Archive for average women

Why do we hate boobies?
In which I Will Not Diet officially becomes NSFW

 

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Okay, we all knew this was coming. From the second I started blogging here this post was on the horizon, biding its time until it could finally strike this unsuspecting blog and its innocent readers. [Editor’s note—you know what, Rachel? I honestly didn’t know this was coming. But I’m so glad it is.] So here it is everybody—my titty post.

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Boobs are, obviously, fantastic. Everybody likes them. Straight men, gay women, gay men, and straight women—everybody loves the tits. It’s a fact. It’s a universal constant. And the general logic with boobies is the bigger the better.

However, allow me to bring in my unpopular opinion… I think that big boobs are going out of style.

“Bwaaa?” you say, possibly doing a spit take. “But everybody likes big boobs!”

And, of course, ostensibly that’s true. I, for instance, love me some big boobs. One of the few victories I have in the world of siblings is that I have the biggest boobs of my three sisters. (I mean, they’re both A-Cups, but still.)

But I think it’s becoming increasingly apparent that, while society may talk a big talk about loving big boobs, they don’t do a whole lot to show that love.

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I got to thinking about this primarily because of a recent episode of Project Runway. Or, to be more specific, several episodes of Project Runway.

See, every season of Project Runway has at least one challenge where the contestants have to design a dress for a woman who is (GASP) not a supermodel.

And every times this happens (even though this happens every damn season and the designers should clearly see it coming) there is at least one contestant who looks at their average-sized woman and proclaims something to the effect of “What? I have to sew around boobs?!?!?

And the justification they always end up making is that they’ve never had to sew for average-sized women before! And boobs are hard! And why can’t I just keep making clothes for flat-chested size double zeros forever?

And they never seem to find it concerning they they’ve gone their whole career without ever making clothes for a woman with breasts (which in my experience are a very normal and common thing for women to have).

 Tim Gunn is obviously still a gem of a human being though.

Tim Gunn is obviously still a gem of a human being though.

 

The truth is, the fashion industry is very hostile towards titties. Take, for instance, fashion model Jourdan Dunn, who wasn’t allowed to walk for Dior because her boobs were too big.

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And we see the effects of this even outside the world of “high fashion.” Every big-boobied lady knows the struggles. All the cute lacy bras are in the little sizes, the only “modest” neckline is a turtleneck, and button-up shirts do that thing.

We live in a society that can 3-d print organs, but we can’t fix this?

We live in a society that can 3-d print organs, but we can’t fix this?

 

I’m sure we’re all aware that little breasted ladies have to deal with their own trials and tribulations as well. Don’t worry little titmice, I get it.

 It’s tough.

It’s tough.

 

But can you imagine the struggles of the ladies who are bigger than a D cup? Have you even seen a G or H cup bra for sale at Target? Because the lack of such bras is not due to the lack of G and H cup women, it’s due to a lack of interest in making such bras easily available.

And let’s not pretend that this is limited only to the fashion industry. I used to know a girl with a pretty big set of lung protectors, and she mentioned once how, at a mock interview, the interviewer told her, flat out, “you have to accept that women in your position are more susceptible to looking unprofessional. A shirt that clings like that would not be acceptable.”

I mean, she was wearing a suit, but society has still deemed this specific body part to be unprofessional. It’s worrisome.

And I think that we all know the dirty little secret behind this, which is that our society’s rejection of all things “chubby” has extended even to boobs, the two things which are supposedly allowed to be large on a lady.

But, you know, it might be a little more insidious than that. Boobs are a handy symbol of femininity. A happy bouncy fun symbol of femininity. And the lesson we’re giving to those members of the nitty gritty titty committee is that their boobs should be enjoyed by everybody but them. Yes, big boobs are fine for porn and movies and comic books, but Lord knows we aren’t gonna actually allow them out in the real world!

But Amy Schumer and her boobs continue to make the world a better place.

But Amy Schumer and her boobs continue to make the world a better place.

 

So my point is not that I don’t think big boobs are great, it’s that I think that everybody knows that they’re great, but society’s dumb standards towards women and bodies has trapped us in the no-win scenario of telling ladies that their badonkadonks are shameful, need to be hidden, and are generally unacceptable. The question we have to ask is—who wins from this? What monster benefits from beautiful boobies being hidden away and trapped in beige, ill-fitting bra prisons?

Nobody does. My point is, it’s stupid. Boobs are delightful and wonderful, and we need to stop punishing ladies for having them.

 I’m sure you were all eagerly awaiting a nip pic.

I’m sure you were all eagerly awaiting a nip pic.

 

-Rachel Sudbeck

Gabourney Sidibe is Important

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Gabourey Sidibe (GABB-UH-RAY SIDD-UH-BAY) is living everybody’s dream life sans the typical “dream body.” She’s beautiful and fabulous, and in her interviews she seems like a really cool person. (a.k.a. please be our friend, Gabby.)

Gabourey Sidibe got her first acting job with absolutely zero experience. At age 26 she went to a huge open audition at age and was given the lead role in Precious, which would later earn her almost universal accolades for her acting ability, along with an Oscar nomination for best actress.  In other words, she’s living the exact daydream we all had in middle school.

She is one of the few plus-sized actresses really in the game right now, and she’s using that exposure to encourage confidence in young girls. As as she said in her speech at the 2014 Gloria Awards, “It’s my good time, and my good life, despite what you think of me. I live my life, because I dare. I dare to show up when everyone else might hide their faces and hide their bodies in shame. I show up because I’m an asshole, and I want to have a good time.”

Gabby has dealt with more than her fair share of bullies and internet jerks, and she’s handled it with grace and aplomb. All you need to know is that, after numerous magazines and fans criticized her appearance at the 2014 Golden Globes, she made this tweet: “To people making mean comments about my GG pics, I mos def cried about it on that private jet on my way to my dream job last night. #JK

–Rachel

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

 

Assets
In which I muse on the power of butts

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I figured I would start out my term at this blog by writing about butts. They say to “write what you know,” after all. So, you know. Butts.

Let’s think about butts. Really think about them.

Let’s start with the fact that I have two sisters, and the three of us run the gamut from tall to short to redhead to brunette. We aren’t the type of sisters who look exactly alike, is my point. Nonetheless, fate saw fit to bless each of us with what my mother has deemed “the Sudbeck ass.”

The Sudbeck ass is characterized by cellulite and protrusion. It’s supported by thick thighs and sassy personalities. It’s not humongous or anything, just…prominent. It’s an ass that takes no prisoners.

Me and my ass have been through a lot together. When I was six, it was tragically maimed when I was taking a bath and fell onto a broken soap dish. What this meant was that I had to go to the hospital, naked, and get stitched up. I’m serious. My parents took me to the hospital, naked, to get thirteen stitches…

In. My. Butt.

I still have the scar, crossing my left ass cheek like a very confused snake.

Still, perhaps even more traumatic an experience happened in high school when a well-meaning boyfriend made me a mixed CD. The first song? “Baby Got Back” by Sir-Mix-a-Lot.

“Because,” he said to me, “I like your big butt, and I cannot lie.”

All I could think to say was, “Thanks?” Oh, and “I poop out of it sometimes.”

I remember the exact moment that I realized that puberty had left me with a little more junk in the trunk. I was in the Target dressing room, playing with the mirrors they have arranged to let you see yourself from different angles. I looked at myself from behind and found what, at the time, just seemed like a huge flabby mess. I was thirteen, and I was distraught.

But has anybody ever thought about how narrow the restrictions are for a perfect butt? It can’t be too big, can’t be too small, can’t be too flabby, and certainly can’t have any cellulite. It’s got to be a smooth, tan, shiny, tight little Gluteus Minimis.

It’s insane, especially since butts were made for farting and pooping and wagging in people’s faces. They’re the most fun body part that you’re gonna get, but people insist that you feel bad for having one.

Butts have a weird sort of unifying factor to me. Mine is the ass of my ancestors; I can find it on my sisters, my aunts, and my cousins (though please don’t look at your cousin’s butt at the next family reunion—people will judge).

They unite us humans on a global scale. Go to any country and the people there make butt jokes. They’ve been the subject of story and song for generations. Did you know that Mozart wrote a song called “Lick me in the Arse?” Because he did. And isn’t that kind of beautiful in a way? Mozart thought that butts were just as funny as you do. It’s like he’s reaching through the generations, through the degrees of separation, just to give everybody a friendly pat on the ass.

I guess what I’m saying is that, in all sincerity, butts are about more than fat or skinny or poop jokes or whatever. They carry stories. They unite us. They’re funny and stupid and sexy, and we shouldn’t have to apologize for them.

So I’d like you to thank your butt. Take a little time to say, “Thanks ass, I see you doing you, and I appreciate that.” Give it a smooch if you’re flexible enough. Enjoy the fact that your butt can do all of the things butts are supposed to do (or DOO. Haha, I’m hilarious). Take joy in a body part that provides such juvenile pleasures without fail.

And, if you feel like it, why not give it a little wiggle?

Rachel Sudbeck

When I’m ninety-four

As I sit here typing this, one of my good friends—at the age of 94—is struggling to recover from a massive stroke and one of my new family members—who is one year old this month—is undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia. I am terribly worried about both of them and hoping with everything I have that they are both spared any unnecessary pain. Still, for some reason, I feel content, and I want to tell you why . . .

I found out about the 94-year-old friend first, and I was crushed. What I didn’t get was why I was so upset given that I knew my friend’s time was short. Every time I saw her, I understood that it may be the last time. Not because she had been sick, but just because when you’re 94, everything is precarious.

The last time I saw Eileen she could not have been more happy. That was the day she introduced me to her new boyfriend—only 91!—for the first time even though they’d been seeing each other for a few years. After so many years of being married to someone else, it took that long for the two of them to be ready to let people outside their families know that they were together. Eileen still wears her husband’s ring on her finger, but she and her boyfriend George have found that it’s easier to go on together. Before their respective spouses died, the four of them had been friends for years. And in their grief, they have found some comfort in each other.

Eileen’s eyes were filmed over with cataracts that afternoon, and George’s legs were covered in age spots. But neither one of them seemed to notice these imperfections inside the glow of their love. And that’s why I’m crushed about Eileen—because even at 94, you still feel as alive as you did at 16.

I was reminded of Eileen and George when I watched Another Year, the latest Mike Leigh film, this past weekend and noticed, happily, that the romantic leads in the film—played by Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen (pictured above)—were similarly imperfect: he without much of his hair and she with a little extra padding around the middle. At one point, Sheen’s character says, “I’ve had some middle-aged spread” while pointing to her mid-section, and her husband says, “Nonsense, you’re beautiful.”

That was the line that made me fall in love with that movie.

I had a long talk with a single friend the other day about the importance of choosing a partner based on who a person is rather than what he or she looks like. And two days before my husband’s 42nd birthday, as we are both beginning to look more wrinkled and worn every day, I am well aware of how central this idea is to our happiness. Yes, we found each other physically attractive when we met and still do now, but it’s amazing how unimportant that seems as time passes.

So even though this has been a week full of bad news, I still feel lucky . . . lucky to be able to write, lucky to be healthy, and most of all lucky to have found someone who agrees with me about this issue, someone I hope to know when I’m 94.

Summer love handles . . . a plea to all the men out there who like to go shirtless

Ah, summer . . . t-shirts, cut-offs, flip-flops . . . the smell of a neighbor’s fire pit, the sound of a distant lawn mower. . . I’m really enjoying all of the signs of summer even though the season doesn’t officially begin for about three more weeks.

But one thing I’m not enjoying now that the days are “hot as balls” as my friend Kristin said yesterday is that the heat brings with it another summer tradition, an unwelcome one:

men without their shirts on.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love it when we come across a buff runner sans shirt on the walking trail, but I would happily give up that rare occurrence if I never again had to see his polar opposite: the all-too-common out-of-shape guy strutting around the frisbee golf course without a shirt—or the tennis court or the golf course or the basketball court or fill in the blank.

I’m all about body acceptance, but taking your shirt off in public isn’t about body acceptance if you ask me. It’s about exhibitionism. And maybe self-centeredness too. Because the message is, Look at me! I don’t have my shirt on!

And then I look and think, Why the hell did I do that?

In some ways, it feels like a violation of my privacy. My eyes shouldn’t have to be exposed to man breasts and love handles and pale stomachs with dark hairs crawling across them like spiders.

It also feels a bit selfish since women can’t do the same.

The message is: I’m hot, so I’m going to strip down, but you women just have to deal. Kind of like when your older brother got to stay out later than you and spent his whole day flaunting the fact that his curfew was one instead of midnight. I don’t like the selfishness implicit in that message.

Who knows? Maybe I’m just jealous, but it bugs me when a guy goes shirt-less in a public venue. I can’t take my shirt off, so why should he?

It’s different on the beach, a place where there is an unspoken agreement that everyone can let their shit hang out—men, women, and children. You can’t complain about it because you’re doing it too. And if for some reason you’re not, you know that stepping onto the sand means you’ve got to expect to see something unpleasant.

But in the park, it just seems wrong since it’s only the male sex that can reveal—at least legally—a part of the body that doesn’t normally see the sun.

So until women are allowed to take their shirts off in public, can you men out there please—pretty please—just keep your sweaty shirts on?

It’s a revolution! Why Lizzi Miller could change everything

196 pounds

Holy stomach roll, Batman!!!

I just found out (thanks to my cousin Jill) that a “plus-size” model is featured in Glamour this month (the September issue). Not only is it impressive that a magazine like Glamour featured a regular-sized women in its pages, it’s revolutionary!

Lizzi Miller appears naked in a Glamour article about self-esteem looking both confident and real (see the pic on the right), and the web is buzzing about it. Apparently, readers are falling all over themselves to say how much they love Miller’s very real stomach and legs, a sign that we are all ready to see women who actually look like us rather than woman who look almost as unreal as Barbie dolls.

And this isn’t even the first time Miller has graced the pages of Glamour. She also appeared in their April issue wearing nothing but a flesh-colored bikini bottom. (See the pic on the left.)

So who is this beautiful but normal-sized woman?

Lizzi Miller is an absolutely gorgeous 5’11”, 180-pound, 20-year-old “plus-size” model, and I think she is going to have to be my new hero and the patron saint of I will not diet. Miller says she wears clothing that ranges from size twelve to fourteen, and she’s been modeling for seven years. How she managed to not give into the pressure for models to be rail thin, I’ll never understand, but I admire the hell out of her for it, especially since she’s only twenty! Let me repeat—she’s only twenty! And yet she is stronger than women I know who are twice her age. It would be a huge victory if a middle-aged woman with a real body was featured in a women’s magazine, but a twenty-year-old with a real body? That’s like winning the lottery.

(By the way, I’m putting the words “plus-size” in quotation marks because I don’t understand how she can be a plus size model if she wears between a size twelve and fourteen, which, as well all know, are not plus sizes.)

Just think how models like Miller could change the way young women feel about their bodies! My ten- and fourteen-year-old nieces already claim to be watching their weight even though they are mere skin and bones, and I love thinking about them accepting themselves for the beautiful young women they are if models like Miller were to become the norm.

The best part about Miller is that she is exactly what I’ve been saying we need: a happy medium, a woman who is not a size zero and not a size twenty. Not only is she an average size—because the average woman in America wears a size twelve to fourteen—but she’s also gorgeous, happy, and comfortable in her own skin. This is exactly the kind and size of women we need to see more of in the media: she’s not only someone we can admire, she’s also someone we can aspire to look like.

This is a huge victory for those of us who are lobbying for more healthy role models, and I think we should take it as a clear sign that things are changing. This change also means that we must keep insisting that the women staring back at us from our pages and our screens look more like we do. How do we do this? We do it by voting with our dollars—by buying the September issue of Glamour in record numbers (and asking for it if it’s sold out) and by paying to see movies that feature real-sized women (see the list on the right side of this blog). We can also Google Lizzi Miller so many times that women’s magazines will have no choice but to get the message. Because the truth is, how can we possibly feel good about ourselves if we don’t embrace women like Miller?

This is a good day for average-sized women everywhere, and I honestly couldn’t be happier about the attention all of this is getting. I don’t know about you, but I needed this. I say we all celebrate this coup by putting on something sexy this week and feeling good about our gorgeous—and real—bodies in honor of this brave twenty-year-old.

One more thing . . . way to go, Lizzi!!!!!

Addendum: I just found this amazing health and fitness blog by Glamour editor-in-chief Cindi Leive—Vitamin G—which contains more info about Miller (she’s a belly dancer!) and other related issues.

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