#thecumulativeeffectPainted Lady

43 comments | February 14th, 2012


(story by Mir, from We've already established that I hardly ever wear makeup. I could insist that this is due to my rejection of the patriarchal ideals of feminine beauty -- and you might even believe me, if I was earnest enough -- but the reality is that, mostly, I'm just lazy. Yep. I'm a feminist, sure, but I'm also not a morning person. Or even really a people person. And I don't like the way makeup feels on my face. What's more, I very rarely like the way makeup looks on people. Women who wear a full face of makeup every single day, to do things like run to the grocery store or---(my personal mind-boggling favorite) work out at the gym or go for a run---make me suspicious. I'm not unaware of the irony of not wanting to be judged for going bare-faced and then turning around and passing judgment on those who keep cosmetic companies in business, but I'm more or less okay with it. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who paints ...

#bodiesCan We?

3 comments | February 2nd, 2012

chestist threads

(story submitted by Amey, a Chestist)

Amey offered what follows as a comment to this story.  We loved you go:

It seems as women we will always be drawn to the mirror and pick apart what we don't like and remember how we liked ourselves better when...What if we start a revolutionary change...when I look into the mirror everyday I will choose one thing I like, smile at myself, and then walk away from the mirror?  Could I actually do that?  Could you? Could we as women?  One day at a time...make this change? To like what we see? {end story}

What do you think, can you make this change?  What (or who) could stop you?  (NO ONE should). 

#lifestagesCan You Fail at Growing Up?

comment | January 31st, 2012

chestist enthralled

(story submitted by Casey, a 16 yo Chestist)

We talk a lot about expectations here @OOC.  They can motivate us and they can smack our happy around like nobody's business.  Here's Casey's story, and all we want to do is give her a big digital hug (so we are). 

I feel I'm not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not popular enough, not funny enough, not smart enough.

I guess everyone in high school feels like this, but I guess I thought on the edge of sixteen I'd have something going for me. Instead I feel like a failure. I remember being in kindergarten and dreaming about being sixteen. I remember thinking that I'd be beautiful, top of my class academically, popular, and everyone's best friend. When I was really young, I was a beautiful kid. I was told that on a regular basis. I even tried modeling. When I hit puberty, that changed. I wasn't perfect anymore - and I've never gotten over that.

When I was a little kid, I figured that I'd always be beautiful and popular like I was in kindergarten. I forgot to take ...

#lifestagesStop Comparing Yourself

2 comments | January 30th, 2012

chestist swirl

(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

It seems to be an unforunate part of the human condition that we compare ourselves to others - sometimes to make oursleves feel better, but often to make oursleves feel less than and worse.  Buzzkill.  Here's one younger reader's story - and advice:

We're always comparing ourselves with others. I don't know why we girls do this, maybe it's just the way it is. We never really believe it when people say were pretty or smart or something. When my friends or other girls complain about how fat they are I look at them and I look at me. A lot of times they're skinnier than me and I think - wow if they're fat then what am I? There is the first step of self conciousness.

Then when others bag on how ugly they are I look again and compare and think - well they're prettier than me so what am I? Everytime someone says something bad about themselves I ask myself if they're better or worse than me.  Eventually you stop believing what good things others say about you ...

#lifestagesSo Ugly

6 comments | January 24th, 2012

black explosion chestist

(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

Quick...if you had to pick one, would you rather think you look good or have others think you look good?  This reader writes us with a (very) short story about how she feels. 

I just feel soooooooo ugly.  Whenever anyone says "you look beautiful", i just can not accept it. {end story}

Can you accept the compliments of others?  How about their criticisms - or just the observations that are less than flattering.  You know, like that blouse maybe doesn't go so well with your complexion?  Why do you think so many of us are quick to take critique as gospel and compliment as false?  Hmmm.  Let's #discuss.  

#lifestagesThe Happiest Girls Are the Prettiest Ones

7 comments | January 18th, 2012

party girl

(Story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

We're betting not everyone will agree with the short story that follows.  We don't.  But we do get it.  Here it is, from one of you:

Somedays you feel like the prettiest girl in the world and other days, you look at other girls and feel ugly in comparison.  And what i've learned in the great words of Audrey Hepburn is that "...the happiest girls are the prettiest girls."   And I think it's true. {end story}

Heidi Klum does seem to have it pretty good, right?  But who knows if she's really happy, and what we here @OOC HQ do think is that like having money, being pretty, is probably better than not...but in and of itself it's no guarantee of anything.  But that's just us, what about you?  Do you think Adurey and our writer are right?  Are the prettiest girls (and boys) the happiest?  What's that mean for those amongst us who aren't "pretty"?  Let's talk pretty.  Go.  

#bodiesJennifer Hudson and The Self-Esteem Act

3 comments | January 10th, 2012


Jennifer Hudson helps make the case for why we need The Self-Esteem Act, full media disclosure, and truth-in-advertising.  Or maybe it's just an overzealous, photshopping record executive that does.  You be the judge.  (via @Jezebel):

Doing the rounds for her weight-loss memoir I Got This: How I Changed My Ways And Lost What Weighed Me Down, Jennifer Hudson says she's pissed that the Photoshop hobgoblins trimmed her down to within an inch of her life for the cover of her eponymous 2008 album.

"It's like, ‘Where's the rest of me?' They Photoshopped me probably to the size I am now on that cover, when we all know I was nowhere near that," she said. "To me, it did not send out a good message. And it did not represent me well. Did I not just prove that talent is enough if I made it this far? Being who I am, being the size that I am?"  [NYDN] Sign The Self-Esteem Act petition and Support Truth-In-Advertising here  

#bodiesOh, The Things I Would Do

8 comments | January 9th, 2012

chestist threads

(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

I'm a gemini, and my rising sign is leo. You'd think I'd be the most narcisistic person ever and very very sociable. Well... I wish.

I'm not sociable at all. I do have some friends, people who know the real me, but that's all. I rarely make any new friends, I'm shy. I don't post my pictures on the Internet. I don't flirt with boys I like. Ah, and I LOVE anonymity.

Three or four years ago I realized what was holding me back. Guess what? I don't think I'm pretty and I wanted to please people's eyes.  Oh, the things I would do if I was pretty... I mean, if I FELT pretty.  Actually I don't really care what others think. I know that nobody is demanding prettiness from me, I AM. But I don't know how to change my mind... I don't even know if I want to.  {end story}

Anyone have any advice for our writer?  Any of you ever think what you would do if only you were other than who and how you are now?  What would you ...

#bodiesHow Much Do I Weigh Now

8 comments | December 1st, 2011

ona scale

(by OOC via TheGirlProject)

We first bumped into these amazing images of teenaged girls a few months back, all of which can be found in Please Read (If At All Possible): The Girl Project, by Kate Engelbrecht.

Since we both like a good cliche and happen to believe that a picture can actually be worth 1000 words, we'll be featuring a handful of images from the book over the next week.  We're hoping you'll share with us what words (even if not 1000 of them) come to mind...what they make you think of, and how they make you feel.

Our first reactions here @OOC HQ, will serve as the titles for these posts.

To check out more of The Girl Project and Kate's work,

please also check out:

#bodiesThe Vagina is Becoming Big Business

5 comments | November 10th, 2011

no one would know

This article's a bit old, a month or so, but we've been busy.  It's so good, we're just reprinting it here.  You can find the original here.

By MAE ANDERSON, AP Retail Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Celebrities are gabbing about it openly. A growing number of grooming products cater to it. And a recent TV commercial hails it as "the cradle of life" and "the center of civilization."

The vagina is becoming big business.

A generation that grew up with more graphic language and sexual images in the media is forgoing the decades-old practice of tiptoeing around female genitalia in favor of more open dialogue about it. To reach digital-age 20- and 30-somethings, who also have shortened attention spans, marketers are using ads that are edgier, more frank and sometimes downright shocking.

"Gen Y people are more relaxed about their bodies, so there's more attention to products that people would have been embarrassed to talk about before," says Deborah Mitchell, executive director for the Center for Brand and Product Management at the University of Wisconsin School of Business. "It's part of this trend of women saying, 'Hey, we're not ...

#bodies…A Stupid Waste of Time

17 comments | November 9th, 2011

stupid waste

(By OOC and via

So you might have heard about The Self-Esteem Act we've proposed, requiring "Truth in Advertising" labeling be attached to any ad or editorial that meaningfully changes the human form through digital manipulation, like photoshopping.  It's our hope that the Act might help contribute to stemming the epidemic cirsis of confidence affecting girls and women.  Not everyone agrees with us.

We bumped into the story below (reposted here with the author's permission) at  We love their site, their vision and mission, and everything they're trying to do.  We also love that they disagree with us so openly and productively and allowed us to disagree with them, equally. 

A large part of what we're hoping to accomplish with and through The Self-Esteem Act is to help mainstream a conversation about the aforementioned epidemic  - because no matter what the right answers are, they'll happen faster and with greater scale if the problems come to be understood and recognized at a mainstream level. Dissent (productive dissent) helps do this. 

And, we don't pretent to suggest that the act is the final answer or ...

#bodiesSupport The Self-Esteem Act. Come on.

comment | October 31st, 2011

Screen shot 2011-10-05 at 2.35.04 PM

#bodiesSay Cheese

50 comments | August 30th, 2011


(story by the amazing @MIr from Woulda Coulda

A few years back, my mother gave me my baby book. Inside I found twelve years of school pictures, and with them I could make a virtual flip book to page through my formative years. I could watch my hair go from short to long and back again. I could watch my wide, happy smile go from baby teeth to a jumbled mixture of permanent and temporary teeth and then... my smile disappeared for a while. It returns---post-orthodontia---at the end of high school. But even then, it's different.

It's not just that my teeth are straight in the later photos, either. You can see that I don't smile as widely or easily as I used to. The unselfconscious glee from my early days is just gone.

There's an argument to be made that very few of us retain our happy-go-lucky "oh yay, a camera! LOOK AT ME!" joy past kindergarten. Age and maturity mellow and dilute our enthusiasm, of course. But for me it wasn't just a getting-older thing. It was a growing awareness of my teeth and how prominent they were.

"Don't ...

#chestismsWe’re All FLAWD

12 comments | June 25th, 2011









 "Once you accept the fact that you're not perfect, then you develop some confidence." ~ Rosalynn Carter