H&M Whittles Down Acceptable Body Types To Exactly One


I hope that years from now we’ll look back and laugh at the time when female clothing models were all expected to conform to a very narrow and specific range of body types. If so, we’ve got our punchline. This week, H&M has pushed this trend to the point of absurdity: Instead of accepting minor […]

A Vulva Looks Like THAT? Demystifying Female Genitalia for Teens


A few weeks ago, New York Times Magazine carried an amazing article–Teaching Good Sex—that uses a Philadelphia private school’s approach to sex ed to illustrate a simple but controversial question: What if we actually taught young people about pleasure, orgasms, healthy relationships and the wide variety of what is normal in both sexual desire and […]

Japan’s Yaeba Trend and Cosmetic Infantilization


Benjamin B. alerted us to a New York Times story about a new trend in Japan: yaeba. Some young Japanese women are now having dentists artificially enlarge their incisors so as to achieve a look associated with a small mouth crowded with teeth: Here’s some dental work to that effect, borrowed from the “after” pictures on a dentist’s website: […]

#NoShaveNovember Raises Hairy Gender Questions


When Ms. magazine asked me what I thought about #NoShaveNovember, I had never even heard of such a thing, and I couldn’t quite grasp its point. Maybe this is because I participate in something called No Shave Forever: I don’t shave my armpits and only occasionally shave my legs. So I looked up the #NoShaveNovember […]

Hot Chicks, Cold Sexists and Occupy Wall Street


In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, students of magic battle a boggart, a creature that manifests itself as your worst nightmare. With a flick of their wand and the word “Riddikulus,” students disarm the boggart by turning it into a joke, thus rendering it powerless and nonthreatening. This is exactly what Steven Greenstreet, […]

Wasp Waists and Anorexia


The cover of Vogue Italy’s September issue–timed to appear during the Sept. 21-28 Italian fashion week–featured Stella Tennant, the striking 40-year-old super model and mother of three. She’s wearing a posh dress and a nose ring. But it’s not her clothing or her accessories or her arresting expression that stand out. It’s her absurdly tiny […]

Culture-Jamming Sexist Ads


From Sociological Images: Reader Tara C. sent in a great excuse to revive an old post featuring public resistance to marketing that sexually objectifies women. As I wrote back then, this resistance shows that: Adding commentary to the ubiquitous images that surround us [can help] us to notice, even if just temporarily, that our environment […]

The Wisdom of Recovery From Eating Disorders


Full recovery turns ED into a slice of history and, perhaps, a window into your past, but it’s no longer a malevolent force with the immediate power to destroy you.

Click! A Chubby Ballerina Gets Wise

Ballet girl

I was maybe 8 or 9, my chubby self stuffed into a brand new pink leotard and tights. I was not happy in this outfit, largely because my little body did not “fit” the ballet-body type–a fact my older brother’s very tall, very thin girlfriend pointed out regularly. When I got out of the car, […]

I Have Big Thighs


Surfing Flickr, I ran across a photo taken surreptitiously of a woman sitting in a subway. Her above-the-knee skirt is slightly parted to reveal her large thighs. It was posted with the following commentary: Just wanted to point out that mini dresses really aren’t flattering – especially on…larger women. The buttons were straining, and if […]