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Dec 9

The We. Women project is a wonderful project with wonderful photos.

 

The goal:  How is a “beautiful” woman defined?

Neringa Rekasiute’s photo spread attempts to answer this question.  Through her work she is trying to give women back their power to decide what qualities are inherent in a beautiful woman.

 

The project started with a sketch drawn by Beata Tiskevic, who is an actress and TV  host in Lithuania.

“Beata showed me this drawing of a woman looking into the mirror and there were words written on her body: the words which throughout her life she heard addressed about her ‘imperfect’ body. Beata and I had been discussing extensively how much Lithuania needs an empowering project for women,” Rekasiute said. This was it. “I told her, ‘We have to do it.’”

Using social media, the team invited women to share images of themselves in their underwear and to share their story.  Selections were made from those images and stories.  The photo shoot allowed the 12 selected women to confront their insecurities and  types of destructive behaviors such as bulimia, anorexia, fat-shaming, skinny-shaming, violence from men, and negative self-perception.  They wanted to bring women’s bodies into the forefront to see them in a different light.

I think the most important that the project does is to serve as a reminder that having a positive body image is empowering.

 

Check out this week Fashion Flash from Mary Lou at Second Lives Club.

Blackcatplus
Oct 20

Flattering and inspiring?  Insulting and Bragging?

Photo: Mike Byerly Courtesy Maria Kang

Wow!  Over 16 million views on Facebook and over 12,000 comments, Posters and bloggers have accused Fitness Instructor Maria Kang, 32, of “fat shaming,” claiming her photo suggests that all women can look like her if they just work hard enough.

I would love to look like that! But, am I willing? Is my body type able?  A lot of questions.  Each one of us has our own answers…What else matters? I am inspired by women who are fit.  Inspired by women of ALL shapes and sizes as they inspire me to be the best that I can be.

What do you think?

Check out this week’s Fashion Flash!

Blackcatplus
Oct 14

A national survey conducted by plus size retailer, Sonsi revealed that the perception of her own body image is holding the plus size woman back.  The survey of 1000 women sizes 14+ pointed to a confidence gap.   While the majority of plus size women say they believe that beautiful bodies come in all shapes and sizes, fewer than half of the women surveyed embrace their own  curves.

 

gilleskleinFoterCC BY-SA

“With plus size women gracing the pages of leading fashion magazines as well as the runways at New York Fashion Week, curvy women should feel good that they finally have a voice,” said Kristin Mongello, Sonsi Director of E-commerce.  ”But surprisingly a majority of curvy women say they still lack the confidence to dress more fashionably.  It really comes back to body image.”

Interestingly enough, the survey also revealed that they prefer to find inspiration among their plus size peers and from plus size icons such as Melissa McCarthy.  They are embracing advertising, blogs and runway shows as well.

Sonsi offers a Curvy Quotient Test along with the on line Boost Your CQ resources will help them on their path to finding their own fashion style.

Check out this week’s Fashion Flash from Barbara at The Best of Everything After 50

 

 

 

Blackcatplus
Mar 27

Once again, the use of a plus size mannequin has stirred debate about fashion, obesity and body image.  The Swedish department store Ahlens has a mannequin that represents the curvier woman with its rounded stomach and larger bust line.

The store’s choice has sparked debate about whether the use of mannequins are encouraging women to be at an unhealthy weight or whether it is good for a woman’s body image to see a mannequin that represents the average size of today’s women.

It is interesting that this debate comes at a time when many countries such as Britain and Spain, are placing limits to designers as to what size models can be used to represent their clothing lines.    However, I believe it is a smart move for retailers who are trying to appeal to women who are interested to see accurate representations of their size.   What do you think?  Check out this week’s Fashion Flash from Fab Over Forty!

 

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

 

 

Blackcatplus
Oct 25

Promoting obesity or body image acceptance?

A young plus-sized college student, Stella Boonshoft 18, posted a photo online of herself in her underwear has come under some criticism for promoting obesity — although plenty have also jumped to her defense and continued the on-going debate about body image .

Stella wrote, “This is my body deal with it.”  Underneath the photo, she wrote,

‘WARNING: Picture might be considered obscene because subject is not thin. And we all know that only skinny people can show their stomachs and celebrate themselves. Well I’m not going to stand for that. This is my body. Not yours. MINE.

Enough said!

Check out this week’s Fashion Flash from Prime Beauty!

 

Blackcatplus
Jul 9

Congratulations to 14-year-old Maine ballet dancer Julia Bluhm who led a crusade against having altered photos in Seventeen Magazine.

Seventeen Magazine Editor Ann Shoket has promised in the new issue to leave body shapes alone, reserving Photoshop for the stray hair, clothing wrinkle, errant bra strap or pimple.  If the magazine does have to manipulate images, it will post before and after shots on the magazine’s Tumblr page.

Skoket promises are included in a “body peace treaty” which commits Seventeen to featuring healthy girls and models regardless of clothing size. The peace treaty focuses on having a positive body image.

Maybe, just maybe things are changing and young girls and women won’t have to feel self-conscious about their bodies in years to come.

Check out this week’s Fashion Flash by our friends over at Une femme.

Blackcatplus
Feb 17

Well, we have lots to talk about this week with MAGIC and the Fall Buying well underway.

But, the talk of this week is that this year’s models for Fashion Week in New York were too young and too thin.  They were reported as being boyish and very slender.

Back in 2006 after the death of one fashion model, Anna Carolina Reston, from anorexia, the Council of Fashion Designers of America issued a statement and guidelines for models which included resources for models who have an eating disorder.

While the models for Calvin Klein and other designers look healthy, there are many models who are clearly not taking good care of themselves.  In her documentary, Model Sara Ziff shows a grim portrayal of the dark side of modeling, where teens were encouraged to eat a rice cake a day and cotton balls. The CFDA and many designers have imposed a No Alcohol and No Smoking Policies, but without any enforcement power, it is a sad commentary for young women and the state of the fashion industry. What does it say for aspiring models? How about those plus size models wishing to break into the fashion industry? Could it be an indication that there is no room for plus size models?

When are we going to learn?

Blackcatplus
Feb 13

Take that Lagerfeld! Congratulations to Plus size songstress Adele Atkins Album of the Year! Looking gorgeous in a black Armani Prive gown and landing the cover of the March Vogue, The year of Adele is continuing!

 

 

 

In this 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper, Adele’s message to women about body image and her outlook on success is clear, “The first thing to do is be happy with yourself and appreciate your body– only then should you try to change things about yourself.” Check out Shawna K who hosts this week’s Fashion Flash!

Blackcatplus
Jan 13

In this month’s podcast scheduled for Wednesday, January 13, 2009 at 3:00-3:45 p.m. EST. Black Cat Plus Radio will feature Sarah Maria, body image expert and Author of “Love Your Body, Love Your Life.”

Listeners can log onto the show live at on Wedensday, January 13, at 3:00 p.m. EST.  Shows are also archived for easy access.

Sarah Maria, a reknown body-image expert who helps people love their bodies no matter how they look, shows people how to discover the beauty that is already inside of them, right now, in this moment. Once people lconnect with this beauty, they will discover that anything is possible – that they can create a body and a life that they truly love. Sarah Maria’s mission is to create a world where every person sees the beauty in themselves and in others. Sarah Maria has trained with well-known teachers and physicians, including Deepak Chopra, Dr. David Simon, Wayne Dyer, and Jack Canfield, among others. Her work has been endorsed by Deepak Chopra, Dr. David Simon, and NY Times best-selling author Marci Shimoff, as well as many other notable physicians, psychologists, and educators. Before writing her first book, she received a law degree from Stanford and a Master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University.

Blackcatplus
Dec 7

Every now and then I read a book and I cannot put it down.  It hit close to home.  Way too close.  This was the case with Dara Chadwick’s, You’d Be So Pretty If…Teaching Our Daughters To Love Their Bodies Even When We Don’t Love Our Own.”

I grew up with a mother who had a mastectomy at the age of 32.  I was 3.5 years old and remember waving to her at her hospital bed from outside the hospital.  She never talked about her own body and never discussed her mastectomy with me–Never.

However, my mother’s message to me about appearance, weight and being thin was always loud and clear. It’s not enough.  You are not enough.  Try harder. Diet. Starve if you have to. Boys won’t like you unless you are thin.  Some of our worst, most painful mother-daughter moments was hearing her say, “You do not need to eat one more thing. Do not put that in your mouth.” It was said in a loud, stern voice across a crowded room as I was putting something, cannot remember what, in my mouth.  I was mortified.

When I had gained a few pounds (ok,20 pounds) between my Junior and Senior year in college and saw my parents for the first time that summer, she said, with my fiancee, (now my husband) right there, “What did you do to yourself.  You blew up.”  Again, I was mortified.  The whole ride on the way back home was all about how we were going to change my image and be a new me in the Fall of my Senior year.

And, while she was on her death bed, one of the last sentences she said to me before she went into a coma was, “You’ve gained weight and you are getting bigger.”  Great.

What a waste of energy and precious time.  I want to believe her intentions were good.  Her method was just so very awfully, horribly, wrong.  I never had children.  (For many reasons) But, the child back then and the adult now wishes we could do those scenarios all over.

I was never petite, tiny, or thin no matter how much I dieted.  What I was/am—I was/am strong, assured, and self-confident.  I take pride in my appearance and do my best to look good and feel good.  I am not always at 100% but that is the goal–to strive for 100% in everything I do.  I go after what I want and get it.  I owe most of that drive and determination to her. But those comments, her comments, remain in the air like stale smoke, still here after all these years.

So, when I read Dara’s book, I immediately got in touch with her.  Here was a mother who did not want to repeat the cycle. Maybe I could gain more insight into the mother that is no longer here to ask. (She died when I was 22, never saw me get married, was never there for the triumphs and sadly, what I remember the most about her are those judgmental comments).

Dara says,

“As mothers, how we feel about and relate to our own bodies–and the conscious or unconscious expression of that relationship—creates a “body image blueprint” for our daughters.  Our girls may grow up to look different from the way we look, but the foundation for how they relate to their bodies as adults is one that we help build, brick by brick, through our own behavior toward our own bodies and toward theirs…  Body image matters not because we all need to look like gorgeous supermodels to be happy.  It matters because if we don’t feel good about what we look like and the body we live in, we’re less inclined to show the world who we are.”

There ya’ go!

We can break a cycle.  Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 3:00 pm EST on Black Cat Plus Radio.  We begin.

More as it happens.   Jodell

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