“Isn’t the weather beautiful?” I was standing outside my child’s elementary school, making small talk with other parents at pick-up time. “Just about time to pull out sandals.” “Ooh, that’s right, I need to get a pedicure!” exclaimed another mom. “Wait,” I thought, “need to get a pedicure?” I had to ask. Maybe it wasn’t… Read more →
Scars and the Female Body
By Cheryl Lemus
I have a scar just under my chin that I received as a young girl when I fell into a small bush with very sharp edged branches. The wound was very deep, and it bled like a broken faucet. Of course, I screamed and cried. My mother probably should have taken me to the emergency room, but she belonged to the generation that believed you only visited the hospital if you were dying. A bleeding chin did not meet the criteria, so I covered the cut with Aloe Vera and wore a lot of band aids. The cut took a long time to heal, and as I watched the redness fade, I was happy that the scar was just below my chin because no one could see it unless they looked closely. Even as a young girl, I understood that scars were unfeminine.
Tan, Wet, Happy, and Fat?
By Cheryl Lemus
When you look at old photographs of yourself, there are many that deserve to be burned and others that inspire a giggle or two. The constant shifts in fashion have meant that you may have stashed away some unflattering pictures that include neon colors, ugly prom and bridesmaid dresses, polyester, big hair, shaved heads, and velour jogging suits. A lot of these pictures spur laughter and some just leave you puzzled and wondering, “why in hell was I wearing that?!?” Then there are those you may be hiding for one reason or another: if you are blinking and look like you’re drunk or you just woke up after a night of partying and your best friend decided to capture your messed up hair, smeared lipstick, and bloodshot eyes as a Kodak moment. Those are not too pleasant, but after a while, although you might not show them readily, you chuckle when you look at them. However, there are pictures that never see the light of day. These pictures can be of anything, but I venture to guess that many of the photographs you bury remain hidden because you believe you look fat.
Beauty and Babies
By Cheryl Lemus
Two nights ago I ran across a story about Farrah Abraham, who set off a firestorm when she posted online that she waxed and tweezed her 3-year-old daughter’s eyebrows because she had what Abraham described as a unibrow. The moment she admitted what she did, people called her insane, ignorant, and labeled her a “bad mother.” Farrah Abraham is known for her appearance on Teen Mom, a show that glorifies teenage motherhood and turns its participants into minor celebrities. Now as a mother myself, I could throw myself into the mix and condemn Abraham for falling victim to the rancid consumer culture that plagues motherhood, but I’ll refrain mainly because I, as well as most mothers, have acquiesced to the rampant consumerism that shapes our opinions, criticisms, and habits of mothering. In fact, when it comes to beauty and clothing, many mothers have become comfortable with our children mirroring our fashion choices. There are many reasons for this, but seemingly since the 1950s middle-class mothers and daughters looking like twins or looking older/younger than they are reflects changing norms regarding girlhood and motherhood. Girlhood and motherhood has become increasingly sexualized, as the pressure to look older or younger has grown.
The Fat Skinny Girl
By Cheryl Lemus
Yesterday, several media sites published comments made by Christina Aguilera to her record company during the recording of her new album Lotus. Allegedly, she told them that she was fat and that they needed to get over this idea that she was a “skinny white girl.” News about her comments spread like wildfire and there was a loud cheer for Aguilera and her acceptance of her “fatness.” Apparently though, today her rep emphatically denies that Aguilera ever said she was fat. Whatever the reason is that her people are backtracking from the “fat” statement, the celebration yesterday reflects that there is more willingness to accept celebrities who do not fit the beauty ideal wrapped around females. It gives women around the world a reason to feel content with their bodies. But, as we slowly accept that beautiful women encompass all different sizes, shapes, and colors, we are at the same time creating an ideal of female fatness. Aguilera’s (now refuted) proud statement “I’m a fat girl now,” may be a reason to celebrate, except she’s not fat. Not even close. By accepting that Aguilera is “fat,” we are only creating a myth of the fat skinny girl, who still has firm and flawless proportions. Just as we decry the ideal skinny female, the ideal fat girl does not seem to get much criticism for projecting a body that very few overweight girls and women have.
The Skinny Fat Girl
There has been a lot of controversy recently over Skinny Gossip’s criticisms of Kate Upton’s body. The site called her well-marbled and an example of how we are 80% genetically identical to cows (which is news to me). The outrage was loud and the fury palpable as website after website howled in protest over the Skinny Gossip’s insistence that Upton was fat. Yes, fat. I am not one who spends a considerable amount of time on any website (except for Nursing Clio and Facebook, of course), but I decided to devote some time on Skinny Gossip.