Have you ever played rugby? I haven’t. I had the chance once. The super rad Jen Sinkler (you may know her as the strong-woman who coined the phrase, “How do I get my cardio? I lift weights faster.”) once invited me to play with her team. Actually I think she invited me like five or six times. Yet despite my whole shtick being trying new athletic stuff I balked at rugby. I’ll be honest: they were some of the most super-fit ladies I’ve ever seen and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep up at all. I’m not usually one to mind public humiliation but I was really intimidated. I mean, it’s rugby.
At the time all I knew about rugby was that it had really complicated rules, people got hurt a lot and it most closely resembles American football, the sport I most detest. (Yell at me if you want but for me watching football is worse than watching my cat lick her biz. The players only move for 11 minutes out of 3+ hours of game time – the rest is just watching people yell at each other without being able to hear what they’re saying. How is that fun??)
At first I was going to use a picture of me from my “skinniest” sickest time – to illustrate the point that I still looked pretty normal – but then I realized that I’d rather illustrate this with a pic of me now. These guys remind me every day why I work so hard to be happy, healthy and present for them. I’m so glad I “failed” at anorexia!!
Well you never looked THAT skinny. In all my years of recovering from my various eating disorders, this was probably the most painful thing people said to me. It was as if people were telling me I wasn’t skinny enough to have an eating disorder. It was also a brutal reminder at how much I’d “failed” in my goal to get that skinny. I tried! I did all the stupid tricks you read on websites and magazine articles. (What, those cautionary stories aren’t meant to be how-to’s? Oops.) And while I did get pretty thin when you compared me to, say, Victoria Beckham or Angelina Jolie I looked like one of those human-shaped pillows for lonely people to cuddle with. And they live that way! For years!
Sitting cross-legged on a twin bed, giggling about cute boys while the summer evening breeze swirled around us — it had been a long time — a lifetime — since the last time I’d done this. Yet there I was on the eve of my baby sister’s graduation (am I allowed to still call her my baby sister now that she’s a legal adult?) sitting in her room and listening to my sister and her friend whisper about love and longing and uncertainty. In that golden moment I was struck by how divinely beautiful they were. And it wasn’t just the smooth skin, shiny hair and flat tummies that come with being 18. It was that magic that happens sometimes, when you see someone with their guard down, and you glimpse the beauty of an ageless soul. They were hope and talent and potential and joy and laughter and sparkling eyes and so, so beautiful.
Then it all came crashing down. (And not just because one of my boys yelled through the door that he’d clogged the toilet and while trying plunge it he’d only made is spill all over the floor. Although that did happen too. Sorry mom and dad!) As I watched, my sister and her friend began to talk about their insecurities, what they’d been told about themselves, what they believed to be true. I realized that even though I saw two gorgeous creatures, they didn’t necessarily see it in themselves.
Our neighborhood has a pool. I’ve never lived in a place before that has one and I have to admit it’s pretty rad. Not for me necessarily – I still hate swimming – but my kids love it and it’s an easy, fun way to get them outside and moving. It’s also fun for me to get to know other people in the area, especially so I can have conversations like this one:
New friend: I’ve seen you at the pool a ton and yet I don’t think I’ve ever seen you in a bikini!
Me: And you never will!
First, as part of my religion (I’m LDS a.k.a. “Mormon”) I choose to stick to one-piece suits. And second, I’m finally at the age where my increasing fear of melanoma and my decreasing ability to care what people think of me intersect! Wooohooo!
I should probably tell you what I was wearing when this conversation happened: An Athleta UPF 50 jacket-dress thingy with long sleeves and a high collar, ankle length running tights, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and so much sunscreen I should buy stock in Banana Boat. I did also happen to have a swimsuit on underneath although it’s anyone’s guess why I bothered at that point. (I think it’s because I’ve been peeing properly for so many decades now that it’s obviously time to up the difficulty. Also, it’s not as hot as you think. Promise!) In other words, I looked like a complete dork.
In an art house, hermetically sealed both from germs and the passage of time, this conversation happened:
“Yo, did you see the thigh-gap on that chick last night?”
“The big space between her legs! It’s the must-have accessory of the year. All the girls want one.”
“Yeah, I kind of thought so too.”
“And kind of sad.”
“But hey, you know what would really help women feel better about their bodies? If we made a movie that objectified them! And then lopped off their heads! And took away their voices! How better to make them accept their bodies than by showing them that’s all they are? The ladeezzz are going to loooove this!”
“Ooh and let’s film it in that awesome early-70’s porn style! It’s super flattering and we can have a sun setting into the ocean BETWEEN HER LEGS.”
Okay so that may not have been how this ridiculous thigh-gap movie was born but honestly that’s the kindest way I can see this thing coming about. How else would someone have thought “I need to help women feel better about their legs” and come up with THIS?? (Watch the video below at your own peril. I am not responsible for any rage-induced aneurysms.)
My thoughts when I first saw this picture, as they jumped onto the hamster wheel in my head:
1. Wow, that mannequin is super skinny!
2. But aren’t all mannequins super skinny? At least this one’s anatomically correct. It (she?) even has a bellybutton and nips – clearly they sprang for the high-end model! (Model! Hahahah! Does that count as a pun? Did I just make myself laugh out loud? Yep.)
3. They should buy the best, they’re La Perla. Their stuff is so expensive that even carrying the shopping bag has caché, kind of like toting a Tiffany’s box. Are they the Tiffany’s of lingerie?? Me being so cheap that I wait until Target bras go on sale, I wouldn’t know as I sure have never bought anything from them.
4. Is that even lingerie? If it is, it doesn’t look very supportive. And for that price you ought to be able to do a double back layout and land on a pony jumping off a diving board without risking a nip-slip. (Ooooh I haven’t seen Wild Hearts in YEARS. I wonder if I’d still love it as much without the preteen hormones coursing through my veins?)
Jelly Bean (r) and friends know they are working it.
90210 wasn’t really my jam. (Sure Luke Perry was cute and all but Jordan Catalano stole my flannel-shirt-wrapped heart on My So-Called Life. I’m a monogamous TV dater.) So Tori Spelling has never been one of those actresses I’ve had strong feelings about one way or the other. There was a brief moment when she had four kids close together while I had four kids close together that I got a little squishy feeling for her but that evaporated in a sea of tabloid covers. Yet she confessed something recently that’s been on my mind ever since:
In her latest book, Spelling It Like It Is, Tori actually admitted to lying to Us for a post-baby bikini body story to make her version of events more palatable. To lose weight after her fourth kid she said she went on the “Just Keep Your F*cking Mouth Shut and Eat Air diet.” But she knew that starvation wouldn’t make her relatable to new mothers struggling with their weight.
I was all set to hate Sharny Kieser, I’ll admit it. I first came across her and her bikini pictures in an article declaring that moms should schedule a post-natal bikini shoot to have something to motivate them to not gain a ton of weight during pregnancy and to lose it all lickety-split afterwards. And she did say all that. Apparently she’s a personal trainer in Australia and she used the bikini pics motivation for herself and recommends it to her clients. Which… eh, didn’t we discuss this to death with the whole Fit Mom controversy? I mean, if you’re looking to provoke people Maria “What’s your excuse” Kang did it way better.
But the more I read up about Sharny, the more some of her message started to resonate with me. Not the part about pressuring moms to lose weight the second they pop the bun out of the oven (I still think that sucks and we should focus on helping new moms become confident moms, not skinny moms) but the part where she tells women to be proud of their post-baby bodies.
Dear Kirstie Alley,
I got your press release about how you’re going back to your first diet love, Jenny Craig. (I really appreciated the personal touch of including the pictures of all your diet products. Apparently JC will now be carrying your line of diet drinks in their stores so, um, way to play it from both sides?) I wish I could say that I’m happy for you but watching you publicly yo-yo your weight up and down for years is starting to make me deeply uncomfortable. Not because your weight is fluctuating – that’s a totally normal part of the human experience – but because of how uncomfortable it seems to make you.
Take this statement you made in a recent interview in People where you explained the reason for your returning to Jenny Craig, after a 7-year hiatus: “I was good for awhile and then I wasn’t good, and the weight crept up. Like I say in the ad, I’m not circus fat. I didn’t hugely screw up. I didn’t gain 75. I gained 30.”
Can you see the person in this pic? Liu Bolin is an artist who specializes in hiding in plain sight.
Hair extensions, colored contacts, spray tans, cosmetic surgery, tooth veneers, the finale of How I Met Your Mother – in a world that’s increasingly fake it seems like more and more people are seeking out authenticity. Even if the real deal isn’t as “pretty” as the fakery. We’ve seen this recently with the #nomakeupselfie trend, fashion’s embrace of “normcore” as the new It Thing and more and more celebs peeling back the curtain on what they really look like without their glam squad.
Actress Emma Watson recently posted a red-carpet-ready snap with the caption “I do NOT wake up like this.”
Singer Lorde just tweeted before-and-after selfies from the stage, commenting, “I find this curious – two photos from today, one edited so my skin is perfect and one real. Remember flaws are ok.”
And everygirl Mindy Kaling did one of the best interviews ever, telling Jimmy Fallon, “I’m always trying to lose 15 pounds but I don’t ever want to be skinny.” She then added, “People are like, ‘It’s so nice that Mindy Kaling doesn’t feel like she needs to subscribe to the ideals of beauty that other people do.’ And, I’m like, ‘I do subscribe!’…By the way, I run and work out. It takes a lot of effort to look like a normal/chubby woman.”