Instead of preventing growth they maintain a path that leads from one place to another and supports optimal existence.

It is this delicate balance between cement structure, colorful flowers, rich damp earth, roots of trees, vegetables, fruits, rain, air, and sunshine that provide us with the optimal potential. These are our food.

All things need food to grow. Not just food for your mouth but nutrients of life….good friends, long walks, love, and laughter.

Today break free from your cement. Do something you love to do but haven’t done in awhile. Start that garden. Fill it with whatever will nourish your soul. Remember it’s a delicate balance for optimal existence.

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. ~J.R.R. Tolkien

 

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Ever find yourself four inches from the mirror investigating every square inch of your face? Sometimes this happens when I tweeze the pesky little whiskers that have a tendency to grow in the oddest places like out of moles and scars. Sometimes I even venture to my eyebrows when I start to feel “the Frida” coming on. 

During my last tweezing fix, I investigated my skin and found slight brown discoloration in spots I had never noticed before. Not Marilyn Monroe and Cindy Crawford “beauty marks.” Sun spots or solar lentigines, hyperpigmented brown spots on skin exposed to the sun. It made me question whether my mom’s brilliant suggestion of sunbathing with baby oil and iodine as a kid was a slight mistake. Oh, to grow up when cigarettes weren’t that bad for you, neon was rad, and the benefits of SPF were not yet taken seriously.

Even though suns spots can occur at any age they primarily appear in older adults. It made me think of all the apocalyptic before and after images you see: skin treatments, laser treatments, plastic surgeries, botox, or other anti-aging treatments.

What is so wrong and scary about aging?

Wrinkles, sagging skin, stretch marks, grey wiry hair, large noses, and giant ears. Must we not forget menopause. A time we all look forward to, where we have an excuse to be a complete nutter. I am surprised we all don’t just hit 50 and turn ourselves over to cryonics.

The other night I was in the movie The Hangover. There was a scene in a doctor’s office where an older man was getting his prostate checked. The camera zoomed in to show the man from the waist up then zoomed out as the old man turned to put on his pants. There it was: an 80 year old ass staring us right in the face. The audience burst out laughing.

But, what’s so comical about an older person’s body? There will be a day when we all get our chance to look in the mirror at an older reflection of ourselves. Do we laugh because of an unconscious fear of aging and the inevitable sound of the hammer in a coffin?

The fear is always right beneath the surface. Some of us proactively spend credulous amounts of money on serums, creams, injections and surgeries. Others of us like to pretend that we will embrace “it” when the time comes and try to suppress the image of our bodies at 70. Yet all of us think about it to some degree.

The fear has to come from somewhere but where? Our culture celebrates youth. Evidence of that is plastered ever where, on billboards, T.V, movies, magazines, the sidebars or Facebook or Google, and billions of websites.  We consume the message of youth so often that we do no longer taste it.

I ran across a beautiful article in The Sun written by a woman Patricia Brieschke. The author explores her aging body and the life struggle we all have at varying degrees of accepting our body as it is.

“I place a cup of green tea carefully on the floor of my walk-in closet and click the door shut behind me. Almost sixty-two, I’ve been trying to get myself to look in the mirror naked, to look without critique. (A gigantic ass! Doughy rolls! Thighs like the chunky Victorian legs of the behemoth table Aunt Helen bequeathed to us!) This morning I will approach the mirror in my closet in meditation. Today I will forgive the body I’ve inhabited all these years, and I will not come out of this closet until I find the well of tenderness hidden in these swollen fat cells.
The fluorescent lights glare. I move closer to the mirror and smell the raw me: urine and lavender. My naked body bulges. Not even my elbows have definition. A flabby roll on my abdomen dwarfs the patch of sparse gray hairs below, once lush with juice. Deep craters of cellulose run up and down my thighs like gristle on a pot roast.”

Here’s the lovely Sarah Haskins thoughts on skincare and wrinkles:

Today be aware of the messages that are communicated to you throughout the day about aging. Be aware of your response. Replace fear with the celebration of life and for body we have to live it in.

Read Full Post »

34x25x36blogtop2

We live in world where we can design our breasts, lips, ass, calves, nose, cheekbones, pecs, feet, labia, and penis. We believe in body hair be gone. We whiten our teeth, suffer chemical peels, and use plenty of potion-n-lotions that claim to have ingredients taken directly from the fountain of youth (despite the small print: effective only when used twice daily for the remainder of your days on earth.) We are constantly adjusting our styles. We get on our computers and exist in another reality where we build an avatar that is a few years younger and has a smaller waist. Actually, the only thing similar between our true self and our avatar is that we stuck glasses on them. Gotta’ have some resemblance right? We are constantly seeking transformation to a thinner, more muscular, and “healthier” us. We are in a giant pressure cooker for perfection.

This transformation phenomena does not just exist within Westernized cultures. I just finished reading a new book by Susie Orbach Bodies and was shocked to learn that Korean girls get westeren eyelid inserts and Chinese girls get 10 cm rods in their upper legs for an extra bit of height while Scandinavian women break and shortened their legs so as not to be as tall. Um… Ouch!

Where is this global idea of beauty coming from?

The internet allows us to send messages and interact with our world at instantaneous moments. Hollywood, the entertainment industry, and the same magazines are consumed in all countries across the globe. I am concerned that the dissemination of one uniform culture will affect the diversity that makes this world such a colorful place to live. In twenty years will the cultural lines be erased and we will cease to exist as automatons? Just one long boring mannequin parade.

Check out the video 34x25x26 below. It was created by Jesse Epstein from Brooklyn, NY. She is an impressive filmmaker that has a voice and a vision that demands to be heard. Her videos are on cultural identity, body image, and media.

Read Full Post »

I ran across an article this morning that made me laugh in total disbelief. The title of the article speaks for itself, Top 10: Subtle Ways to Tell Her She’s Getting Fat. As if we even needed one. The article is posted on the website AskMen.com which boasts 7 million readers a month. Great.

In case you don’t want to read the whole article here’s a snapshot:

…you’ve put on weight, and I find you less attractive.

loosen a few screws or remove some important slats of a chair [which] she’ll sit and subsequently break, sit back and watch the guaranteed dietary transformation that ensues.

…try giving her smaller-than-usual amounts. By making her ask for more food, you might succeed in shaming her into an acknowledgment of her recent weight gain…If you feel as though you’re starving yourself in the process, remember you can always go back for more when she’s not looking.

…playfully grab her love handles.

Shocking. If this site, which is sponsored by IGN.com (the company that also backs the popular Rotten Tomatoes website), truly gets traffic of 7 million viewers per month I am concerned about the message they are conveying to those millions of men and women through this article.  As if women do not already struggle with open direct communication with their partners surrounding their body image, feeling fat, or guilty about weight gain.

Although this article positions men who actually use this advice in a bad light; what about the men who are just as shocked about this article but still feel totally silenced when it comes to talking to their partners about body image and health?

The issue of having honest direct communication in our relationships is not just a women’s issue or a men’s issue. It is an issue for all of us. We should all feel comfortable expressing to one another our fears, insecurities, anxieties, or concerns with our body image and our partners body image. Ask yourself, “Do I truly feel comfortable to talk seriously to my partner about my fears of fat?” We usually turn it into a playful game but behind the teasing are real sensitivities that are not being addressed.

We all wonder what our partners find attractive and what they desire. But do we truly want to hear the answer? I was talking with a male coworker who expressed concern because he feels silenced when it comes to talking honestly about anything concerning his wife’s weight or looks. As they were walking down the street she asked him if another woman looked attractive. He said yes. She got angry. This is a classic schema that plays out all the time between two people in relationships.

What anxieties are created in this situation for my coworker and his wife? Does she walk away from the interaction comparing her physical body to the other woman’s? Of course she does on some level. Instead of assuming we know the beauty ideal for our partner why not just ask them and allow them to share with us. Truly listen to what they have to say and try not to be be reactive if they say something that we don’t like or feel comfortable with. Just listen and let the words pass through us. By engaging our partner like this it might open the conversation so that they can then share with you the things that are unique to your body that they love.

Just image what it would be like to mutually express your concerns about your body and weight. Along with mutual disclosure comes a deeper sense of trust, encouragement, and appreciation for your partner. You might find out they love the part of your body you hate the most. The softness of your ass, the muscles in your back, your freckles, the curves of your hips, dimples, your nose, curly hair, or your smile wrinkles.

Bookmark and Share

Read Full Post »

The linked video Sex, Lies and Photoshop is from the NYTimes website.  It’s an awesome follow up to last week’s post.

http://video.nytimes.com/video/2009/03/09/opinion/1194838469575/sex-lies-and-photoshop.html

How many perfected images do we see in one day?

You don’t just have to read magazines to see perfected images. They’re everywhere. Images are on billboards, T.V, movies, newspapers, and the internet. The bigger the city the more submersed you are in images. Think you’re untouched by images? Just think…

The U.S. Census Bureau projected in the 2007 Statistical Abstract that adults and teens would spend nearly five months (3,518 hours) during 2008 watching television, using the internet, reading newspapers, and listening to personal music devices. Other estimates state that the average American watches four hours of T.V. a day which is still two months per year.  2-5 months?! These stats are not even including reading magazines, watching movies, or simply walking down a busy street with all the billboards.

We live in a world saturated with images of beauty. I always believed I was not affected by images but now I am curious just how powerful are these images? The NYTimes video was sent to me by my lovely friend Denise who is a professional photographer. I felt it was a shockingly great follow up to my last post. The best quote was from Ken Harris the professional photo re-toucher,

Every picture has been worked on some 30-50 rounds…they are perfected to death. Just look at the magazines, all that is there is to alter your mind, alter your perception of what physical beauty is and what the possibility is and means of attaining it are.

..and these words are from the mouth that feeds us, the professionals behind all the colorful glossy beauties that stare at you everywhere you go. Makes me wonder.

Bookmark and Share

Read Full Post »

What is sexy? Personally, I love a passion for life,  a good sense of humor, adventurous, absurdly smart,  compassionate, creative, and confident. However, finding all that out takes time.  Most of our interactions with others and how we present ourselves to others throughout the day are just millisecond glances. So what’s happening when I pass someone on the street and turn around to take another glance?

It’s the second glance that makes me ask, “What does sexy look like stripped of personal characteristics?”

I thought we all had different ideas of what sexy is. Or do we? Recently, I have been curious at how much, if at all, magazine ads influence what I believe to be the beauty ideal for women and men. I have always believed I was not affected by these images. However, as I watch them objectively I cannot help but wonder how they could not be influencing my ideals of beauty for women and men… and how they are influencing the way I evaluate my own beauty.

The videos below have ads that show up in W,Vogue, Vanity Fair, V, Elle, In Style, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Esquire, Maxim, GQ or any other glossy print you find yourself thumbing through…yes even sports and travel magazines. Before watching the videos, set aside the idea that you’re unaffected by magazine ads. Try to watch objectively and think of how the ads have potential to influence everyone’s ideals including your own…

Oh, to be beautiful! Curves…but in all the right places. Soft smooth skin, long legs, tight-defined thighs, small ankles, defined arms (but not too muscular), a firm stomach with a crease down the center, athletic (but not too much,) big eyes,  small nose,  high-cheek bones, full breasts, silky hair, a smile full of straight white teeth.

Unfortunately, the video below had an awesome soundtrack of  I am Too Sexy by Right Said Fred that was disabled.

Handsome men are…chiseled. The angles of the lower abdominal and hip region, a square jaw, high cheek bones, athletic, not too hairy, tall, a strong defined back, muscular arms, a wide-squared chest, big hands, a full head of hair, abs you could wash your clothes on, and straight white teeth with a fabulous smile.

Did you notice a reaction to the videos? How do you think magazine ads might be contributing to our beauty ideals of women, men, and within ourselves?

I couldn’t help myself. Here’s Right Said Fred the You Tube dub dance version.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: