Archive for March 31, 2016

All Bodies are Beautiful

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Triple Tree

What to expect when (celebrities are) expecting: Media coverage of pregnant and postpartum bodies

By Angie Michel

Twenty-five years ago, a nude and seven-months-pregnant Demi Moore graced the cover of Vanity Fair  and turned public attention to the expectant celebrity body. Then considered a private and largely obscure female form, the pregnant figure is now under constant surveillance, subject to widespread comment and concern. Media coverage of these moms-to-be demands special critique, as women are particularly vulnerable to disordered eating during their childbearing years.People Baby Body HeadlinesAny given newsstand displays our current cultural obsession with pregnant and postpartum bodies. Take last week’s People, for example, which published a bundle of stories about expectant and new mothers’ weight. The leading magazine featured model Bar Refaeli’s “tiny baby bump, complete with defined abs and some major cleavage,”  TV personality Kim Kardashian West’s post-baby weight loss “inspiration,”  and actress Hayden Panettiere’s ability to “get her body back”  following the birth of her new daughter.

While the media’s weight-based commentary may spawn sales and readership, it also emphasizes the importance of a mother’s external appearance at the expense of her and her baby’s internal health. It tells women—many of whom may already struggle with body image, disordered eating, or eating disorders—that any “baby weight” must be lost. Quickly.

Despite what magazine headlines suggest, healthy bodies change. Ours will look, feel, and function differently throughout the span of our lives. Rather than worry about the size of baby bumps and post-birth bellies, let’s appreciate our bodies for what they can do. Whether or not it ever carries a child, your body provides a home—your home. It gives you the space to move, to think, to learn, to feel, and to connect. In it you experience the world, and it deserves to be treated unconditionally well.

Nancy Collins, “More Demi Moore,” Vanity Fair, August 1991.

Jillian Ruffo, “Bar Refaeli’s Baby Bump Still Has Abs at 5 Months!
See Her Growing Belly,” People, March 25, 2016.

Julie Mazziotta, “Kim Kardashian West Posts Throwback Video to Her
Post-North Body: ‘It's Still Motivating to Me,’” People,March 24,

Gabrielle Olya, “How Hayden Panettiere Got Her Pre-Baby Body Back!”
People, March 24, 2016. 

Batman’s Body Image

Year:            1940                                            2000


In honor of the Batman v. Superman movie release tomorrow, we wanted to acknowledge that not even superheros are immune from body image distortions and unrealistic expectations.
La La La La Love Your Body BATMAN!!


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Mental Health Day on the Hill

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Come advocate with us to increase the awareness of eating disorders in the mental health community and support mental health policy change.


For more information visit: or

Contact Kiki Schmit if you are interested in joining The Emily Program Foundation at the Mental Health Day on the Hill.

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“The Axe Effect”

*Submitted by an Inver Hills Community College student as part of a media analysis curriculum

The Axe Effect shows a man spraying Axe body spray, making him into a slimmer version of himself. Is Axe implying that using its product can make men more attractive and thin? The axe body spray is melting away the man’s body to expose a muscular chest, arms, and six-pack.

The model, a male with an “above average” body type, is used to entice consumers into buying the product. This guy is pretty “masculine”- he has a clean shaved face, toned muscles, dark hair, and his skin looks like it is glowing. This ad not only causes negative body image for guys, but for anyone else looking at the picture as well. Axe is showing that the man is not good enough the way he naturally looks, but using the Axe body spray will fix that.

Men also have body image and beauty standards in our culture.  The ideal look is young, sexy, and physically fit.  A seemingly quick fix to attain this look is using Axe body spray.

Jean Kilbourne is a powerful activist in analyzing advertisements, and she has given countless speeches on the subject. Although she typically focuses on the female “sex object,” she has mentioned how men have recently been turned into objects as well. Jean Kilbourne explains in Two Ways A Woman Can Get Hurt: Advertising and Violence:

Not surprisingly men’s bodies are the latest territory to be exploited. Although we are growing more used to it, in the beginning the male sex object came as a surprise.  Men are being objectified just as women in the media. Anyone looking at an ad in a magazine, bus, or television commercial can see how we are ‘supposed to look’ by the repeated images of similar body types and beauty standards. Even though it has become more well-known that the models have been altered or Photoshopped, the constant reinforcement makes it hard to remember.

Colombo, Gary, Robert Cullen, and Bonnie Lisle, eds. Rereading 
America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing. 9th 
ed. Boston: Bedford of St. Martin's, 2013. 420. Print.



This Media Monday post brought to you by:

Dirk Miller & Jennifer Cramer Miller