22 April 2010

Final Post

This is the last post I'll do on this blog, because my completed product is due today. I hope for all the work I did that it helped someone or will one day help someone - I don't plan on taking this down, so it will probably be up forever.

I'm really happy with the way this turned out. I hope I helped someone! Maybe one day the issue of body image will be considered more important, and I can feel like I helped get information out there.

Thanks for reading! :)

My Story

My story, my reason for creating this blog and choosing this for my senior project:

In the seventh and eighth grade, I was viewed as the smart kid of my class in middle school. I felt pressure from all angels to perform perfectly in all areas - school, art, music. And at this age, all girls start looking around and comparing themselves to those around and wondering where the differences were. I wanted to look like the skinny girls in my class, who hadn't develeoped as fast as I had. So at 5'2, I was about 130 pounds in the seventh grade, a little heavy for my small build. By March of eighth grade, I was barely a hundred pounds. The week of Westest standardized testing I was hospitalized for EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified). I had lost enough weight to be considered a danger to myself, but hadn't yet went below the 15% under ideal body weight required for an anorexia diagnosis.

These two pictures are me somewhere around 95 or 100 pounds.

I don't remember much about how I got there, but I remember cutting out images from Seventeen, Cosmogirl, ElleGirl and Teen Vogue magazines and making a collage I called my Ana book after I found out about the pro-anorexia movement. I was never into pro-ana, because I was sort of proud of the disorder, and called it a disorder, and didn't appreciate it being called a "lifestyle" by dumb girls on the internet. I wrote down CW GW1 GW 2 UGW on everything: current weight, goal weights one and two, and ultimate goal weight: mine was 85 pounds, because Mary-Kate Olsen was that weight when she admitted to being an anorexic.

Anyway, the day I went into the hospital I was 96 pounds, pale white, and they didn't have scrubs to fit me. I stayed there for a week, forced to eat alone. I was the only one there for an eating disorder, the others were all there for drug addictions. I don't think the hospital helped me so much as the follow up psychologist sessions did. I went to therapy every two weeks until sophomore year of high school, when I exited at about 130 pounds again.

This is me right after I got out of the hopsital in March or April. Notice how pale. (I'm not putting my face on this.)

It's always hit me hard how the images in magazines triggered my own feelings so much. It's hard to see a picture and be instantly hit with feelings of not being at all good enough, feelings strong enough to put an otherwise healthy 13 year old girl into psychological treatment. I'm not saying that the media CAUSED my eating disorder, but it certainly plauged me the entire time, and still today I struggle with body image.

But, that's the reason I chose this topic: to help fight against something that hurt me personally, and hurts millions to this day.

21 April 2010


I didn't get to do the survey, I was busy catching up in my classes where I've been working on this thing. But I did ask a few of my friends to fill it out and talk to me about it, and the results were just what I figured they'd be.

One of my friends told me that ahw never watched tv anymore because her mom kept the channel on E! which constantly harps on about celebrities, and it was harmful to see how "beautiful" they all looked. She said that it was mostly seeing their muscular arms in strapless dressses that made her feel bad, especially since hers looked "less than perfect" according to her, in her prom dress.

Another thing that was interesting was that most of the girls told me that seeing other girls at school hurt their self esteem more than seeing celebrities did.

One thing every single girl agreed on was that their bodies were NOT good enough. Noone has perfect self esteem.

It really is sad. I know these results aren't as specific or organized as they would be if I'd done the survey, but the outcome is the same. I gave them all the link to this blog so they could follow if they wanted to. :)

Shocking Quotes

These are a few quotes made by various fashion designers, modeling agents etc. that shock me. They exemplify the dangerous nature of the media as it concerns body image.

Karl Lagerfeld, fashion designer: "On the runways, yes, we have to see the clothing, so a girl no wider than a coat hanger is preferred..."

Kate Moss, model: "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels."

Janice Dickinson, former model and current modeling agent: "As the saying goes, I want to be the best-looking corpse there is."

Adriana Lima, supermodel: "If one day I have a daughter and my daughter wants to be a model, I would never let her!" "When I get older, I don't think I'll like to have wrinkles, or a big jelly belly. I cannot have it."

Angelina Jolie, actress: "I don't see myself as beautiful, because I can see a lot of flaws. People have really odd opinions. They tell me I'm skinny, as if that's supposed to make me happy."

20 April 2010

Mr. Media

This is a poem I wrote in 2008. It was published with a picture I drew as well :) I'm kind of wary about posting my art on the internet, though. Sorry. But here is the poem.

My name is Mr. Media
Mr. Embrace Your Feminity (but cast off your curves)
Mr. Cute is What We Aim For, but now what you deserve.
Mr. "Love Your Body" if you're forty or above.
I've told the truth for ages,
About myself, about my mission
in small print on out of date cigar boxes.
My name is Mr. Media
But you can call me Mr. Moral Decline, Mr. Too Late This Time
I'm the fly on the wall,
while you do sit-ups on cold tile floors
And the laughing that you hear when you look at the before and afters
Mr. Guess Which You Are?
I'm the screams in the eyes of Bowflex bodies
And the creases in newly empty hospital beds
I'm the Munchausen mom of a thousand starving children
And the real girls in the magazines who aren't that real at all.
My name is Mr. Media
Mr. Pristine Beauty Queen, Nonexistent Self-Esteem!
Mr. Effortless Perfection Media.
I measure your self worth in calories and fat grams
Perched precariously on drugstore scales.
My name is Mr. Media
And I live inside your televisions and supermarket aisles.
My name is Mr. Media; My name is Mr Media
and I stole your self security.
My name is Mr. Media;
My name is Mr. Media.

19 April 2010

Other Pressures

My project sort of focused on how the media affects women's image of their body size and shape, but that doesn't even begin to cover all the other pressures it puts on us. This post will cover a few of the biggest, explain how they are forced on us by the media, and what the reality is.

The first one I'll talk about is tanning. Now that it's prom season, everyone is obsessed with going to the tanning bed. We all consider pale people to look sickly, and that tanned skin looks healthier. Think about how many pale celebrities on the cover of magazines there are; none. It's weird when you think that back in the Renaissance days, royal women did everything possible to keep their skin milky white. Being tan was a sign of lowliness and poverty.

In the modern age, we know for a fact that tanning causes cancer. My own father has had 3 cancerous tumors caused by melanoma removed, because he works outside for a living. Tanning beds come with warning labels. We KNOW it's unhealthy and makes us age faster and die faster. Yet, the power of the media somehow keeps us going back.

Plastic Surgery - Do I even have to explain this one? Elective cosmetic surgery gets more popular every year, as people vie for the perfect look instead of accepting what has been given to them naturally. The field of plastic surgery developed to help those who became disfigured in accidents, etc. - not to cater to the perpetually unsatisfied. Not only is it physically unsafe - as the results are never guaranteed - but plastic surgery is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. You will one day learn to love your whole body, but you can't undo the surgery or get your thousands of dollars back.

Besides, it's always painfully obvious when people get plastic surgery.

Besides these two, think about all the other ways the media actually hurts us - high heels leading to foot and calf problems, hair straighteners, excessive dyeing and curling irons killing our hair, etc. It goes on and on. Is it really worth it, letting someone else tell us how to be beautiful when we already are?

Ten Traits of Truly Beautiful Women

This is a list I made, and reflects my opinions only. These are ten traits that I consider beautiful.

Ten Traits of a Truly Beautiful Woman

10. Not Jealous
A beautiful woman realizes how beautiful she is in and of herself, NOT compared to other women. She sees beauty as inherent and not universal and sees that all women are different and gorgeous in their own ways.

9. Resilient
She is able to bounce back from bad days, and doesn't let the ignorance of others bring her down. She is comfortable with herself and able to see that while she may be hurt, that she needs time to recover and deserves to get better.

8. Creative
In my opinion, a beautiful woman doesn't do things just because others are doing them, too. She doesn't dress or think differently for the sake of doing so, for the street cred, but because she is expressing what she honestly wants to.

7. Independent
She doesn't need a man (or anyone else) to justify her. She is ok by herself, a complete and whole person.

6. Sexy, not Slutty
Sexy in itself is confidence. It has nothing to do with appearance. A beautiful woman doesn't show off her body in negative ways just to get attention.

5. Smart
A beautiful woman does NOT dumb herself down to look more attractive.

4. Healthy
She doesn't resort to unnatural practices to get the body or image she wants, and doesn't put herself in danger in the name of beauty.

3. In Control of Herself
She doesn't let anyone tell her what's wrong with here or with the way she looks; she is confident without basing her confidence on someone else's approval.

2. Unique
Everyone has unique qualities; a beautiful woman is one who doesn't try to hide hers, whatever it may be: crooked nose, loud laugh, maybe a butt chin. Beauty is acceptance.

1. Loves Herself
A beautiful woman has confidence, is happy with herself wherever she is, and projects positive energy towards other people. She may not be happy every second of every day, but she respects herself enough to HELP herself, and not let things bring her down.