The Impossible Standards of a Smile

Helmut Gevert | FreeImages.com

By Sarah Landrum When you look in the mirror, you probably smile. Why? When we smile, we believe we look the most beautiful. However, the smile has been widely criticized for thousands of years. A natural smile, one that has not been altered from its original state, doesn't seem to fit beauty standards. Is that fair? Isn't … [Read more...]

29 Lessons I’ve Learned About My Body in 29 Years

Angélica Portales

By Jessica Roberts, Intern 2015 Oh, hello there, 29th birthday. Here come the wrinkles. Is that a gray hair? Are parts getting ... droopier? As a woman, I think I'm supposed to feel some kind of fear or anxiety about the approaching third decade of my life: the signs of aging, the mortgage, the sense that I'm supposed to … [Read more...]

4 Lies Western Philosophy Teaches Us About Our Bodies

Kate Walford

By Kate Walford, Intern 2015 What is a good body? How do you know? The simple answer to "why are some bodies considered perfect and others not?" would be "social construct!" This is what I was told as a teenager and during eating disorder recovery. "Oh, society will tell you to be skinny. But don't listen to them, it … [Read more...]

“I Tried to Have Sex with a Porcupine”: Dodging the Stigma of Self-harm

RubyEtc | Oh Be Shh Now

By Rosanna Brunwin, Intern 2015 TW: This piece candidly discusses self-harm, which may be triggering for some readers. Despite statistically affecting one in four of us, mental health is shrouded in stigma and often goes undiscussed. Unless your mental health problems manifest in self-harm — then suddenly it's everybody's … [Read more...]

How I Learned to Love My Pale Skin

Anna Kovalieva | FreeImages.com

By Giorgia Guazzarotti As I'm sitting here, I'm assaulted by doubts. Wracked with guilt. Tempted to hit "cancel" and delete this whole thing. It feels wrong to complain about the color of my skin. My white skin. I'm Caucasian. A member of that privileged caste that will never know racism. I don't have to worry that a … [Read more...]

All Weight Loss Doesn’t Deserve Applause

People Magazine

By Janaya Greene, Intern 2015 Dance Moms head dance instructor Abby Lee Miller has stunned the world with her recent weight loss. While choreographing her Lifetime show, she never let her size determine how intricate her routines were or how well she would teach them to her dance students. So when Miller told People magazine … [Read more...]

Why the #DontJudgeMe and #BeautyInAll Movements Represent Female Empowerment

Adios Barbie

By Nicki Karimipour Every morning, I wake up with a great sense of hope for humanity — but 10 minutes spent scanning Twitter usually cures me of it. Until this week, when I came across a hashtag that made me pause. Twitter users were tagging their tweets #BeautyInAll and posting makeup-less selfies in order to showcase the … [Read more...]

Speak Up: Recalibrating the Relationship Between Body Image and Assertiveness

FreeImages.com | Anissa Thompson

Editor's note: Studies have shown that around age 10 girls begin to decrease their assertiveness in the classroom. It's important to note that this behavior does not occur in a vacuum. A lack of role models, gender bias exhibited by adults, media messages and the hypersexualization and pinkification of girlhood greatly impact a … [Read more...]

Transforming Negative Body Image Into Body Acceptance

StooMathiesen

By Camille Malecha, MA, LPC We have been conditioned to blame our bodies for any limitations or struggles we experience. We hear phrases such as "If only I were thinner, prettier, taller ..." and may believe that our bodies are what need to be fixed. What if, rather than trying to change our bodies, we try to change how … [Read more...]

The Empowerment Project: Meditations on Fear

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By Vanessa Leigh for SweetLeigh, cross-posted with permission People everywhere are constantly telling us to love ourselves. Especially now that body positivity is a "trending" topic. I really dislike the word and concept behind the word "trend"... It often feels hard and challenging to love ourselves, and I've written a little … [Read more...]