While there are tons of super-skinny fashion models out there, Romanian model Ioana Spangenberg—aka The Human Hourglass—insists her 20-inch waist comes naturally, even with 3 square meals a day! Recently profiled in the UK Sun, 30-year-old Spangenberg, who is 5’6″, insists she’s been desperate to gain weight since she was a teen.
She said, “No one seems to believe it, but every day I eat three big meals and I snack on chocolate and crisps all the time. I just have a small stomach. It’s a bit like having a natural gastric band — if I eat too much, I feel sick.”
She went on to explain, “In Romania it is better to be overweight, because that means you are from a wealthy family…So while my friends were going out and dating, I was sitting at home with Mars bars wishing I could fatten up.”
However, she says her husband Jan, whom she met in 2006, was “the first person who saw me as beautiful and encouraged me to celebrate my body.”
Wow. While I’m happy to hear a woman say she’s comfortable in her own skin, a 20-inch waist is, well, tiny! Several publications have pointed out that’s only a few inches more than a CD…Yikes!
It brings up some interesting questions about the modeling industry and whether showing glamorous photos of Spangenberg is an example of promoting unhealthily skinny body types. What do you think?
Yesterday, my friend, the lovely and talented Jade Sylvan, posted a great blog entry on body image, which sparked quite a discussion on Facebook. It seems that everyone has a story to share about a time when they felt judged* for how they looked or felt uncomfortable in their own skin.
It’s ridiculous the way we’re made to feel bad about our appearance—regardless of what we look like. We should be spending our time and energy doing the things that make us feel good and help us spread positive energy,
Thank you so much to Jade for putting out the word and getting a dialogue going.
Do you ever wrestle with body image issues? How do you deal?
Mattel’s Barbie has long been cited a contributor to girls’ messed up body image. Though I don’t remember being particularly fascinated with Barbie as a kid (I was more into building forts and writing plays with my friends and reading obsessively about the Titanic and other lost ocean liners—don’t judge), I definitely played with dolls, including Barbie.
In a perfect world, we’d have PMS Barbie and Double-Shift Barbie and Yoga Injury Barbie to balance out the promises of dream homes and big, perky breasts, but alas. Though I can’t say I ever believed I was supposed to grow into a six-foot tall physics-defying veterinarian, I wouldn’t be surprised if my workaholism came not only from my parents but also from the message that I was supposed to be a gymnast, a lifeguard and a Radio City Rockette. And an astronaut. Astronaut would be like that second job you do on the weekends or something when you’re not saving baby animals or winning pageants. Continue reading
Token blurry mirror photo
We all have things about ourselves that, um, stand out. For example, though I have tininess genes on both sides of the family, I also inherited the Greek/Turkish ass that comes with the territory. Even when I’m a little too thin, I still have hips and a butt—and I’d never change it. At 4’11″ and a BMI on the low end of normal, anything that keeps me from looking like a little kid is a bonus.
Studying and working in nutrition, I’m surprised that the topic of body image doesn’t come up more often amongst my peers. It almost feels like we avoid it sometimes, or try to intellectualize it. I, for one, resent the media’s not-so-subtle pressure on women to be unhappy with our appearance. Why should we want to alter our natural shape, the things that hint at who we are and where we come from? I get annoyed when I feel like one of the only people I know who’s not trying to make themselves smaller.
And hey, sometimes having a big ass can be an advantage! I actually had a conversation with my sister the other day about times our butts have saved our lives. Her story involved skiing into a tree, and while mine was a little less exciting—let’s just say this winter has involved my falling more than once in public—we agreed that a little extra padding can be very protective.
Yes, falling in front of other people is still embarrassing and a little scary (if you, like me, have a huge imagination that jumps to all kinds of worst-case scenarios), but getting up and walking away unharmed is a plus. I’m surprised and impressed by my lack of bruises…
So do yourself a favor this week and don’t hate on your butt—or whatever it is that makes you you! I know it sounds silly sometimes to say stuff like that, but we all could use a little reminder now and then.
This morning when I opened my Google reader, a headline from The Checkup of the Washington Post caught my eye:
Aack! Has comic-strip ‘Cathy’ shaped your body image?
I don’t know if any of you guys ever read Cathy in your newspaper’s weekly Funny Pages growing up, but I sure did, and I think that the self-deprecating sense of humor the main character had about herself and her body were not things I should have been reading at that age. As a child and young teen, I thought I was “supposed” to always have some kind of hangup or be displeased with my appearance because that, somehow, was what made you a woman. Weird, right? Continue reading
I can’t think of a single woman I know who doesn’t struggle with body image. Coming from all directions, we’ve got messages darting towards us about what (or whom) we should and shouldn’t look like, what we should eat and how much, how we can look better—It’s tough out there!
The National Eating Disorders Association has a wonderful list of ways to boost your body image.
Some of my personal favorites are:
- I will wear clothes that are comfortable and that make me feel comfortable in my body.
- I will list 5-10 good qualities that I have, such as understanding, intelligence, or creativity. I will repeat these to myself whenever I start to feel bad about my body.
- I will surround myself with people and things that make me feel good about myself and my abilities. When I am around people and things that support me and make me feel good, I will be less likely to base my self-esteem on the way my body looks.
- I will treat my body with respect and kindness. I will feed it, keep it active, and listen to its needs. I will remember that my body is the vehicle that will carry me to my dreams!
Another repost of a repost:
A few gems?
- Take her to places where she has to wear a swimsuit
- Leave “now” and “then” photos lying around and talk about how hot she looks in the “then” shots
- Sabotage her chair—so it breaks.
- Buy her clothes that are too small.
The pictures are terrible too.
While it doesn’t relate to food exactly, it definitely relates to body image and the way we communicate with each other about our bodies and the changes they go through.
Pieces like this make me so angry. I try to keep a clear head and think about ways in which women might tell their significant other that they’ve put on weight, but nothing like this. God…I feel like women are much more tolerant of changes in men’s bodies, yet we’re expected to adhere to the impossible standards set upon us by the male-dominated gaze of the media/society/etc.
I’ll get off my soapbox now because this isn’t supposed to be a blog where I vent about this stuff. But goddamn. Way to be part of the problem, guys…