Archive for curves

Puberty is a Rip-Off
In which I fish for compliments and ponder the struggles of being short.

So here’s a question for you…

At what age, exactly, did you first realize that you weren’t going to be beautiful?

Like, maybe you were okay looking, but when did you realize that you were never gonna be heart-stoppingly life-destroyingly gorgeous?

For me, it was a very specific moment. I was at the orthodontist in eighth grade, and he was looking at an x-ray of my hand to determine how much longer it would be until I could get jaw surgery.

“Well, you see,” he said to my mother, “there’s no real space left between the bones of her hand, so she’s pretty much done growing.”

And that was the moment when I realized that this was where I peaked.

See, I’m a pretty short person, and I don’t mean the tiny, fae-like sort of short. I’m more like the…stubby, hobbit kind of short. I’ve been short since day one. I was a short baby probably. I started out short, and whenever I grew, the other kids grew proportionately, so it’s just been a lifetime of shortness.

This has only been exacerbated by my twin brother, who is a giant. He has always been a giant. He is, currently, over a foot taller than me. They literally thought he was going to eat me in the womb. It’s probably the biggest injustice of my life.

And the real issue is that, when you’re a short kid and your behemoth of a brother is making fun of your shortness, adults always say the same thing: “She’ll grow.”

They talk about how they were short as a kid, or they throw around fancy words like “growth spurt” and “growing pains,” and it all adds up to that fact that I entered into puberty with certain expectations. There I was—little fifth grade worm Rachel—waiting to enter a pubescent chrysalis stage and bust out of it as sexy grown-up butterfly Rachel.

Now, I knew that there would be a given amount of acne, and I understood the whole business with a period, but those were all pitched to me as being mere steps in the process to becoming Adult! Rachel.

So in my imagination, puberty was a lot more transformative than it actually turned out to be. It would straighten my nose, fluff my boobs, plump my lips, and make me taller. And by the end I would be a contestant on America’s Next Top Model, because that’s what adulthood is, right?

Now imagine all of those expectations, all of those hopes and dreams, and they’re all smushed by some orthodontist telling you that your height had peaked at five-foot-two.

Okay, five foot one.

People act as if puberty is very cut and dry, start to finish. There’s kid you, there’s teenage you, and there’s adult you. So I hope I wasn’t the only one to have the shock of a lifetime when I realized one day that, hey, adult me is already here, and she still has acne!

I hope I wasn’t the only one to have the disappointing thought that this is as good as it gets.

Please don’t misunderstand. I get by. I have no real issues with how I look. I actually think I’m pretty goshdarn cute. It’s just that I was all set to become a ten, and instead I settled into, like, a six and a half (in the right light). You know, all right, but nothing really special.

And that could have been the sad end to my puberty tale except that there’s a little secret nobody tells you in middle school—

It’s hard work to be pretty.

Being pretty takes time and determination and make-up and spanx. It requires a whole lot of effort. Pretty girls don’t just wake up that way. Well, okay, maybe some lucky jerks do, but most people don’t just wake up one day and find out they’ve become gorgeous (barring plastic surgery). Pretty is something you have to cultivate. Famous people and super models look that way partially because of fortunate genetics, but also because someone is paid a lot of money to spend two hours putting make-up on them.

And the thing is, you can approach this in a few ways:

  1. You can say, “screw it. Screw everything. Screw Tyra Banks and her stupid tv show.”
  2. You can say, “I have control over how I look, and I am able to make myself prettier if I want to.”
  3. Or you can embrace a cautious mix of numbers 1 and 2.

Now, I’m never gonna be on America’s Next Top Model. (Their minimum height requirement is 5’7, the fascists.) But I also sure as hell don’t look the same as I did at age thirteen. Even if I haven’t grown in height, I’ve learned about make-up, I’ve figured out how to dress myself better (thirteen-year-old Rachel really liked cargo pants) and I’ve taken plenty of bombin’ selfies. Turns out it is possible to take the bum deal that puberty gave you and make your own gorgeous out of it. And whether that means t-shirts and yoga pants or sundresses and sandals, we’re allowed to change ourselves into any version we like.

And, just a heads up, at six-foot-three my brother is well within the requirements of America’s Next Top Model, so that’s something for him to start working towards.


Rachel Sudbeck


Why the people at TMZ can go f*** themselves

Anthony Weiner’s wiener is all anybody can talk about these days besides the royal baby. And Weiner’s wiener raises lots of interesting questions…

Why was he willing to risk everything AGAIN just to send a picture of his junk? Is he self-destructive or just a megalomaniac? Is sexting really cheating? Why does his wife continue to stand by him? And why are so many politicians unfaithful sleezeballs?

Sadly, TMZ raised another question about Weiner—a much more offensive one.

They posted bikini shots (shown above and below) of 23-year-old Sydney Leathers, the women Weiner exchanged nude photos with, and said this:

“Sydney Leathers is now going public with the body she once privately photographed for Anthony Weiner … in a bikini photo shoot that begs the question: was she really worth it, Mr. Weiner?”

After asking this question, TMZ had the nerve to INCLUDE A POLL for viewers to vote about whether or not they thought Weiner’s sexting was worth it, clearly implying that Leathers might not be hot enough to warrant ruining his career.

This question is offensive on many levels—it’s offensive to imply that a woman’s worth can be defined by her physical appearance and that it’s acceptable to vote on such an issue.

But it’s also offensive because it implies that Leathers isn’t “worth it” because she’s not super thin.

Why else would TMZ ask this question given that everything else about Leathers fits the American definition of beauty: she has long gorgeous hair, a pretty face, and flawless skin. So they must be implying that she might not be “worth it” because she has real curves.

I don’t know what seems more awful—the notion that we should vote on a woman’s worth based on shots of her in a bikini or the implication that men aren’t attracted to curvy women.

Not only is it awful, it’s just plain ignorant.

Turns out Sir Mix-A-Lot wasn’t kidding . . .

A friend turned me on to an article about curvy woman on The Art of Manliness blog, and it’s too good not to share so I’m posting it here. Enjoy!

Men Like Women with Curves;
Women Still Think Their Butts Look Too Big

A cross-post from The Art of Manliness by Brett and Kate McKay

I recently came across this interesting study (warning: nude ladies covering their lady parts with their hands) which showed that while women believe a thin figure is the female ideal, men actually prefer a more curvy lady. What was even more interesting is that this story made the front page of Digg, and while Digg users are known for their terribly disparaging and caustic comments, the vast majority agreed with the results. So what does such a story show us? First, men like women with curves. Second, women don’t believe this. Third, contrary to popular belief, men are not to blame for this disconnect. The blame lies instead with the media and the catty expectations of a woman’s female peers.

While men may not be at fault for women’s skewed body image problem, we can be part of the solution; we can support the women in our lives and help them feel better about themselves. I have been rather dismayed at the number of my female friends and family who on the surface appear confident and attractive, but inwardly are pained with acute insecurities. Even beautiful women often feel ugly, fat, and unattractive. True, some men also battle insecurities, but by and large we often feel fairly comfortable about ourselves. Just take a look at the beach at the shirtless men, their huge guts hanging over their Speedo, strolling along without a care in the world.

Let me be clear about something-at the end of the day, a man cannot make a woman feel good about herself; a woman’s self-esteem is under her control and something only she can fix and heal. But it would be most naive to not admit that we are all-men and women alike-influenced by those around us. To your lady, you are the most important and influential person in her life. And you must be valiant in protecting her heart and spirit.


Be generous with your compliments. Whenever your lady is looking luminous, let her know. I often fall into the trap of looking at my wife, thinking about how beautiful she is, but then not vocalizing that thought. I figure she already knows how pretty I think she is, so there is no need to repeat it. But I have come to realize that she can never hear it enough. Insecurities never completely go away, and my frequent and sincere compliments can buoy her up each day. Whenever your lady is experiencing self-doubt, be there with an earnest and encouraging word for her.

Don’t blatantly ogle other women. It’s natural for a man to look at other attractive women and women should understand this. But men should try to keep this impulse under control. If you’re at dinner with your lady and she sees you ogling some model-esque woman, even though she knows it’s a natural impulse, the message is still going to register as, “He wishes I looked more like that.” Feeling that you only have eyes for her will make your lady feel confident and secure.

Guard against harmful media sources. Women will admit that advertisements make them feel insecure, yet they keep on reading Cosmo and other trash that make them feel like crap. Try to steer your lady away from tabloidy rubbish. Buy her a subscription to a magazine that doesn’t set the standard of female beauty artificially high.

When magazines and television do present some fake, plastic surgery constructed stick of a woman as the female ideal, you may be thinking, “Yuck, she’s so gross,” but your lady may be thinking, “I wish I looked like that.” Interrupt these thoughts by vocalizing your distaste for women who look like they are strung out on heroin or are the result of a science experiment gone awry.

Quit watching porn. When you turn to porn to get aroused, you send this message to your lady: “You are cute, but when I really want to get excited I need to look at women with cantaloupe sized breasts” Your lady, and her alone, should do if for you. And she should know that in her heart.

Steer her away from negative friends. When a woman gets all gussied up, she’s not doing it just for you. She also wants to impress other women. And who can blame her when so many women are super judgmental and critical of their female peers. Steer your lady away from negative friends who obsess about their appearance, make comments about your lady’s appearance, and generally make your lady feel insecure.

The Art of Manliness is authored by husband and wife team, Brett and Kate McKay. It features articles on helping men be better husbands, better fathers, and better men. In our search to uncover the lost art of manliness, we’ll look to the past to find examples of manliness in action. We’ll analyze the lives of great men who knew what it meant to “man up” and hopefully learn from them. And we’ll talk about the skills, manners, and principles that every man should know.

The way we’re meant to be

198 pounds
In the August issue of Glamour magazine, there’s a wonderful article by Dr. Julie Holland called “The Cave-Woman’s Guide to Good Health.”

One of the article’s main tenets is that we all need to “eat real food.”

As Holland explains, “Women aren’t meant to be bone thin, as many of my patients strive to be. So don’t kill yourself trying to get there. Plus, guys are drawn to your body at its most natural. Some brain scans suggest that men go gaga over curves, which, after all, signify fertility.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Curvier . . . Rounder . . . Better!

191 pounds

The internet has been buzzing all week about two stories The New York Times ran after the Golden Globes, and since both relate to the issues on this blog, I want to talk about them.

First, the Times ran an article that quoted an anonymous stylist dissing Christina Hendricks’ dress (pictured above).
The stylist said it was the wrong dress for her and added that “You don’t put a big girl in a big dress.” Thankfully, the blogosphere went crazy over the idea that Hendricks is big.
As CNN explained in an article about the controversy today, “Some were upset by the post, particularly by the use of the word ‘big.’ ‘They bothered me because they called her a big girl because she’s by no means a big girl—the only thing big about her is her chest,’ said celebrity blogger Cara Harrington. Another blogger, fashion editor Vanessa Raphaely, said that by calling Hendricks ‘big,’ the Times was ‘stretching the definition of the word.'”
I couldn’t agree more.
If you look at pictures of Hendricks, it’s easy to see that she has tiny arms, a small waist, and a thin face. But what I love about Hendricks is that she has significant curves—hips, thighs, and a bust—that we can all admire.
And I also agree with the bloggers that The New York Times was foolish to print a quote that refers to Hendricks as “big” because it’s a term that carries only the ugliest of connotations. Technically, a person can be big and still gorgeous, but unfortunately, in our society, big has come to mean bad (unless you’re talking Extra Value Meals).
Like I’ve already said about the word “fat,” the word “big” should probably be avoided as a way to describe a person’s body. I remember a few years ago, a friend of ours described another friend—a man—as a “big guy,” and this comment was not only poorly received, it sent said guy on a crazy, lo-cal diet.
At first I felt like people were overreacting a bit in their criticism of The New York Times. After all, they weren’t the ones who called Hendricks big. They were just reporting it.
But maybe going after the Times is not such a bad thing. If more of us complained about these types of comments and the people who report them, maybe the media would be forced to re-evaluate how they talk about and depict women’s bodies.
At the same time, I do believe that the other criticism of the Times’ coverage of Sunday’s red carpet is unwarranted.
On Monday, the Times fashion reporter, Andy Port, said in a post called “A Rounder Golden Globes” that she thought that three actresses—Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, and Kate Hudson—looked like they had “put on a little weight.”
Bloggers and commenters unleashed on Port for this observation, but I think they failed to get her point. In the article, Port describes these women as “sporting sexier curves,” and then goes on to say that “Instead of a Barbie-doll circumference, there was suddenly, amazingly, a womanly roundess to their frames. More Marilyn than Twiggy, that’s for sure.”
Call me crazy, but it seems to me that Port is applauding this change rather than criticizing it. That’s why she uses words like “sexier” and “amazingly.” And her comment that they are “More Marilyn than Twiggy” has to be seen as a compliment because even today, even when we see far too many models with unhealthy BMIs gracing the covers of our magazines, most of us would still rather look like Marilyn Monroe than Twiggy, right?
God, I hope so.
And if that’s Port’s point, she’s not the only one who’s pleased. If she’s trying to say that Aniston, Cox, and Hudson’s new bodies might just mean that our perceptions of beauty are finally changing in our society, then I could not be happier.
Yes, Port could have been clearer about that point, but I’m still glad she said it.
Of course, he irony of this whole brouhaha is that if anyone reminds me of Monroe it is the stunning Christina Hendricks.
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