Bridget Jones Made Me Do It! Does Chick Lit Negatively Influence Women’s Body Image?

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By Sayantani DasGupta I read a fascinating piece in The Guardian UK recently, with an even more fascinating headline: "Chick lit ‘harms body image’, study finds." At first glance, this seems highly plausible. Just the name ‘chick lit’ implies something at least intellectually (if not psychologically) unsavory. We are women, not … [Read more...]

Girls like Boogers, Boys like Romance: Let’s Get Beyond Gender in Children’s Books Already, People!

"Lunch Walks Among Us" the first in the Mad Scientist series by Franny K. Stein

By Sayantani DasGupta Back in September 2010, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) sent cyberspace into a tizzy with the article How to Raise Boys who Read. Hint: It's not with gross-out books and video game bribes. I don't think the article is really that controversial. The writer, Thomas Spence, rants a little about Captain … [Read more...]

How Yoga Changed My Mind (And My Relationship to My Body)

Photo Credit: Sarit Rogers

By Melanie Klein For the women in my family, the body was a source of anxiety, shame, a measure of discipline and worth – something to fret over, scrutinize, and punish for bad behavior. Food invoked anxiety and fear. Calories were meticulously tracked and exercised away as quickly as possible. The women openly complained … [Read more...]

Minnie Mouse Doesn’t Need a Model Makeover

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By Ragen Chastain When the high-end department store Barney’s decided to collaborate with Disney for its holiday window, Barney’s creative director, David Freedman insisted that, “the important thing to me was always that it had to be authentic. It really had to hit the nail on the head in every detail.” When it came to the … [Read more...]

“You Look So Different on Facebook…”

Facebook and Photoshopping

By Sheena Vasani, Intern (2011) Editors note: This blog post was originally posted Nov 1, 2011. We are sharing it again for our visitors to consider how airbrushed photos (whether your own, or those in magazines) impact your well-being and sense of self. What makes your physical beauty exceptional? Ironed out pimples, wrinkles, … [Read more...]

The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things: Body Acceptance in YA Literature

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By Sayantani DasGupta Despite movements toward Health at Every Size (HAES), the truth of the matter is, size shaming is alive and well in this country. From the “Strong4Life” Georgia childhood obesity campaign to New York City’s “Cut your Portions, Cut your Risk” campaign scare tactics and body shame are part and parcel of the … [Read more...]

Why Shawn Johnson’s Weight Loss is Not Heroic

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By Ashley-Michelle Papon Three years ago, America fell in love with the plucky Shawn Johnson. Just 16, she captured plenty of hearts—and headlines—with three silver medals during the 2008 Olympics. The talented gymnast also took home a gold medal, a highlight for many during a competition riddled with controversy and accusations … [Read more...]

The LEGO Disconnect on Gender

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By Crystal Smith As most readers may know, there has been a huge uproar over LEGO’s newest product line, LEGO Friends. (Google it. You can’t miss it.) Regular readers [at The Achilles Effect] might also know that LEGO has been one of my favorite targets for a while now. Like the people protesting the LEGO Friends line, I have … [Read more...]

When Did My Tampon Become a Fortune Cookie?

Fortune Cookie Tampons

By Sayantani DasGupta Apparently, when I wasn’t looking, some corporate geniuses decided that tampons should come packaged with perky self-help style advice. I can see the business meeting now: “Hey, I know what a menstruating girl or woman might need at ‘that time of the month’ alongside product absorbency! How about some … [Read more...]

Novel as Mirror: Teen Literature and Body Image

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By Sayantani DasGupta The first young adult (YA) novel I ever read that had to do with body image was Judy Blume’s Deenie (1973). In it, 13-year-old Wilmadeen “Deenie” is the “pretty one” of the family, the one whose mother dreams will be a model someday. When Deenie is diagnosed with scoliosis and required to wear a back brace, … [Read more...]