I Am Not My Photograph

It was my next-to-the-last-day of my week long vacation, and I went out to dinner with a bunch of my high school girlfriends. Before I met them, I had made sure I looked cute, wore great clothes, had clean hair full of product, great make up, fabulous jewelry. We all hugged and squealed as always. Then Continue reading

Little Blue Distortion

The first time that the idea of women’s objectification or distortion in the media was brought to me was when I was at the young age of 12, and it was brought to me by a Smurf.

Yes, a Smurf as in a small blue cartoon creature living in a mushroom forest. I was at a conference in Los Angeles called Turn Beauty Inside Out, hosted by New Moon Magazine. Amongst the powerful and much admired female leaders there was Geena Davis, not only a long time actress, producer, and writer, but also a former model.

Davis began her spiel with a single image: a lovely blue Smurfette with long flowing blonde hair and a tiny white dress. Naturally, my first reaction was questioning why on earth this brilliant woman was bringing a silly cartoon TV show into her talk about inner beauty and respecting women. Then she started talking about it, really talking, and that was it, I was hooked on the idea. She talked about how despite yes, being Continue reading

So Just What Is Beauty Anyway?

Elizabeth Chomko's headshot she uses as an actress

Elizabeth Chomko’s headshot she uses as an actress

So just what is beautiful, anyway?

Being thin / having curves / pregnancy. Blonde / brunette / redhead / salt and pepper. Youth / aging gracefully. Strength / vulnerability. Femininity / androgeny. Seventeen / thirty-seven / a baby. Being toned / being touchable. The hourglass / the thigh gap. Marilyn Monroe / The Mona Lisa / Coco Rocha / Barbie / Mother Theresa / Michelle Obama.

And / or:

Confidence. Authenticity. Intelligence. Honesty. Wit. Humor. Admitting wrong. Fearlessness, passion, growth, perfection.  Continue reading

Restless Leg Envy Syndrome

Annie McVey

Annie McVey on comparison and body critiquing

My whole world changed the day I noticed Tiffany D’Amore’s legs.  It was a brisk afternoon in the fall of freshman year.  We were changing classes, ambling in pairs down the narrow path that led from Main Building to the Library Building.  We stopped on the path to chat with a group of fellow freshmen making the reverse commute.  And there, against a backdrop of red maple trees, over talk about a grueling biology test and the upcoming dance at St. Peter’s, I glanced down and looked at Tiffany D’Amore’s legs.  She was wearing navy blue stockings, just like half the girls around me.  Our Continue reading

On Random Thoughts & Raising Girls

Because raising girls is hard, y'all. Consider your own childhood the prequel.

Because raising girls is hard, y’all. Consider your own childhood the prequel.

I once worked in a strip club as a (fully clothed) waitress. While there, I learned that most of the dancers making the big bucks only pretended to get drunk on the $12 mocktail containing only cranberry & orange juice because it made the guys paying for the drink feel like he was going to get somewhere, Continue reading

Can You Describe Yourself In One Word?

Michelle Obama is a "Leader"

Michelle Obama is a “Leader”

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” Rudyard Kipling

Have you ever given any thought to the significance of a word? Words express us. They are powerful and they impact our day to day life. If you say a person is eccentric, you get a sense of that person. Continue reading

I Love Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty

I started Speaking of Beauty because I have felt ugly my entire life. I have spent the better part of my life trying to become what the media deems “beautiful.” I have had my nose fixed, my hair colored, exercised obsessively, nearly died from an eating disorder, felt guilty, felt ugly, and always, always –  I have never felt good enough or pretty enough.  Continue reading

Barbie in Real Life

I loved playing Barbie with my sister. My sister’s Barbie was blonde and had a “bubble-cut” hair style. My Barbie was blonde as well, with longer hair. I thought Barbie was beautiful and could only dream of being like her. We had Barbie houses, Barbie cars, and all the Barbie clothes my mother would buy for us. My sister and I thought Barbie was the epitome of beauty.
Continue reading

It’s Not About the Nipples

Gloria Steinem

I saw this post the other day on Gloria Steinem’s Facebook page, “How hard is it to be a female human being in the media? Anne Hathaway is a pretty good measure. She learned everything she could about sex trafficking and prostitution to play Fantine, and knew only too well that modern-day Fantines were probably living within blocks of the Academy Awards. Continue reading