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The Last of the Really Great Blog Posts
In which I totally didn’t cry at all while typing this up

Let me start by saying that I know I present a brash, cocksure type of image on the internet. I like to imagine an old man reading my blog posts and saying something like “the girl’s got moxie.” I like to think I seem very self-confident on here.

Every blog post is me, shooting finger guns at the readers.

Every blog post is me, shooting finger guns at the readers.

 

But the truth is that I looked in the mirror this morning and got very afraid that I was gaining weight. The truth is that, starting out, I was really very worried that nobody would read these blog posts. Who was gonna want to read my writing? Who was gonna care what I thought about body image?
I even got a little scared that somebody was going to get offended. I imagined an old British woman, clutching her chest and saying, “Well, I never.”
I imagined a lot of people seeing my posts and saying, “Who does this Rachel think she is? We’re supposed to care what this loser thinks?”
And I guess my point is that women get that kind of thing a lot. Especially women who aren’t exactly like, super gorgeous. Take this Tina Fey quote:

“I know older men in comedy who can barely feed and clean themselves, and they still work. The women, though, they’re all ‘crazy.’ I have a suspicion—and hear me out, because this is a rough one—that the definition of ‘crazy’ in show business is a woman who keeps talking even after no one wants to fuck her anymore.”
I really worry about how ingrained this idea is in our society, and I worry about how it’s been affecting me. I can’t tell you how many times I’d start a post only to think, “this isn’t anything new, is it? Haven’t enough people written about comic book sexism or female representation on television or butts?”
And I guess what I’m trying to get at is that’s some dangerous thinking. Yeah, a million people have written about this stuff, but it’s hardly fixed any of these problems, has it?

Hint: It hasn’t.

Hint: It hasn’t.

 

So I don’t see how it can hurt for one more voice to be out there talking about these issues and fighting the good fight.
And I hope it doesn’t seem brash or cocksure of me to say that it takes a lot of courage to like yourself, but it takes even more courage to tell people you like yourself. There’s something revolutionary, I think, about a woman getting up every day and deciding that she’s great and that she’s not going to pretend that she doesn’t think she’s great. Take, for instance, this social experiment a girl conducted, where she just agreed with the compliments men gave her on dating websites.

Hint: Douches got offended.

Hint: Douches got offended.

 

Society expects a weird amount of false modesty from women, and we should be worried about that. Society expects us to be down on ourselves, which is why it’s important that we be as full of ourselves as possible.
And step one of that is just deciding that your opinion is valid, and what you have to say is valid, and that your voice is just as important as every other voice that’s talking about an issue.
I wrote that post about comic books because it’s something I care about. When I first e-mailed it to my fabulous editor, Molly McCaffrey, I’m pretty sure I included a note to the effect of “sorry if I’m rambling a bit…”
And I said that because I was worried that people would think I was talking too much. Because women, am I right? They talk too much.
And my point is that, no, we don’t. My blog posts are great, screw you. I’m great, screw you. A woman is allowed to keep talking even after “no one wants to fuck her anymore.”
It’s hard to believe that your opinion is worthwhile. But my point is that the more I write and the more I read, the more I start to believe that there’s nothing wrong with what I’m saying.
In 2014 Amy Schumer gave a speech at the Gloria Awards and Gala, and while you should really read the whole thing, towards the end she says something that I think every woman should try to remember the next time she’s looking in the mirror and getting afraid that she’s gained weight:
“I am a woman with thoughts and questions and shit to say. I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story — I will. I will speak and share and fuck and love and I will never apologize to the frightened millions who resent that they never had it in them to do it. I stand here and I am amazing, for you…I am not my weight.”

Any time Amy Schumer wants to marry me, all she has to do is ask.

Any time Amy Schumer wants to marry me, all she has to do is ask.

 

I was genuinely nervous about doing this internship, but I wrote every post because, you know, I was getting class credit for it.
But I also did it because these are things I’m worried about, and they affect me, and they affect the women around me.
If you take anything from these posts I’ve been doing, it should be that everybody has something worth saying, and everybody can add to the conversation.

Yes. Even you.

Yes. Even you.

So I want to close out this incredible semester by saying what a great experience it was writing on a blog that’s concerned with making women like themselves. And in all sincerity, sappy as it may sound, thank you so much for reading this stuff I wrote. Thanks for letting me ramble, and thanks for letting me have opinions, and thanks for making me really feel like what I’m saying is worthwhile.
And a big thanks to Molly McCaffrey, for basically being the most supportive and awesome editor and blog maker ever. Seriously, she’s the greatest.

–Rachel

GUYS, THANKSGIVING IS COMING
In which I am thankful for an underappreciated holiday

 

THANKSGIVING EVERYBODY.

IT’S TURKEY DAY, MASHED POTATO DAY, CRANBERRY DAY.

bobby

Yeah! Get excited everybody!

But first, let’s all take a moment to acknowledge that Thanksgiving is kind of a thankless holiday. (See what I did there?) Oh, sure, it’s a pleasant enough diversion between Halloween and Christmas, but it’s not really a top-tier holiday. Everybody’s happy to get a couple of days off work/school/whatever, but you don’t drive around the neighborhood looking at everybody’s Thanksgiving decorations, you know?

But why? What’s so wrong about Thanksgiving? It’s a cool holiday where you meet up with your family and eat a bunch of food and everybody talks about how thankful they are for each other. It’s adorable.

In theory, anyway. In practice you probably spend most of Thanksgiving trying to avoid that racist uncle that keeps telling everyone about how white people “saved” the Native Americans.

It’s like it isn’t Thanksgiving until someone’s offended.

 

But one of the most surreal things about Thanksgiving for me has always been seeing three generations of women, all worrying about their weight.

Now, it may or may not surprise you to learn that I come from a family of beautiful, sexy ladies. And yet, every year these hawt pieces of booty talk about their diets, or their weight gain, or tell each other, “You look so thin!”

And my basic point here is that recently my grandmother was worried that she was putting on some weight.

My grandmother. Who is ninety-five.

Like, I would hope that around age eighty—at the latest—is when you could finally stop worrying about your weight.

And I would hope that Thanksgiving, a holiday based almost entirely around food, would be the day that you could put aside your weight woes and just tell society to take their rules and expectations and stuff it.

In other news, local woman makes hilarious Thanksgiving pun.

In other news, local woman makes hilarious Thanksgiving pun.

 

My point here, I guess, is that now is not the time. Thanksgiving is the one day a year when  you’re basically given a free pass to eat what you want, so why not embrace it? It’s a day to stop worrying about whether you have a trim little tummy or slim little hips, and to, instead, embrace the things you do have, like a great butt and some great food and a bunch of great people to share it with (the food, not the butt).

So I am urging everyone out there to not do that thing where you starve yourself through the week before Thanksgiving so that you’re “allowed” to eat what you want. You’re a human being! You’re allowed to eat food! Get pumped about the stuffing and turkey and pies and cakes; get pumped about seeing the people you love (and the ones you…tolerate).

And please, Lord, do NOT talk about your diet. For once, it’s not the time for dieting. It’s the time for that sweet, sweet turkey.

Sorry, I try to avoid putting porn on the blog.

Sorry, I try to avoid putting porn on the blog.

 

And, during this penultimate blog post, I’d just like to say that I am extremely thankful for all the people out there reading this blog that I’m doing. You guys rock.

–Rachel

Let’s Talk about our Skinny Friends
In which I bite my tongue and make an exercise in empathy.

Okay, this blog post is about your skinny friend.

Because we all have that skinny friend.

You know the one. The one that’s size 00, but still complains about her weight.

Like when she says, “God, I feel fat today.”

Liz-lemon-eye-roll

In other news, I can do gifs now.

 

Meanwhile, you’re over here, nine sizes bigger than her, wondering what exactly she’s trying to say? What’s the big idea? If she’s fat, then what are you?

Even worse is when, in the great tradition of the humblebrag, she tries to act like she’s sad. About being skinny.

Case in point, a friend of mine is like, teeny tiny. A little bitty woman. And the other day she grabbed her trim little hips and said, “Ugh, I’m such a twig!”

And it’s like, okay, honey, can we stop all this compliment fishing and just accept that you match society’s current standards of beauty and I don’t? Can we just admit that, like honest adults?

But you know I would be KILLIN' it in 1630.

But you know I would be KILLIN’ it in 1630.

 

I think we all secretly hate our skinny friends a little bit.

But, yes, okay, much as I am loathe to make this point, maybe we should give them a break.

Because—and I’m no skinny expert—but I don’t necessarily think that our skinny friends are lying about hating their bodies.

I know what you’re thinking. “Woah woah woah, hold up there, Rachel. I’m a little sick of sympathizing with skinny ladies. They get all the representation and all the cute clothes, and while skinny shaming is sort of a thing, let’s not pretend it’s on even close to the same level as fat shaming.”

To which I say, yes. I agree with you completely. It is so goshdarn hard to work up sympathy for a skinny girl when you’ve spent your whole life being told that her body is the ideal.

But let’s hold off a little bit. Because the fashion industry has this great thing going right now where it does its darnedest to make women feel bad about themselves (even though it doesn’t need to). And what that means is that, right now, every woman can find a reason to dislike the way she looks.

She has acne! Her hair isn’t fluffy enough! Her hair is too fluffy! She’s too fat! She’s too thin! She’s too whatever.

And nobody is juuuust right.

And nobody is juuuust right.

 

See, we’re projecting. I want to be skinny, so everybody wants to be skinny, right? So if a woman with a thin figure starts complaining about said figure, then she has to be faking or fishing for compliments or something. It’s not like she could legitimately wish she looked different, because no skinny person feels that way, right?

And while I know how annoying it is, I’m starting to wonder what exactly is so wrong with fishing for compliments. If you want a confidence boost, then why does society dictate that you take this annoying side route of insulting yourself first?

I don’t think we compliment each other enough. For instance, the other day a friend and I were discussing another girl we knew, and all we were really saying was stuff like, “Gosh, she’s so pretty, and she’s so nice, and she knows how to do a really good winged eyeliner and like, wow, that takes a steady hand woman. Good job.”

Teach me your ways.

Teach me your ways.

 

And I started to wonder, why were we saying this stuff behind her back? Why not tell her to her (immaculate) face?

If you think that your dear friend, whom you love, is fishing for compliments, then just compliment her. Don’t lie to her or anything, but in a society that spends so much time putting ladies down, what’s so wrong with wanting someone to tell you they like what you’re doing? Skinny or fat, everybody could use a little verbal pick-me-up sometimes.

So, okay, my point is that there’s nothing wrong with feeling bad about yourself, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to feel good about yourself. We need to stop resenting other women for having the same hang-ups and worries about their bodies that we have. It’s downright hypocritical.

So before I sign off, you’re all beautiful, I love you, I’m proud of you, and you really rocked that outfit you wore yesterday.

—Rachel

Is There Love for “Ugly” Ladies?
In which I encourage all hot guys to come hang out with me.

Fun fact about me—my first job was at a grocery store in Nebraska. I still work up there during school breaks and stuff, but I spent most of high school behind a register.

Spend enough time working anywhere, and you’ll start to get some regulars. It’s just inevitable. Most grocery store regulars are like, angry old people or “extreme couponers” though, so you don’t tend to look forward to their visits that much.

But every once in a while you get some genuinely nice people. There was this young couple that used to come through my line all the time, and they were just wonderful. I can’t think of any specific incidents demonstrating how nice they are, but I think everyone who’s ever worked a customer service job knows the distinction between people who talk at you and people who talk to you. These people were so close to actual friends that I could swear around them.

The husband was, in all sincerity, probably one of the most attractive men I’ve ever seen. He didn’t even look like a real person. It was like an Abercrombie and Fitch model had gotten stuck in Nebraska and realized he needed some cereal. He had that fluffy kind of hair, a very specific type of jaw line, and sleeve tattoos (a.k.a. the most attractive thing a man can do to his forearms). It was, like, insane how beautiful he was.

Sort of like this, but happier and with a shirt on.

Sort of like this, but happier and with a shirt on.

 

His wife, meanwhile—and I will not mince words here—was…large. She just was. She was a large woman. Not like, that hourglass sort-of-curvy-big-titties kind of woman either, but the kind of woman who gets dirty looks and has middle-aged moms peeking into her shopping cart so they can judge her for buying non-diet soda.

And every time they came in, I wanted to give this woman a quiet fist bump while her husband’s back was turned, because she was married to a man who looked like he’d been Photoshopped. I do not know how she snapped that up, but she snapped. That. Up.

Like, imagine this guy is asking you which aisle the soup is in.

Like, imagine this guy is asking you which aisle the soup is in.

 

 Imagine this guy’s coupon has expired.

Imagine this guy’s coupon has expired.

 

Imagine this guy has a recipe that calls for chopped garlic, but he wants to know if you think that minced garlic would work instead.

Imagine this guy has a recipe that calls for chopped garlic, but he wants to know if you think that minced garlic would work instead.

 

And here’s sort of the guilty little secret that doesn’t really paint me in the best light, but I really wanted to know how. Like, was she skinnier when they started dating? Was he fatter? Did she make a lot of money? Did he need American citizenship? Was it a fetish thing?

But really, why did I want to know? There were a million and one couples who would come through my line that were the reverse—an ugly guy and his hot wife. But I didn’t really think about them.

And I think the issue here is that we are raised not to question this.

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Or this.

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Or this.

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Or this (I could go on).

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But we are sure as hell expected to question this.

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Something I’ve been thinking about is that I very rarely see relationships that make me think, “that guy can do better,” but I see a million and one relationships where I think, “oh, man, that girl can do so much better.” And I think the issue is that men are given the message that they deserve a hot woman, even a woman who is far and beyond that guy’s own level of hotness, while women are given the message that they should “settle.”

Ladies should look for “nice guys,” should “give geeks a chance,” should stop being so shallow. Like, how many movie and TV show plotlines hinge on the woman learning that she should stop dating dumb hot guys who don’t respect her or whatever, and start dating nerdy ugly guys who put her on a pedestal?

Ahem.

Ahem.

 

this is my secret alt text cuz I just figured out how to do that.

AHEM.

 

So the lesson that audiences get is that guys deserve hot girls and girls deserve…okay guys. Men are encouraged to date women who are out of their league, and women are encouraged to go with whatever guy is willing to have them.

 

 I mean, she’s literally the prize you get for finishing the game.

I mean, she’s literally the prize you get for finishing the game.

 

Let’s go back to that grocery store couple. This woman was a wonderful human being. She was nice and smart and witty. She and her husband had a great rapport and a lot of obvious love between them. He was always kissing her and holding her and laughing at her bad jokes. I was shocked to learn that they’d been married for ten years; they acted so much like newlyweds.

Or maybe I was just shocked to see a man acting like he was the luckiest guy on earth to be married to someone who–according to everything my teenage mind had seen or heard or read—did not deserve to find love.

So let’s acknowledge, for a moment, how messed up all of this is. And I don’t mean in the sense of “oh yeah media is sexist and that’s bad oh well the world is an unfair place.” I think everybody is sort of dimly aware that movies and tv aren’t necessarily super great at portraying women, but we have to look at how pervasive this has become. It’s a weird creepy part of our culture; a hundred million people have written a hundred million essays about it, and we all know that it’s bad. But I worry that this trope has become sort of like a racist grandma—we know it’s problematic but we figure we can’t really fix it, so we just accept that that’s how things are. My point is, we need to be holding our media more accountable (and maybe our Grandmas, I don’t know) and we need to be aware that this is happening and that it is hella weird and creepy and needs to stop. It’s not acceptable. The end.

My parents read this blog.

My parents read this blog.

 

-Rachel Sudbeck

 

The Issues with Reading Comics
haha get it? ISSUES?

I am a girl who likes comic books.

As any girl who likes comic books will tell you, the trouble with being a girl who likes comic books is that there are guys who like comic books.

Like, let’s examine my Deadpool shirt. My brother, the poor naïve sap, bought me a Deadpool shirt for our birthday one year, because he knows that I like Deadpool.

 

It looks like this. Cute, right? It’s even cuter on my boobs.

 

What he didn’t know was that a woman wearing a comic book shirt opens herself up to a whole world of trouble.

Like one day I’m wearing this Deadpool shirt, and I’m filming a project for a class. This project was due the next day (I never said I was a model student), so me and my partner were trying to bust out our shots as quickly as possible so that we could edit it in time.

Picture this– my partner was standing a few feet away from me, and I was lining up the shot on her, when this guy- this guy- stood RIGHT IN FRONT of my camera.

“That’s a pretty cool shirt,” he said.

“Thanks,” I said, trying to figure out how to get him out of the way.

“Do you know who that is?” he asked, pointing at my boobs.

“It’s Dead-”

“It’s DEADPOOL” he said, like I wasn’t the one wearing the shirt.

“I know,” I said, still trying to be polite (for whatever reason).

“You know when his first comic was?”

“I, uh, I dunno.”

“He’s been around since 1991. Most people don’t know that since he just got popular.”

He was really settling in, all ready to set up camp in front of my camera. My partner was watching anxiously from behind the place where he stood.

“You know,” he said, “I liked Deadpool better before they made him all funny and stupid.”

“I- what?” I said. “Like, what do you mean?”

“Like, back when he was a villain,” he said, “back in 1991. Before they made him all dumb.”

Now, I don’t know if you’re aware of all the social mores at play here, but what this guy was doing is the exact thing that just about every guy tries to do if they find out I like comic books– he was quizzing me. He was, essentially, testing me to see if I really liked comic books, or if I was just some kind of fake geek girl.

See, there’s a very specific type of comic book boy, and they’re the ones who think that comics are just for guys. And any girl who reads them, or wears a shirt with one of them on it, is just doing it to get attention.

Now what does all of this have to do with body positivity?

It has to do with the fact that, in all honesty, much as I might try to deny it, comic books are notoriously a man’s game. They’re made overwhelmingly by men, for men, about men.

And all you have to do to see this in action is look at the way these men draw women.

Let’s compare some lady heroes with their male peers, for instance.

Telepathy

Kryptonian

Hulk

 

 

You can debate the similarities and differences between these characters (Jean Grey’s powers aren’t exactly the same as Professor X’s) but the point is to look at the variety of body types present in the male characters, and compare that with the…total lack of variety in the female ones.

Think about it. When was the last time you saw a lady hero who wasn’t fit and skinny and totally free of cellulite? When was the last time you saw a female protagonist, in general, who was bigger than a size 6?

And I know that I literally did a whole blog post about butts, but does every superheroine have to be posed with both breasts and ass facing towards the audience?

 

 

I feel so empowered.

This is a casual fight pose.

 

I’m bringing this up because the thing people always mention in regards to body image is magazines and how magazines set an unreachable standard for women.

But, like, I didn’t read magazines, you know? I was a loser! I had too many books with dragons on the cover, and I didn’t start wearing eyeliner until I was nineteen. I wouldn’t have known an issue of Vogue if you’d hidden it inside a Harry Potter box set.

But I still had the same body issues that every girl has, and I had them because every comic book and cartoon and novel and movie and tv show was saying the same thing-

A girl can’t be a hero if she isn’t skinny.

And don’t get me wrong- I love Jean Grey and Super Girl and She-Hulk and Wonder Woman (I can take or leave Psylocke). They’re great characters and they have great stories when the right writer is behind the helm, but they don’t wear those costumes the way I would wear them, you know? There aren’t any short heroines with big butts out there,  saving the world with snark– probably because a certain type of male comic book reader would find that offensive.

And yes, things are improving. Every day we get new female writers and new female characters. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention amazing comics like Miss Marvel, written by G. Willow Wilson.

But I would also be remiss if I avoided mentioning the insane twitter rant Erik Larson (longtime comic artist) went on over how Miss Marvel’s costume is “bulky and clumsy and unattractive.” He thinks that the outfit of a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl should be sexier, and that comics are “pandering to a vocal minority” (i.e. women) by giving her a costume that isn’t skintight latex.

Ugh. Disgusting.

 

And all of this is why my general reaction, when annoying comic book bros start grilling me on minutia, is to just shrug it off. It’s not worth the fight, you know? Comics are a man’s game, and no argument is gonna change that.

So I want you to keep all of this context in mind when I say that some guy who likes comic books was standing in front of me and quizzing me on my Deadpool shirt.

And I want you to keep in mind that the thing that really pissed me off wasn’t the fact that this guy was sexist and annoying and blocking my shot.

What really pissed me off was how stupid his opinion on Deadpool was. 

“You liked Deadpool better before he was funny?” I asked, crouching behind this camera, open-mouthed in disbelief.

“Yeah.” He had this stupid smug smirk on his face. “Like, when he was a regular mercenary, when they took him seriously.”

“But that’s stupid,” I said, “there are like a million and one mercenary comics out there. Read Punisher if you want a serious comic.”

He started to say something, but I interrupted; I was hitting my stride. “No, the whole point of Deadpool is that he’s silly. If you don’t want a funny comic, then don’t read a funny comic. Saying you liked him before he was funny would be like- like if I said, ‘Oh pish, I liked Batman better before his parents died.'” I rocked back onto my heels. “It’s just an idiotic thing to say.”

I can only wish that I had a picture of this guy’s face at that point. He put up his hands in that classic “well excuuuuse ME” gesture, started to say something, reconsidered, and then finally walked away.

And I wish that I’d torn into this guy about something a little more important, like the fact that he was taking something that was supposed to be fun and inspiring and makes people feel excited and happy, and he was excluding me from it. Comic books had been actively avoiding a female audience for years, and they’d done that by drawing females in a way that was almost exclusively geared towards the male gaze. And this was what let this guy think that it was okay to interrogate random women about their t-shirts. Because comics were for him and nobody else.

So I hope that you understand what I mean when I say that, even if all I’d done was have an argument about Deadpool, I still felt kind of heroic.

 

Rachel Sudbeck

 

 

 

My body is my friend: the story of how I stopped being underweight

Body Image Cartoon

 

As I mentioned in my very first blog post, I’ve always struggled with maintaining a healthy weight for my height and age. For this reason, it was never a shock to me when my doctor told me I should put on a few more pounds.

He even advised that I not attempt any sports—back in high school—until I could manage a healthy weight. I was always so confused because I ate all the time. What I didn’t realize is that I wasn’t eating the right things. I was trying to fuel my body with fatty foods and carbs to try and gain the weight that my body needed.

I didn’t really start to worry about my size until I was sixteen and still wearing pants that were a double zero size. I couldn’t begin to count all the times that students and teachers told me I looked sick or asked if I had an eating disorder. I was offended—how could someone just look at me and decided, according to my size, that something had to be wrong to me?

I was five-foot-four during my four years of high school, and I weighed about 105 pounds with a BMI that was less than 18.5. According to my family doctor, I needed to weigh between 110 and 115 pounds to be “healthy.”

You might think that five pounds isn’t that hard to gain and keep on, but, for me, it was impossible. It didn’t matter what I ate—my weight only ever went down. And as a young teenager, I didn’t have the patience to worry about how much I weighed. I would have much rather stayed inside reading any day.

But then something really surprising happened; as I gave up on trying to gain weight by eating literally anything I could, I started to go up in pant sizes and found that my arms weren’t as thin as my bones anymore.

That’s when I realized that when we panic and stress about the shape of our bodies and internalize the scrutiny of others, it becomes more difficult for us to achieve our weight goals.

By the end of my freshman year of college, I had gained roughly ten pounds and was wearing a size two. My doctor didn’t say a word relating to me being underweight and hasn’t for three years. Why? Because I stopped caring.

I started eating my fruits and vegetables, which I love. I eat whole grains even though I love white bread. And I make sure to get fiber into my body, which seemed to be missing for most of the rest of my life. Not everything I do is completely healthy, but I’ve stopped eating junk and filling my body with grease and sugar.

What I learned from all this is that it’s pretty much impossible to be healthy when we are pressured by others to do so. Instead we have to come to the conclusion ourselves that we want to be healthy before change can happen.

If you become friends with your body, then giving it what it needs becomes not a chore, but a privilege. Sure this may sound cheesy, but you’re with your body for your whole life life, so why not cherish it?

Brittany Eldridge

Feeling rad about clean, organized eating

Cauliflower

Have you ever looked at the ingredients of a food that you were about to eat and then asked yourself what you were about to put into your body? I have. In fact, I do it all the time.

So I decided to cut things out like canned soups, frozen dinners, hot dogs and bologna, fast food (who knows what’s really in that stuff) and more. The truth is, eating those types of things, especially fast food, was making me feel awful. I was constantly tired and my energy was nonexistent, my skin was vacillating back and forth between clear and a war zone, and I had no confidence.

I just wanted to feel good again.

One of the things I’ve started doing since I began this new clean eating approach a few months ago is making sure I eat my fruits and vegetables. I’ve always like them, but I never took the time to make sure I ate them with my meals. Now I make sure to eat some everyday. Sure, it may not be the exact amount that doctors say I need, but some has to be better than none at all.

But now that I’ve been doing this I want to take clean living a few steps further…

First of all, I want to learn to control my meal times. I think eating at the same time every day can help me avoid snacking throughout the day (when I tend to gravitate towards cream cheese doughnuts).

Second, I’m always on the hunt for recipes that substitute healthy ingredients for unhealthy ones. Like mashed potatoes. It’s not hard to replace the potato with cauliflower, and the end result tastes great, maybe even better than the original.

And lastly is breakfast. I’m also not a breakfast person. I can’t wake up in the morning and sit down to eat. I’m just not hungry that early. So I came up with the idea to try making a green smoothie. I had been doing a lot of research on how they can give you energy and make you feel full until lunch time. Well, my “green” smoothie turned out brown. Yikes. I added kale, strawberries, apples, and orange juice. It was a simple recipe, but somehow I messed it up. On top of being ugly, it tasted bad. It was just too healthy for my taste. But it’s all about trial and error; I plan to try again and hopefully next time it doesn’t look like mud.

I’m going to try more foods soon and hopefully my eating will become a little more clean.

Brittany Eldridge

Laggies gives us something we really need: a story about two female friends figuring out who they are

sundance iwnd logo

Laggies

Laggies, directed by Lynn Shelton, is a witty and sweet movie that focuses on the unlikely friendship of a 28-year-old woman and a teenage girl.

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Megan (Kiera Knightly) and Annika (Chloe Grace Moretz) are characters who mirror each other in that Megan’s behavior is much like that of an adolescent. She has crushes, partakes in casual sex, and stays out late at night, reminding the viewer of the similarities adults often forget they have with young people.

The movie also conveys how often women feel they must put on a facade to live up to expectations in their lives. In Megan’s case, her facade consists of going to seminars and getting married and losing a sense of individuality through her boyfriend. For Annika, it is the fear of being vulnerable that holds her back from letting someone get close to her.

Laggies is a wonderful coming of age film about two young women—a teenager and a twenty-something—figuring out who they are.

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Leah with Western Kentucky Professor Dawn Hall
at the Sundance Film Festival

LEAH RAILEY is a senior at Western Kentucky University majoring in creative writing and minoring in gender and women’s studies. Born and raised in Georgia, Leah considers Kentucky her second home. In her free time, Leah watches Netflix and Hulu (her favorite show right now is Scandal) and claims she reads too many fashion magazines. She has written articles for zines and the WKU Herald, focusing on issues relating to race, class, and gender.

The best moments at this year’s Golden Globes
… a.k.a. Take that, mani-cam!

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The Golden Globes were last Sunday night, and though there were a few disappointments, it was mostly a great night for women (a fact one NY Post reporter actually had the hutzpah to complain about).

 

THE HIGHLIGHTS

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On the red carpet, one of the stars of Mad Men summed up how we all feel about the head-to-toe scrutiny of women when Elisabeth Moss flipped off their ridiculous E! mani-cam. Thank you, Elizabeth, for doing what we all want to do on the red carpet. Lord knows how many times I’ve flipped off the mani-cam and the glam-o-strator and the 360 degree room and whatever other bullshit they come up with to reduce women to their looks. And, wow, was it fun to see Giuliana Rancic freak out like that.

 

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During the ceremony, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler KILLED it with an outrageously funny opening “monologue” and other hilarious bits throughout the evening including a great rejoinder to the inherent sexism of “Miss Golden Globe” by pretending Fey had an illegitmate son who was the night’s “Mr. Golden Globe.”

They didn’t shy away from women’s body issues either, explaining that “For The Dallas Buyers Club, Matthew McConaughey lost forty pounds. Or what actresses call being in a movie” and encouraging the men to “kick off your shoes, try on the ladies’, and see how awful they are.”

 

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Men who date younger women got BURNED when Tina and Amy introduce Gravity as “the story of how George Clooney would rather float away and die than spend one more minute with a woman his age.”

 

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Philomena Lee stood up for solidarity among women, saying that the movie based on her life is “not just about me; it is about all the women who have still not gotten justice.”

 

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Emma Thompson showed us what it means to be a strong woman in Hollywood when she came out to present an award carrying her high heels in one hand and a martini in another. “That red you see is my blood,” Thompson said as she held up her shoes, eventually chucking them behind her.

 

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Several winners called attention to how much their mothers helped them, including Amy Adams and Matthew McConaughey.

 

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Amy Poehler won best actress in a television comedy for playing feminist Leslie Knope on Parks & Rec! As one of my friends said, I don’t know who to love more—Amy Poehler or Leslie Knope—because both are such wonderful role models for women.

 

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Amy Poehler made out with Bono after her name was called, finally getting revenge for what Adrian Brody did to Halle Berry at the 2002 Oscars.

 

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Diane Keaton continued to challenge gender roles 37 years after she first did it in Annie Hall by wearing a men’s suit to accept the honorary Globe for Woody Allen.

 

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Melissa McCarthy presented an award, and no one made any jokes about her body. It’s the small things, isn’t it?

 

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Jimmy Fallon and Melissa McCarthy had phenomenal chemistry, making me believe they could star in a rom com together about a skinny dude and a bigger woman. Come on, Hollywood, make it happen!

 

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Robin Wright ran to the stage in her giant heels, proving that women can do anything, and despite what Meryl Streep’s character said in August: Osage County, Wright canoodled with fiance Ben Foster, showing that women really DO get better with age.

 

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Okay, I admit this one isn’t related to gender or body issues, but I also loved it when, in a moment of rare Hollywood camraderie, the cast/crew of 12 Years a Slave helped director Steve McQueen remember who to thank when he won Best Dramatic Motion Picture.

 

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THE DISAPPOINTMENTS

In addition to all the normal annoyance on the Red Carpet (including the aforementioned mani-cam, glam-o-strator, and 360-degree camera), a new tradition was introduced in which entertainment reporters repeatedly asked celebrities how much their jewels were worth, highlighting how out of touch Americans are with the state of the world.

Parks & Rec, one of the smartest television shows about a strong woman EVER, lost the Golden Globe for Best Television Comedy to Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Really, Hollywood Foreign Press? Really????!!!!!!

Diane Keaton made us cringe by reducing the female actresses in Woody Allen’s film to “Woody’s Women” and then desecrating A GIRL SCOUTS’ SONG ABOUT FEMALE FRIENDSHIP by singing it in tribute to Allen.

And possibly most important of all, the Hollywood Foreign Press ignored all of the amazing movies made by women this year. In fact, not one woman was nominated for Best Director or Best Screenplay even though 2013 brought us excellent films written and directed by Nicole Holofcener, Lake Bell, Greta Gerwig, Sarah Polley, Sofia Coppola, Julie Delpy, and many more.

New Yorkers raise the question: is walking the answer?

Almost everyone in New York is relatively fit.

 

I just returned from a week-long trip to New York City for work, and I was shocked to see, after I got home and back on the scale, that I’d lost a few pounds.

While I was in Manhattan, I ate out every meal and didn’t worry about choosing food that was not high in fat or calories. I also drank soda or juice with every meal (something I usually only do once or twice a week). I’m not saying I didn’t eat any fruit or vegetables or ate junk food the whole time I was there. I’m merely saying that I wasn’t vigilant about watching what I ate since I had enough to worry about as it was. I also didn’t make time every day to workout (which I always do at home).

So why did I lose weight?

It was obvious to me while I was there that the main difference between the lifestyle of someone who lives in New York and someone who lives in the middle of the country is transportation.

When you live in New York, you have no choice but to walk … you walk to restaurants, to theatres, to the subway. Some people also walk or bike to work. I even saw people walking to the gym.

Believe it or not, old people walk in Manhattan too!

At one point, we were walking with a 71-year-old and could barely keep up!

Two elderly women playing croquet in Central Park.

 

Simply put, for New Yorkers walking is a way of life.

After every single meal I ate in Manhattan, I had to walk either back to my hotel or to the subway at the very least. More often than not, I opted to walk all the way back to my hotel even when the subway was an option. As a result, I never felt bloated or like I’d eaten too much. Even when I came close to overeating, the walk home always made me feel better.

I also noticed on my trip that New Yorkers are MUCH thinner than people in the middle of the country, where everyone is becoming bigger. But not in New York, where a truly obese person was as hard to find as a free parking spot. I’m not talking model-thin, but just generally fit, and the people I saw who were overweight were not greatly so.

From my way of thinking, this has to be primarily about the walking.

While I was there, I asked a few of the people I saw about their exercise routines, and they all admitted that they don’t really work out even though several of them had gym memberships.

But they ALL admitted to walking several times a day.

Not only do New Yorkers walk more, but they also have more access to fresh fruit… when I was a kid growing up in New Jersey, there was a hot dog cart on every corner in Manhattan, but now there’s a hot dog cart AND a fruit cart on every corner. In one block near Union Square, I saw THREE DIFFERENT WOMEN cutting up mango that they were selling in small plastic bags.

I don’t think I have to tell you that there isn’t anybody selling fruit on street corners in middle America. Yes, we have farmer’s markets, but most of those are only open once or twice a week and only located in certain parts of town. New Yorkers have access to fresh fruit EVERYWHERE.

It’s strange to admit this because there’s currently a debate raging about inner cities that have “food deserts” (places where working class people can’t get food), but clearly that is not a problem in Manhattan.

So what’s a person in the middle of the country to do?

Years ago, I said that we need to be moving our bodies more often—not just once a day but all day long—and I still believe that’s true.

I’m not going to recommend that we all do something silly like have walking meetings at work—that just sounds ridiculous and hard to sell—but I am going to insist that we find ways to incorporate movement and exercise into our lives all day long… even if it simply means getting up from your desk every hour or so to walk around the block.

Otherwise, I fear the unthinkable might happen… people in middle America will just keep getting bigger, giving New Yorkers yet another reason to act like they are better than the rest of us.

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