Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I'm back from Vacation!

 By Anči

Hey readers, so as you may or may not know,  I "just" (as in two weeks ago) got back from a five week seaside vacation in Croatia-- which was pretty freaking awesome, for many (feminist, and non-feminist) reasons.

Between views like these:

hey its me!

Beaches like this:

and food like this:

I can't say i'm super thrilled to be back:

 Part of the reason I enjoyed my vacation so much, aside from getting to relax by the sea every day is that I made (and followed through with) my commitment to get fit (which is a challenge I plan on meeting, for the rest of my life--  along with dedicating a new section of my blog, (tentatively titled "Fitness and Feminism") to that very kick-ass process.)

Because getting healthy and fit-- is a worthy feminist goal, when at its core it about honoring your body, mind, and health.
 More than that though, real fitness (and no, I'm not taking the Shape Magazine version) also happens to be a tenet of basic self care, which comprises a whole host of healthful habits-- from beauty routines, to nutrition, to emotional well being.
And believe me when I say that five weeks on an Adriatic island proved a pretty ideal environment for soul searching, and general battery recharging. (which is where the semi-non-feminist portion of this essay comes in, because I know that not everyone has the means or privilege to go away to Europe for five weeks. So bear with me while I excitedly rave a bit.. keeping in mind that this was... ya know, first and foremost a long awaited trip home-- and not some luxury-spa-resort-type deal. [Which I could neither afford, nor care to take part in.])

So for me specifically, this vacation represented a welcome return to the basics-- healthy food, sunshine, hiking, and swimming. (the last of which, as a frosty Ohio dweller, I'll have to eventually trade in for stickier, more upsetting fare-- AKA our apartment complex gym)

Anyway, the end result proved much more powerful than the mere effects of a tan and a slimmer physique. (though I can't say I minded either of those outcomes.) Because what I ended up appreciating the most, is how fast, and agile I've become in my daily life. I can run, walk, swim, bike for long periods of time-- without losing my breath. That's a freaking amazing feeling for any able-bodied person. On top of that, roaming the hilly Dalmatian coast also afforded me much-needed bonding with the natural world - (which Dalmatia has plenty of-- from fields of lavender, to.. well just take a look)

I've also learned something about prioritizing-- which is to say that exercise is a choice I need to make every day-- even if it means, cutting into social activities, or (sob) new seasons of orange is the New Black. (Can you believe I still haven't started Season 2?) 

Anyway, now that I'm back I've channeled this renewal into daily workouts, and a new focus on self care...including making time to read, write... and occasionally apply one of those cheap charcoal face masks from the moral vacuum known as Walmart.

Which by the way, should be the takeaway here... I've been back in the states for two weeks, and I've already been to Walmart.

I know, Mindy.

*all non-moving pictures in this post belong to me.

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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Turns Out Our National Weight-Loss Obsession Wasn't About Health At All! (Who Knew?)

 By Anči

So after years and years, of exploiting a publicly-sanctioned focus on "health" in order to (I dunno,"scientifically?") justify an aggressive campaign of body shaming, Shape Magazine has finally made a fatal misstep--and effectively unmasked its true horned visage...as that of (yet another) unabashed agent of the male gaze. (Surprise, surprise!) Which by the way is also funny, since I'm pretty the magazine is run by actual male gays. 

So, for those of you who aren't as familiar with Shape as I am, (probably because we don't frequent the same medical buildings,) it's a magazine that purports to celebrate um, "fitness," and "female empowerment" (while exclusively featuring the boner-worthiest images of "well-being")

And Isn't it funny how fitness always seems to coincide with dude nation's current pornification agenda?
Not to mention how this pattern continues to go unnoticed, cause see, fitness is one of those magical coded terms that can easily be manipulated into appropriateness, while signifying something far more troubling and sinister.  After all, it literally means like, glowing and robust. (neither of which terms came to mind, when I saw LeAnn Rhimes on a recent-ish Shape magazine cover...)

"I'm this much fitness!"

You feeling me, readers? Most of the time, these healthy living magazines aren't as interested in advocating healthy living, as ...airbrushing abs onto hot bodies.

I can feel my blood-pressure hitting its target level already!

No one is quite as aware of this insidious hypocrisy as Brooke Birmingham-- who after undergoing (a medically justified) 170-pound weight loss, is now the picture of radiant health.

If your first thought was to gawk at her stomach, let me remind you this woman did something that millions of Americans struggle to do every day-- lose 170 pounds. She's a freaking superhero. (If you don't believe me, just try losing five pounds. I do all the time, and it's the absolute fucking worst. (Because chocolate is delicious, and running is fucking boring. Not to mention that self-sabotage can feel weirdly comforting, when you have questionable self esteem as well as an ice-box full of cheese. )

Anyway, due to her extreme weight loss, Brooke was slated to appear in Shape, as one of their featured inspirational weight loss stories-- so naturally they requested a picture of her new body to showcase in the issue... at which point shit got seriously lookist, and creepy.
Cause once Brooke provided the (above) photo of herself, the sassy sisterhood at Shape turned an even ghastlier shade of pale... (get it? cause they're probably all-white over there?)  before mumbling something to the effect of  "erm, actually, could you send us a picture with your shirt on? Not that there's anything wrong with your body--it's just that there's this new pro-shirt policy we implemented literally two seconds after we received the attached snapshot of your weird loose skin."

Of course Brooke knew  the "policy" was bullshit, and publicly outed the magazine for their incredibly degrading, shitty behavior*.... which shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone, because hello:

Which brings me to my final point: Weight loss campaigns and hardly ever about genuine concern for the overweight-- If anything, they are an excuse to bully women into submitting to the patriarchal demand for appropriate fuckability. If not, then Brooke's body would not have been deemed problematic to display in a piece about healthy body transformations.

Get it?

*after being publicly shamed, the magazine changed its mind.