Celebrity Body Shaming Is Bad For Everyone

oscarsThere seems to be an acceptance out there of celebrity body bashing. I mentioned the other day how hurtful I think this is, not just to the celebrities themselves, but also to those we engage in this sort of talk with. Why? Because if you are willing to talk like that about someone famous, someone you have never met, then your peers are left wondering what judgments you might make of them. Just as the schoolyard bully puts others down to build him or herself up, that is what we are attempting to do when we pick apart celebrities, but instead, it brings everyone down.

One of the conversations that I overheard the day after the Oscars, was about Renee Zellweger. Apparently (I did not watch the show, but saw a clip later) she had a hard time presenting an award. The conversation began with “What was wrong with Renee!?”, but quickly escalated into full-on bashing of her physical appearance, even going so far as to suggest that she is “too slitty-eyed” and should “get an eye lift”. Instead of discussing her behavior, which is something she has control over, this group of people took the easy road and picked her apart physically. First of all, Renee is a gorgeous woman. She is also very talented. Whatever trouble she was having that night, whether it be induced by stress, alcohol, etc. is not really anyone’s concern, but if you want to comment on her less than stellar presentation that night, so be it. But to make it about her looks is low. I got to wondering, if she were of a different ethnicity, would these folks have dared comment on her eyes being squinty? Would they say that to a friend?

I also overheard much discussion about the dress that Melissa McCarthy wore. Comments about her weight were rampant, and many people resorted to calling her names. I heard her compared to a blanket and a tent. One person even said it hurt them to look at her. Ouch! One thing I want to point out, is that Melissa McCarthy is not a size zero, and therefore many designers won’t even make her a dress. Her choices are far more limited than someone as svelte as Anne Hathaway, for example. However, she chose a dress she liked, and I think she rocked it! Much of the criticism also focused on her hair, which was blown out to be big. I heard several people say she looked like she styled it by putting her head out of the car’s moon roof and letting the wind blow it back. Again, would you say that to your friend? I also just have to say, I wish I could make my hair that big!

These two women represent just two examples of celebrities I heard mean-spirited things said about after the Oscars. Honestly, I think some of those who engaged in this kind of talk, were convinced that because these people are famous, that makes it OK. Well, it is not OK.

Who are we to say what another person should or should not wear? Yes, clothing can convey some things about a person, but that idea is also a deceiving one. Sometimes someone is wearing something, and it has little to do with them as a person. A short hemline or a plunging neckline doesn’t mean someone is “easy”. Piles of jewelry do not indicate that someone is rich. Sometimes what we wear is more about how we feel wearing it. Clothes should make you feel good, confident, comfortable– whatever that may be for each individual person. I, for example, wear jeans and a hoodie some days. Others I wear a skirt, tights, and blouse with pumps. I change my clothes to fit the day and my mood. My clothing choices have nothing to do with anyone else, and neither should a celebrity’s. They are not getting dressed for you.

I urge everyone, stop partaking in a culture of judgement. Think before you speak of the impact your words might have. Are you contributing something positive, or are you making it seem OK for us to say hurtful things about one another. If you wouldn’t say it to someone you know, don’t say it about someone you don’t. Because, believe it or not, it does have an impact on who you say it to, and those who might overhear. And if you do overhear it, speak up and say “Hey, judging someone’s appearance is wrong, no matter who they are.”

Note: Also check out this great article, by Sally McGraw, who blogs over at Already Pretty: “Why Fashion-Related Judgment Is Damaging and Unnecessary



Today I want to address one of the many reasons that I started this side project of a style blog. As I have mentioned before I have always loved clothes and fashion, and at one point was even considering fashion design school. Had I ever dared to send in my applications to RISD and AI NY and been accepted, who knows what different path my life would have taken?

Despite not making it into a career, I have still always loved style and self-expression through hair and clothing. However, there are also many aspects of the fashion world that I abhor. The biggest one being the unhealthy focus on only being thin, instead of having a healthy, relaxed body attitude. I also detest the way fashion magazines always made me feel poor. $100 t-shirts and $6,000 gowns are just unrealistic for almost all people. While I realize that the fashion world seeks to inspire, and that I can replicate looks without copying them exactly, it still makes me a little bit sick to think that a few people out there actually buy such high-priced garments while others struggle to put food on their tables.

Years ago, I cancelled all of my fashion magazine subscriptions. I just could no longer bring myself to gaze at glossy images of women who represent only one body type, and who wear over-priced clothing. It was making me feel bad about myself, and I could not let that continue. So, instead, I now peruse style blogs on the internet, written by everyday people. I love style blogs of all kinds, and they have inspired me for new ways to wear my own wardrobe and put things together.

My favorite style blogs are the ones that are least like the magazines. Women who are on a budget like I am, and who discuss body image in a positive way, no matter their shape or size. People who seem more down-to-earth and have something to say about how clothes fit into their lives and represent their personalities. Bloggers whose photos don’t look like a professional shoot, photoshopped and straight from a publication. A big part of the reason that I decided to start this project is to join in with these everyday voices, and to have an outlet to express my opinion on these matters.

I think the media of the fashion world is perpetuating some negative things about what women should look like and who they should be. I hope to present myself as a real woman, who wrestles with insecurities and who wears what is realistic for my own unique life. Perhaps you will be able to relate to me in some small way. I may not be dressed chic, or high fashion, and I may not have the flashiest fashion blog out there, but that is not the point. Instead, I wish to portray the daily life aspect of style, that your clothes can bring you comfort and show your personality, without having to fit into an unrealistically constructed ideal.

It’s In My Veins



(Outfit Notes: Necklace-gift/Tank-TJ Maxx/Bracelet-gift/Jeans-Old Navy/Sandals-Target)

As I was re-sizing the photos for this post, I came to the one with the closeup of my hand, which I wanted to include to show the nail polish and bracelet, as well as the detail of the ruffling at the bottom of the tank. I saw how veiny my hand is, and considered not using the picture, and then I told myself to get over it because everyone has veins in their hands. It in no way means I have “an ugly hand”.

I got to thinking about the controversy a while back when Madonna was photographed for Dolce and Gabbana, and her hands were edited, with the veins removed. Apparently, veins are considered ugly by the fashion industry, which is totally ridiculous when you consider that they keep us alive. I caught myself falling into this trap. Can you blame my mind for going that direction, when all I see in the media are images of hands that have been photoshopped perfectly smooth?

Some women have more visible veins than others, and that is totally ok.

Going From Long To Short: A Haircut Interview

Hair can play a big part in our identities. I know that for me personally, if my hair isn’t red (or, on occasion, purple) I do not feel right. As I have gotten older, my naturally red hair had faded a bit and become kind of ashy. Somehow though, I just do not feel like myself unless the red is obvious. I used to feel silly about this until I saw an old episode of What Not To Wear, in which they did a makeover for a dance teacher who used to dance competitively. Throughout her career she dyes her hair a flaming bright red, and on the show they talked about it as her “trademark”. She expressed her vivid and unique personality in other ways too, however the curly red hair gave people an instant impression of her boldness at a glance. I completely related to this.

Hair cut and style, as much as color, can be a way of expressing yourself, and showcasing your creativity. It can also be a matter of practicality, such as getting your hair off your shoulders in the hot months, or sporting a braid because you need your hair away from your face at work. Unfortunately, society also puts pressure on people, especially women, to have a certain “acceptable” range of hairstyles. For example, having green hair might get you negative glares or judgements. Having short hair might be stereotyped as unfeminine or not ladylike. None of this is true of course, but we all know that the media makes money off of our negative self-esteem. You should have whatever hair pleases you.

A friend of mine recently went through a major hair transformation. Having had long locks all her life, my best friend Trisha made the bold decision to chop it into a short cut in one fell swoop. Because this is a decision that can be fraught with anxiety about what others might think, I decided to interview her about this decision and the experience. I hope that it might be helpful to others out there, considering a short hair cut and feeling a tad nervous, to read of someone else’s experience.


Me: When did you first think you wanted a pixie cut? Was there a specific image or person who inspired you?

Trisha: I don’t know if I can think of a specific time I decided I wanted to get a pixie. I think it happened over time. I would admire cute pixie haircuts on pinterest, but not give getting one myself much thought. Brooke Biette of [the blog] apriltwoeighty recently shaved her head, and it looked great! It made me think maybe I could make a big change too.

Me: What were your three biggest fears about cutting your hair so short?

Trisha: Well, for most of my life, the vast majority of compliments I would get about my physical appearance were about my hair. Most of the time it was about my hair color, but also about its length and body. I was afraid that by cutting it off it would make me less pretty. I was afraid that it would make me less feminine. And I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to “pull it off”.

Me: What were three things about a pixie that excited you?

Trisha: Once I had decided to get the cut, it was mostly to prove to myself that my hair did not define me. I was excited to shed my “security blanket” and find my beauty and femininity from within. I was excited for a big change, and excited to have a cut that was a style on its own (since my hair usually ended up in a ponytail.)

Me: What did you do to help yourself overcome your anxiety about the haircut?

Trisha: I read blog posts from people who had gotten pixie cuts. I searched online for pictures of regular people who had pixies, and I looked for pictures of cuts I thought would suit me. I had (many) great chats with [you], who kept reminding me that my hair was not my identity. I talked to Brooke, and asked her how she felt after shaving her head. Then I just told myself to get over myself. After all, it is just hair.

Me: How were you feeling during the cut, before it was finished?

Trisha: Making the appointment was actually the biggest hurdle for me. Once that was done, I actually felt a lot more calm. I had gone over this decision for so long, there was really nothing to think about when the cut was happening.

Me: Now that it is done, what do you love about it?

Trisha: I love that my hair has a style now! I love that I cut it even though I wasn’t sure it would look good. Since my hair is so thick, I have to take time to style it, and I like how it has inspired me to spend a bit more time on my appearance in general. Sometimes I actually think it makes me feel a bit MORE feminine!

Me: Are there any aspects of having short hair that you find challenging, or that will take some getting used to?

Trisha: It is a bit more work to style, but really not much (and I get a much bigger payoff) Since I have never had really short hair, learning to style it is taking some getting used to. I think the biggest challenge will be staying confident in knowing my real beauty and femininity comes from within. It can be hard to not let other people’s perceptions of how you should look get to you.

Me: What would you say to someone else who is thinking of going from long to short all at once?

Trisha: That’s a hard one. I think it’s a very personal decision. For me, it was better to jump right in and chop it all off all at once (plus I wanted to donate my hair). For others, it may be a better idea to go shorter gradually. Take some time to think about if you really want to cut your hair, and why. Hair does grow back, but if you are making a drastic change, it will take a long time to get your hair back to the length it was before. Try one of the virtual hairstylers online before you get your hair cut and find a cut similar to the one you want. It’s not perfect, but it can be nice to have somewhat of an idea of what it will look like before. Most importantly, remember your hair does not make you “you”.

Thanks Trisha for letting me share this interview with everyone!

Why I Love Maxis

(Outfit Notes: Top-TJ Maxx/Necklace-JC Penney/Skirt-Thrifted/Sandals-Target)

I hate shaving. Absolutely hate it. Not only is it a pain, and time-consuming, but I also have very sensitive skin that reacts badly to moisture and makes me itch. Shaving aggravates that like you wouldn’t believe. (My doctor and I have discussed the possibility that I might have a strange condition called Aquagenic Pruritis, which is sort of like an allergy to water.)

Most of the year, I do not shave. Maybe once a month I will feel like it, but that is about it. When summer comes, I do shave more frequently, but it is not without an itchy consequence. A long time ago, I decided to stop caring what people thought of me. I do not owe smooth, hairless legs to anybody. When I do shave, I am doing it for myself when the rare mood strikes me. Already this year I have gone to the beach with stubbly legs, and worn above-the-knee skirts and shorts without shaving.

I did a little research recently, into the phenomenon of why women shave and men usually don’t. I came across some information that in World War II, pin-up girl Betty Grable’s legs got her a lot of attention, even being insured by Lloyds of London for a million dollars. Advertisers and marketers, who love to make us women feel bad about ourselves and sell us things, latched onto the idea and a shaving campaign was born. Now, there is a lot of money to be made by guilting us into purchasing fancy razors, shaving lotions, depilatory creams, waxing products, and spa services.

The article I found also notes: “Greek women today (and Mediterranean women generally) don’t shave their hair. The practice has been confined largely to English-speaking women of North America and Great Britain, although one hears it’s slowly spreading elsewhere.”

Now, despite the fact that I don’t shave very often, and that I don’t care very much what other people think, I do admit that sometimes, I like to cover my legs up a bit more. This is why I love a good maxi skirt. I own two of them, and grab them when I want to wear a skirt, but feel a little extra hairy.

The one I am wearing here I found while thrifting for only a couple of dollars. It is actually a tad too big, but if I tuck an undershirt into it or belt it, that helps keep it up. I found a tutorial online for fixing a too-small waistband, and I am going to try it out sometime. I am not usually wild about wearing pink, but this sweater from TJ Maxx caught my eye one day (and was super cheap too), and I love the way the pink and minty turquoise of the skirt play off each other. As an added bonus, this outfit was extremely comfortable.

So…What are your thoughts on shaving? I would love to hear all opinions!

Shorted Out

(Outfit Notes: Earrings-gift from a friend/Blouse-Kohl’s altered/Tank-H&M/Shorts-Old Navy/Brown peep toe flats-Mudd Brand)

Oh, shorts! I have had a lifelong issue with them. For some reason, I feel less confident when I wear them than I do in skirts. However, summer is here and as a Mom, a skirt is not always the most practical choice. Ever gone down the slide on the playground in a skirt? Not the best idea.

So, I recently purchased this pair of khaki shorts at Old Navy, and I am trying to learn to love them. And the way my knees look. And the way my calves look. I remind myself that no one else is going to scrutinize my legs, and if they did that would point to a lack in their self-esteem, rather than a flaw with me. Though my legs may not be the longest and the leanest in the bunch, they have always been very strong, and without them I wouldn’t even be able to contemplate taking Simon on that playground slide.

I have learned over the years that I prefer the feeling of bermuda length shorts. They give me more coverage, don’t ride up as readily, and provide a buffer between the full length of my thighs in the sweat-inducing summer heat. I also feel a bit better about running/jumping/climbing in them without worry of what might show in various positions. Some fashion rules dictate that you have to be a tall woman to wear bermuda shorts, lest you risk appearing stubby. To me, a touch of perceived “stubbiness” is a small price to pay for all of the benefits to this length that I listed above.

In an attempt to embrace these shorts, I decided to pair them with one of my most feminine and delicate tops. I don’t often wear this lacy tunic, but since our plans this day were for shopping, errands, and time spent at home rather than in the great outdoors, I thought it would make a nice foil for the practical khaki shorts.

A couple of things I should mention here:

1-My shirt was on inside out for most of the day! No one noticed, not me, not Jeramy, and not my best friend. It wasn’t until hours later, when I was sitting in the car and glanced over at my shoulder, and the seam caught my eye. “Gosh, I don’t remember the seaming being that big on this blouse.” I thought to myself. Then it dawned on me and I quickly flipped my top the right side out. I ended up re-photographing the detail shot of the waistline later, inside the house. So, if you notice a difference from the full outfit shot to the detail that is why. Sheesh.

Also, The shirt had a different tank sewn onto it when I bought it, that was a tad too see-through for my liking so I cut it out. Now I layer the blouse over whatever tank I want.

2-The khaki color of the shorts makes me look like I am not wearing pants at a distance. This might become a problem for me. Perhaps I should have gone with the black pair?

3-I am pale, especially on my legs, but I do not care. I have never cared for the look of tans beyond sun-kissed, and that is just as well since I cannot tan anyway. In the summer, I slather the sunscreen on daily, lest I burn up. I do, however, gain freckles, which I love.

Fully Armed

(Outfit Notes: Tank-Old Navy/Earrings-Handmade by Me/Jeans-Apt.9 at Kohl’s/Peep Toe Flats-Mudd Brand)

I can’t really ever remember liking my arms. Over the years, I believe I have even uttered harsh language at them for being so rounded and fleshy. Whenever I look at photos of my wedding day, I often find myself fretting more about how fat my arms look in the pictures than able to focus on my happiness that day. And that, that is just sad and it needs to stop.

Warm weather has returned (mostly) to Maine, and last week we even hit the 80’s in temperatures with quite the humidity. On one particular day, I was all dressed, and then as soon as I got into the car I began sweating. So did Jeramy, and when he ran back into the house to change his long-sleeved shirt, I did as well. I put on this cute new tank top that I scored on sale for only eight dollars at Old Navy, and we hit the road.

I was so much more comfortable temperature-wise, but I also felt extremely uncomfortable in my own body. We stopped into a little store to grab some bottled water for our drive, and as I walked through the store all I could think was: “I feel so naked, so exposed. Surely, people are looking at my fat arms with disgust.” I could not stop obsessing. When I got back to the car, I grabbed the 3/4 length sleeve shirt I had started the day wearing, put it back on, and thought: “Who cares if I am too warm, my arms are covered.”

Later that day I told Jeramy about all of this and he reassured me. I remained unconvinced, however, until a couple of days later. I started thinking about my recent resolutions to love the body that I have. If I am able to accept my soft and rounded belly, why can’t I get over my hatred of my arms? Then I began thinking of all the wonderful things my arms do for me:

~They allow me to embrace my loved ones.
~They allow me to create art.
~They enable me to hold and cradle my child.
~They enable me to reach.
~They will help me to tend a garden someday.
~They allow me to cook.
~They help me to care for my home.
~They allow me to drive.
~They enable me to carry things.

~Even right now they are helping me to type these words, run my fingers through my hair, and sip my iced coffee.

If I lost them or the ability to use them I would realize that I was silly to hate them for their curves. To care for them I can do some strength exercises, such as a few of my favorite yoga poses. I can also stop using words like “hate” and “ugly” when talking about them.

My arms may not be slender, they may have extra flesh to pinch, they might bulge out when I flatten them to my body, but I appreciate them. They are the arms of a Mumma who lifts her toddler. They are the arms of an artist who raises her paintbrush. They are the arms of a wife who embraces her husband when he comes home. And they are the arms of a woman who is learning to love every single part of herself.