Skinny, Curvy, and Still Not Fitting the Mold


By Chelsey Anderson Whether you're a seasoned body image activist or an average consumer of Western media, no doubt you've noticed the battle between the “curvy” and skinny body ideal. After decades of being bombarded with images of extremely thin models and starving ourselves to fit the waif-mold many women and … [Read more...]

“Push Girls”: Exploiting Disabilities or Promoting Inclusion?

© Sundance Channel

By Valerie Martin The Pitch: Another reality show about attractive women in Los Angeles hardly sounds like something we need…right? That’s what Sundance Channel executive Sarah Burnett thought during the first few moments of the pitch tape of Push Girls that producer Gay Rosenthal brought to her. But then the camera zoomed … [Read more...]

PETA’s Porn Charade: to Return to Tried-and-True Misogyny & Sizeism?


By Ashley-Michelle Papon Almost a year after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) disclosed their intention to defend our beastly bedfellows by showcasing the virtual bedroom habits of our kind, the activism-after-dark site has finally gone live. Well, they DID go live for a little while. After a brief time … [Read more...]

Olympic Women Succeed, but is it Really Fair Play?

From Google "volleyball" images.

By Emma Shakarshy This Sunday the Olympic flame will be extinguished, marking the end of the 2012 summer Olympic Games in London. In addition to honoring and celebrating the achievements of all the Olympic athletes, the Closing Ceremony unites the world's athletes who will march together as 'one nation'. It's been a rousing few … [Read more...]

Downcast, Decapitated and Dead: Why Don’t Women on Book Covers and in Ads Stare Back?

Marie Claire 2007

By Sayantani DasGupta In 2007, I was flipping through the latest issue of Marie Claire magazine, when I stumbled upon a striking image. It was this full color photo of several brown-skinned, pregnant women in vibrant colored saris, and it accompanied an article on what’s been sensationally called the “wombs for rent” industry: … [Read more...]

Why Are We Still Whitewashing?


By Sayantani DasGupta Images matter. They matter a lot. Images on magazine and book covers not only reflect what we, as a society, think is beautiful, but they seep into our individual and collective consciousness – urging us to emulate those thinner, younger, taller, richer and yes, whiter images. Race is a critical part of … [Read more...]

Got Milk? Angry Moms Protest Facebook’s Discrimination Against Breastfeeding

The author, Ashley-Michelle Papon, participates in the protest at Facebook's head office. Photo by Paala Anderson Secor

By Ashley-Michelle Papon On Monday, Feb. 6, five dozen women flooded Facebook's Menlo Park offices in California, challenging the social networking giant's habit of removing photos depicting breastfeeding. In addition to waving banners informing the crowd that “Breastfeeding is NOT obscene,” and exchanging peer support, mothers … [Read more...]

The LEGO Disconnect on Gender


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...]

Remembering Ruby

ruby body shop

By Sharon Haywood, Co-Editor Fifty-something-old Barbie[1] might be middle-aged but she sure doesn’t show it. When she was in her 30s, her manufacturer Mattel sent her for plastic surgery, not to maintain her youthful appearance, but rather in response to market demands to morph her into a more realistic-looking doll. In 1992, … [Read more...]