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Archive for September 29, 2014

All the Right Junk in All the Right Places?

Contributed by volunteer blog writer Caitlyn Rosellini

We'd amend that to say "people". We know folks of *all* gender identities struggle with body and self image.

We’d amend that to say “people”. We know folks of *all* gender identities struggle with body and self image.

I live with eight girls. Yes, that makes nine all in one house.  Usually this fact is greeted with wide eyes and a chorus of “good luck” as our peers at Gonzaga University silently thank God they found a house with less rooms than ours. I absolutely love living with my eight best friends. And while I spent a good amount of my summer wondering what the catch was, what the fatal downfall of all my favorite people in one place, I have come to realize this is going to be the best year yet. You can be sure that for a house full of nine girls we have our “who left their dish in the sink” and “whose bra is laying on the counter” moments. One of my absolute favorite aspects of this living situation is the dance parties.

No joke.

We dance like crazy to just about everything. Pop, Lock and Drop It, Taylor Swift, I Want Candy…you name it, we can do it. Lately we have been shuffling our Spotify and Pandora stations, and some of the reoccurring songs on both stations got us all thinking. Meghan Trainor and Nicki Minaj have recently come out with two songs, apparently preaching to the women ostracized by the skinny ideals we are constantly bombarded with. All About that Bass by Trainor and Anaconda by Minaj aim to critique the ideal that women must be a size two to be considered sexy, or worthy. This is great! My housemates and I bounced around and twirled our hair and embraced our curves and BAM! Body acceptance.

These songs may aim at a positive message, but they end up creating even more issues within the struggle of women and their bodies. The solution to fat shaming is not, and will never be, skinny shaming. Ladies, the shame has got to stop! If we could commit to some solidarity we could get a lot farther than what we currently have going on. Body size, shape, and weight do not inherently make another woman an enemy; this is a learned behavior that we have, in some way, picked up through example, media, and society at large.

Yeah, its pretty clear, I ain’t no size two

But I can shake it, shake it

Like I’m supposed to do

‘Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase

And all the right junk in all the right places

The problem with Trainors song is the new standard set for women; okay, so we don’t need to be stick thin, but we do need to be thin, with a large booty and big boobs? That certainly doesn’t sound like a way to embrace your body.  At first glance this song looks like an anthem for those of us who don’t feel as though we fit into the mold society has offered as the ideal, but after thoughtful examination it is just another way to put “the other” down. Similarly, Anaconda offers an identical message in a largely more explicit, sexualized way. Using profanity to shame women who are thin makes me shudder. So, the question is, why does this happen? Why are women constantly pulling the rope back and forth in the “best body” game of tug of war?

He keep telling me its real, that he love my sex appeal

Because he don’t like ‘em boney, he want something he can grab

So I pulled up in the Jag, and I hit ‘em with the jab.

Realistically, we need to stop searching for the right body type, because among billions of women in this world there isn’t going to be one. These two songs perpetuate the idea that we are only our bodies. But if we can get enough distance from that message couldn’t we all agree that our bodies are one small aspect of who we all are?

Apologies, Trainor, but you aren’t “all the right junk in all the right places” or the “booty that boys like to hold at night.” And Minaj, you aren’t “ a fat a** in the club.” You are your laugh, and your smile; you are your hard work and achievements; your abilities and your perseverance. You are your mind, and the limitless power it obtains.

What are you? Because you sure as hell aren’t a body type, or a weight, or an objectified body part.

 

 

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Get Out the Vote!

VOTE November 4

September 23rd is National Voter Registration Day! You can find events going on in your area here. We at The Emily Program Foundation are pleased to be working with volunteers to reach out to folks currently getting treatment for an eating disorder by helping them register to vote.  It is important that registration and participation are accessible to all, so that everyone’s voice can be heard. We know that people in treatment can face unique challenges to access their right to vote and we’re here as a resource to help overcome those barriers!

  • You may not know whether or not you will be in a residential facility on Election Day. That’s okay! In Minnesota, you can vote absentee if you are unsure you’ll be able to get to the polls for any reason. You can even request a ballot online, and you don’t have to disclose that you are in treatment. In case you end up staying in a residential treatment facility on Election Day, and you weren’t able to plan ahead, you can still vote! Staff can assist you at the polling place nearest the facility. More information to help staff do this can be found here.

 

  • You may not know that it is important for you to vote. It is! Elected officials impact our daily lives and represent our communities.  Therefore, it is important that we, as a people, nominate individuals that have sound, positive, productive agendas on the issues that matter to us and our communities.  Elected officials also pay attention to what groups of people turn out at the polls and will be more sensitive to issues that affect them. We want to show that folks in the mental health, and specifically eating disorder, community VOTE! Our voices are important. 

For anyone in our community, whether or not they are struggling, voting is important. Check out mnvotes.org– a great one stop shop for any of your voting related questions. You can register to vote, request an absentee ballot, find your polling place, or view a sample ballot.

Together we can make a difference!

 

 

 

To: You, From: Me

This week’s Love Your Body comes to us from a Hamline student. If you are interested in contributing to our blog, please email Julia at julia.birdsall@emilyprogramfoundation.org

wonderful things branded

 

Move,

Breathe,

Flip,

Bleed.

Our bodies

They do

Great

Things.

Love

Appreciate

Give

Love

Care for yourself

Love

yourself

Love

you

Love

Love

Love

The Real

You.

Your body

does wonderful things.

So

LOVE and

Cherish

You

 

 

Beauty Isn’t A Bodily Concept

This week’s post comes from volunteer Caitlyn Rosellini

bossypants

Many of us fierce ED fighters are enjoying the end to our coveted summer break. Hopefully during this time each of you has slept in longer, enjoyed the sunshine, gotten into that not-so-scary swimsuit, and taken some time for summer self care. One of my absolute favorite aspects of summer is that I can read unapologetically; no assignments lurking or papers begging to be written as I subscribe wholeheartedly to procrastination via literature. This summer reading has been an all inclusive experience for me ranging from beloved books read in my early teens to some light hearted Ellen Degeneres. While I am hard pressed to identify one as my favorite, one book in particular stuck with me and truly sparked inquisition. Bossypants by Tina Fey left me with aching sides I laughed so hard, arguably more so than I ever laughed during SNL. The quote that I will reference from BP is one that I am sure you have seen, or potentially heard others say. I have seen it as Facebook statuses, Tumblr reblogs, and shortened twitter hashtags.

But I think the first real change in women’s body image came when JLo turned it butt-style. That was the first time that having a large-scale situation in the back was part of mainstream American beauty. Girls wanted butts now. Men were free to admit that they had always enjoyed them. And then, what felt like moments later, boom—Beyoncé brought the leg meat. A back porch and thick muscular legs were now widely admired. And from that day forward, women embraced their diversity and realized that all shapes and sizes are beautiful. Ah ha ha. No. I’m totally messing with you. All Beyonce and JLo have done is add to the laundry list of attributes women must have to qualify as beautiful. Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.

Addressing body image through her book was a definite risk; however, she approaches this task with humor and understanding and ultimately allows for people to relate to the fact that this image is holistically impossible. Beauty is not something we must meet markers for; it is not something that begs to be earned or achieved. The very fact that beauty has become a commercialized concept proves heinous; it is a crime to think that you must meet a standard to be considered beautiful. This skewed idea of what makes a person beautiful is precisely what has lead so many of our peers down this path of a deep distrust of ourselves and our bodies. Encouraging the general population to cut a food group out, begin a strict diet, or work out for ___ more minutes is what this “ideal body image” communicates to us. This is exactly what needs to be abolished; the culture that beauty is type.

When I was going through treatment at The Emily Program we had Body Image Monday’s which earned a symphony of “ughhs” when mentioned. I share this because during one Monday in particular someone brought up the beauty of ones mind: “I am much more interested in the beauty of my brain and my heart than that of my physical self.” It would do the world a lot of good to come to this resolve; we don’t need to work for a six pack or skinny legs or a tiny waste to achieve anything but an ED. We are granted limitless minds, strong, capable bodies to carry us, and bright, unfathomable futures. This is exactly why beauty isn’t a bodily concept.

Busying yourself trying to achieve what Tina Fey describes as the “Laundry List” of attributes we must attain only leads you further from understanding and owning your own beauty. Easier said than done, as most feats are when dealing with any type of recovery. This has not been an easy concept for me to fully grasp, either. But by writing it out and thinking about the beauty I possess that cannot be evaluated in the mirror makes me feel one step closer to coming to terms with this.

My challenge for you is to think about the beauty each of you provide to the world in ways that aren’t physical. What have you said, learned, written, or lead that showcases you beauty? What do you find beautiful about your mind? What challenges are there to believing in a beauty that is disconnected from appearance? Addressing these questions and really diving into that space will make this seemingly intangible aspect of beauty come more into a tangible focus.

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Body Appreciation

This week’s Love Your Body comes to us from a Hamline student

start every day branded

I appreciate the way my body moves, the way my body curves, the way it feels to run, to walk, to speak, to be.

I appreciate the way my body breathes, the heavy sighs, the gasps, excitement escaping my lips or my mouth easing into a comfortable sigh.

I appreciate the way my hands move, to love and to hold, to build and to break, to be or to not.

I appreciate the way my eyes look, the expressions of delight, of sadness, of joy, of fear.

I appreciate the way my hair flows, from behind my ears to down the middle of my back I am grateful.

I appreciate the way my heart beats, with love or adrenaline or excitement it beats slightly faster than normal, it makes me happy.

I appreciate the way I am. My perfection. My imperfection. Myself. My.

 

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