Tag Archives: Lady Gaga

Roll Models

love_handlesIt’s hard to say whether kids today have an easier time or a harder time with the whole size acceptance thing.  On the one hand, kids have access to a much more diverse community now.  When many of us who are currently adults were children, our community was pretty small.  We were influenced by television and magazines and movies of course.  But most of our role models and experience came from a much smaller group comprised of our friends, the kids at school, our church or community group, the folks in the neighborhood and our families.  Via social media, kids nowadays have access to a much wider group of people.  There are social groups focused on size acceptance on the internet.  And some of their heroes like Adele and Lady Gaga have spoken out directly about the notion that kids can love their bodies just as they are.  Thus many kids are exposed at a much earlier age to the concept of size acceptance.

On the other hand, that social media is a double-edged sword.  Kids are constantly communicating and critiquing one another.  Mistakes can be immortalized via words, photos and videos and be part of an child’s online presence for life.  If a group of kids should decide to pick on another kid, they can do so relentlessly, 24 hours per day and 7 days per week.  They can find and follow their target even if they choose to move away.  Sometimes this cyber bullying can have disastrous consequences.

And there’s also the question of kids being sexualized at a much younger age.  Kids as young as 3 are paraded around in beauty contests.  Companies sell padded bikini tops to preteens.  Child actors and particularly singers are presented as sex objects well before the age of consent.  Kids are under more pressure than ever to conform to an extremely thin, sexually desirable, designer clad, hot number at younger and younger ages.  And yes, obesity and childhood type 2 diabetes have gone up in the past 20 years (although there is ample evidence that this is now leveling off or even decreasing).  But we also have a situation where hospitalizations for eating disorders for kids under the age of 12 is up 119%.  That’s kids UNDER 12 here folks.

So what are we to do?  How can we help?  Well one thing we can do is all go sign the petition created by Ragen Chastain and I to keep kids off the next season of The Biggest Loser.  The last thing kids need is to see other kids like themselves battered, bullied and abused on national television just because of the size of their bodies.  If you haven’t signed the petition, hop on over there and do it.  I’ll wait…

But the other thing I think we grownups can do, especially when we are grownups of size is to be good roll models for our kids.  Sure we can also be good role models.  We can choose not to disparage other people for their size and we can speak out when we see it happening.  But I’m also talking about rolls of flesh–our bumps, and love handles and folds of skin.  We can wear those body “imperfections” with pride.  We can wear tank tops.  We can choose not to speak negatively about our bodies, especially in front of kids.  By walking around, comfortable in our own skin, we send kids the message that bodies are wonderful and beautiful and diverse–and that there are lots and lots of other things we can choose to be neurotic about other than how we look in our skinny jeans.  I’m not talking about lecturing to kids.  We all know how well that goes.  I’m talking about simply modeling a level of casual comfort over the whole body thing.  Because so often while kids are busy not doing what we tell them, they are watching intently to see what we do.

So what about you?  Are there ways that you can be a roll model for today’s youth?  I’d love to hear what YOU think!

 

Love,

The Fat Chick

The Fat Chick on TV: Talking About Body Snarking

Hello my friends!  I am excited to share with you this interview from CBS news in LA about “body snarking”.  This is a relatively new term that refers to feeling the need to comment on the bodies of other people, usually in a nasty, negative or sarcastic way.  Seems  like this has really come to the forefront after Lady Gaga started speaking out about her weight.  Don’t be stressed out by the sad stuff in the beginning of the story.  I think it ends in my happy place!  And I’m pleased to be included in story about body snarking that suggests learning to deal with the “snarkers” rather than suggesting that the “snarkees” simply need to lose weight.  It’s surprising now to have two major news outlets here in LA, the home of the plastic people, do relatively positive stories on body acceptance.  Along with the other major worldwide coverage we’ve been seeing, I’m hopeful that the tide is turning.

What do you think?  Is it getting harder or easier to talk about size acceptance and HAES these days?  I’d love to hear from you!

Love,

The Fat Chick

Lady Gaga’s Response to Body Comments

Yesterday’s post was all about how bodies don’t come with a comment button, and that we are under no obligation to make our bodies look the way other people want them to look.   As you might guess, if ordinary people feel pressure to comply with societal standards about visual appearance, celebrities also feel a great deal of pressure.  That’s why I was somewhat excited to read about Lady Gaga’s response to the recent uproar about her “getting fat”.

Recently some photos and nasty articles were released that showed Lady Gaga looking a lot heavier than before.  There is a lot of discussion about the apparent distortion of these pictures, making Gaga appear shorter and heavier, being caused either by squishing them in Photoshop or because of the flattening effect of certain camera lenses.  In other photos and videos from these exact same appearances, Gaga looks notably thinner.  However, Gaga readily admits that she has gained about 25 pounds.  She says that she is “dieting now” and that she has gained weight because “she loves to eat” her Dad’s amazing Italian cooking.  But before you start wondering why I’m talking about her on my blog let me share with you that she also states, “I really don’t feel bad about it, not even for a second.”

Yesterday, Gaga shared on her site, LittleMonsters.com that has been dealing with anorexia and bulimia since she was 15.  She also included some photos of herself (with her eyes closed) wearing just a bra and panties.  And she launched a new subsection of her site called the BODY REVOLUTION.  Some copy on the new section reads:

My mother and I created the BORN THIS WAY FOUNDATION for one reason: “to inspire bravery.” This profile is an extension of that dream. Be brave and celebrate with us your “perceived flaws,” as society tells us. May we make our flaws famous, and thus redefine the heinous.

She also popped up this past weekend in Paris wearing this dress.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I can’t hold Lady Gaga up as an unflinching paragon of size acceptance.   Not that long ago she was criticized for her “pop stars don’t eat” twitter post.  One might wonder whether the photos in her undies are as much about proving her relative thinness as they are about revealing her soul.  But I do think she’s trying to shine a lens on the ugliness of body snarking and the intense pressure girls and women face to be thin.  And I think in revealing her lifelong struggles with anorexia and bulimia, she is admitting that she doesn’t claim to have all this body stuff figured out.  It’s a process.  It’s a challenge.

But I am excited that at least part of what has come of all of this is one of the pop icons of our times inviting fans to embrace themselves as they are on her site stating:

Hey Guys its Gaga… Now that the body revolution has begun, be brave and post a photo of you that celebrates your triumph over insecurities.

Time will tell whether this movement towards body acceptance will stick with Gaga or drop along with her 25 pounds.  She may stay on this path.  She may be hawking weight loss products in six months.  I don’t know.  But it’s hard not to see that all celebrity bodies seem to come complete with a comment button.

So my little Chicklettes, can we take some good from this?  Sure!  First, let’s note that some of the “sexiest” and “most popular” women in the world struggle with body image.  And while I wouldn’t begin to compare your struggles with the struggles of anyone else, it’s good to know that we all have those struggles in one way or another.  Next, let’s take a minute to celebrate your triumphs large and small over body insecurity.  And finally, I’d love for you to remember that wherever you are on your journey to body acceptance, we are all works in progress.  Nobody is perfect at loving himself or herself.  But with gentleness and kindness we are on our way!

Love,

The Fat Chick