Body Image. Eeek.




#thecumulativeeffectThe Hypocrisy of Arianna Huffington

1 response | March 7th, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 9.56.08 AM

Here are 10 headlines (and a screen shot on the left) from the front page of Huffington Post as I type. You decide if 1 by 1 or as a whole they objectify women. Or, maybe you think they help move women forward in a society that still keeps them back (whether by design or default).  We have our opinion here, and it's that Arianna is being wildly hypocritical, championing women's issues and social justice on the one hand, and overseeing a business that uses objectification and sexualization as page-bait, as regularly and consistently and in as much quantity as The Huffington Post does. Obviously we can all do and think whatever we want.  Arianna has a business to run.  But it seems to us it's nothing short of wildly hypocritical to hold yourself up as a fighter against wrongs when you keep-on perpetuating the wrongs you say you're fighting against. Here are those 10: Sweaty Selena PHOTO: Tina Fey's Swimsuit Nightmare Kate For Playboy Dita's 3D Dress "Teen Mom" Sex Tape Allison's Hot Workout Pants Renee Looks Different Naomi Watts Nearly Flashes All What Liking Boobs Could Mean LOOK: Katniss Everdeen Dons Jaw-Dropping Gown For 50 more ...

#bodiesMy Biggest Insecurity

6 comments | September 13th, 2012

chestist sad

(story submitted by Allie P., a 16 yo Chestist)

Allie may only be 16 but - sadly - nothing about how she's feeling is limited by age.  We'd bet that at least most of us have (and sometimes still do) felt this way.  How do you deal with what she's feeling?  How have you gome from feeling like shit for what you're not to feeling good about what you are?   Remember, if you share your story maybe you can help change hers.

My stomach, my chin, my butt, my thighs, everything about me is horrible. I just feel that everyone else is so much thinner and prettier, and there is no one that will accept who i am. I'm finally understanding myself a little better, but my body is still my biggest worry and insecurity. {end story}

#thecumulativeeffectHannah Montana on Body Image

4 comments | July 29th, 2012


 (by Abbie, a 17 yo Chestist)

"Nobody's perfect." - Hannah Montana


Nobody (no body) is perfect...that's a radical thought. You may "know" it already, but do you really KNOW it? And if not, it's time to ask yourself the following: In what universe does Hannah Montana know something I don't??? {end story}



#thecumulativeeffect1 Reason We Shouldn’t Compare

14 comments | July 18th, 2012

compared to what

(OOC via CNN)

Keeping up with the Joneses has been part of the American way since at least the 50s.  We compare oursleves to what they havem he, has, she has almost incessantly and certainly inextricably.  There was less to compare ourselves to, fewer data points and inputs and our social circles were limited to who we knew in the physical world, pre facebook et al.  But now, oh girl.  from the CNN report:

"Because of social networks, though, the field of competition has expanded dramatically. Now you're competing with the best pictures and the ebullient status updates of every girl you know. 'It's as if somewhere along the line, Facebook became the encyclopedia of beauty and status and comparisons.'"

If we've got a minute to spare we might just check out what's up on FB (or tw, or whatever).  And BANG BOOM ZIP, all of a sudden we're confronted with what she did, he did, she has, the party we missed and weren't invited to, the dinner that those guys had together, the fun, the laughter, the the the the...everything we weren;t ...

#bodiesSelf-Loathing, Just Like Mama Taught Me

10 comments | July 12th, 2012

Chestist Shares

(story submitted as a comment, by Lana a Chestist, and reposted here, now)

The writer first posted this as a comment to our story on Mothers, and what they teach us about ourselves - for good and ill.  Here's her story:

When I was 14, my mom told me that, for her, 130 lbs was "big." At that time, I weighed about 165 lbs. In that moment, I wanted to kill myself.

She wasn't telling me to lose weight, she was expressing her own dissatisfaction with her body. My mom has a curvy hourglass figure - she's wears a 32DD Bra and size 12 pants. Her waist is tiny but she has our family's hips bodacious booty. My whole life, my mother talked about food, and she still does. She decides to "hate" foods that have "too much fat," like cheesecake, which, I recently found out, she actually loves but told me that she hated it my whole life. She won't even drink a latte because it has "too much milk." She has been on Weight Watchers my entire life and when we went around the table ...

Body Image Liberation

3 comments | June 28th, 2012

rising podos

(story submitted by Esia, a Chestist)

I've never liked my body.  My proportions are wrong, I'm usually a little overweight, and I seem stuck in a perpetual bad hair day.

Fashion has always been my way of hiding what I don't like and showing what I do.  It's been how I help myself feel prettier.  As you can imagine, summer has been a hard season because we begin to unwrap and the beach or the pool, sheer terror.  Until last weekend. 

We were in the Hamptons and at a beautiful cocktail party on the beach.  It was summer afternoon perfect.  The water is still freezing and so only a few people were crazy enough to go in, but everyone was running around or milling around in bathing suits and various stages of Hampton's elegant causal undress.  I felt like I was hiding, and that by hiding I was keeping myself from having fun that I should be having. I decided not to do that anymore.  Dropping my wrap and taking off my little sweater to get down just to my bathing suit was an odd ...

Surrounded By Youth and Beauty

6 comments | June 13th, 2012


(story submitted by Mirror Stalker, a Chestist)

I'm no Homecoming Queen but I used to think I was "cute".  Lately it's like I'm surrounded by youth and beauty and it makes me feel old and unattractive.  Every where I look, I see women skinnier thsn me, prettier than me, younger than me, and looking like they're having more fun than me.

I don't know if it's that I'm turning 35 in a few months, or living in New York, or working in the industry I do.  It's not about having a guy, it's about feeling pretty and confident when I look in the mirror or see my reflection in a store window.  I can't stand comparing myself to other women but I have been and not favorably.  I'm seriously thinking about cosmetic "enhancements" to look younger and feel prettier. {end story} 

How we feel about how we look can influence our happyness and self-confidence in so many ways (go ahead, you can quote us on that).  You find yourself comparing you to others?  You ever win that competition or is it alwys self-defeating? 

#thecumulativeeffectSpanx on My Mind

8 comments | June 7th, 2012

50s chestist

(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

Did you read that Adele wore 4 pairs of Spanx to the Grammy's?  A week ago I read that the woman who invented Spanx is the first self-made female billionaire. 

Isn't it just fucking ironic that the first female billionaire is one because she invented a way to change how we look and help us pretend our bodies are different than they are?  I can't decide if it's a genius invention or so sad.  I've worn them before and I'll wear them again. Still, I think it's one thing to want to look differently and another when we pretend that we actually do.  Wouldn't we make fun of a guy who wore lifts?  Why is that any different?  {end story}

Ok everyone, what do you think?  Ever worn Spanx or some equivalent?  Would you?


#bodiesEating Disorder

7 comments | May 26th, 2012

cloudy talk burst

(story submitted Anonymously, by a Chestist, on rewind)

I was never the fat girl, but I was never the thin girl either. I wasn't the ugliest girl, but I was far from attracting the attention and admiration of anyone either. I had flaws, but I wasn't a flaw. And this is how I felt during my years as a teenager.

I went through puberty at a very early age. Nine years old to be exact. I always felt special-- being the tallest, being the biggest. But those feelings changed once I entered middle school and learned thin was in.

I continued to gain weight a grow, and by seventh grade I was 5'3" and 150 lbs. No one ever said to my face that I was fat. I only felt that I was because I was surrounded by prepubescent girls and t.v. shows like America's Next Top Model, that praised and glamorized size 0 bodies. And growing up in a home with a constantly dieting mother and Barbie Dolls to play with, I knew I should have been thinner.

And to be honest, I could have eaten healthier and ...

#bodiesIn The Mind’s Eye

9 comments | May 17th, 2012


(submitted by Chan, a Chestist, an OOC rewwind)

Sometimes what we think we see and what we think others see may not be the same thing.  Sometimes that's good; sometimes it sucks.  Here's what one reader sent us:

"I have this... thing where, in my mind's eye, I'm thinner than I actually am.  Catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror can be devastating.  It's not that I don't know I'm overweight: I just don't *see* myself that way, so when it's shoved in my face, it's startling to say the least." [end of story.]

Does anyone else have this mind's-eye glitch? What's the difference - if any - between what you see in the mirror and what's in your mind's eye?

Bikini Season

9 comments | May 17th, 2012

chestist threads

(story submitted anonymously, by a 25 yo Chestist)

My summer house-share starts next weekend and I am not in bikini-season shape, physically or emotionally.  I love summer but sometimes I really hate bathing suits. {end story}

Ah summer, the stuff of warm nights, cold drinks, the smell of suntan lotion...and bathing suits.  Is "bikini season" something you think about it?  How's it make you feel?

#bodiesBody Image Buzzkill

10 comments | April 21st, 2012

Screen shot 2011-10-05 at 2.35.04 PM

(story submitted anonymously, by an 18 yo Chestist) ~ On Repeat

Yesterday we spoke at the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham about the Medi and Public Health Act.  Along with other panelists, the conversation touched on what we're eaching doing to perpetutate, create and/or change norms.  It's with this in mind, that we re-share this user-submitted story from Februrary.  Here it is: 


On our FB page the other day we posted a Teddy Roosevelt quote reading "comparison is the thief of joy."  No doubt, and to think he lived before mass, popular culture.  This reader writes us with a story that takes us to a similar space.  Here's her story:

I'm 18 and have been struggling with my body image since I was 12.

I've never been overweight, but compared to the girls in magazines and all over TV, I'm huge.  I've struggled so much with comparing myself to others, starving myself and purging. As hard as I try to not have these feelings, and I try to think "maybe I can be normal and healthy and accept my body" that mentality only lasts ...

Prettier, But For That

5 comments | April 20th, 2012

chestist black scratch

(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

I've always been told I'm pretty and attractive.  I think I am.  Not gorgeous or drop-dead hot, but pretty and attractive except for one thing.

I have a scar on my lip from getting hit by a rock my brother threw in a lake when I was 12..  I always think people are staring at my lip and wonder if they're making "scar face" jokes behind my back.  I usually get insecure the first time I kiss a guy.  It's like a movie in my head, where we're moving towards each other in slow-motion in that first romantic moment and then he screams when he gets too close. 

No doubt it's a much bigger thing in my head than it is on my face but I'd feel so much prettier but for that. {end story}

Is there any one thing about you that if you had it ~ or didn't ~ would you make you feel so much prettier or better about you?

#bodiesToday: Body Image and Happyness – Twitter Chat @2pst

1 response | March 19th, 2012


For some, there's not much that can hate on your happy like your body and body image.  As if we need to tell you.

So let's talk about it - in fact, let's talk about it Wednesday the 21st, at 2pm pst/5pm est.  We'll be holding this little party at a place called Twitter. Maybe you've heard of it?

All you have to do is follow #FeelMoreBetter (and we hope you do) and join us, @AmandaDeCadenet producer and host of The Conversation; @JessWeiner body image expert and Dove's Global Beauty Ambassador; Super Model Emme of @EmmeNation, and the extraordinary people from The National Eating Disorders Association and @NEDAStaff, as we twitter-chat about how we feel about how we look - and why we feel that way.

We'll have questions for you - but don't hesitate to bring yours to and  for this amazing group. If there's anything you want to add to the conversation, or get off your chests now, hit us up in the comments. See you soon. XO

P.S. yup, we know "Happiness" is spelled with an "i".  We just think it's cuter like this....and we're all ...

#thecumulativeeffectGiving Away Our Self Esteem

11 comments | March 7th, 2012

Chestist typewriter 2

(story submitted by Sueann, a Chestist)

Do advertising and the images you see in popular culture affect how you feel about how you look?  Sueanne worries you might.  Here's her story:

I just saw a segment on a morning show about the new Levis ad campaign "women come in all shapes and sizes".

I constantly hear psychologists, doctors, sociologists, etc commenting on how the media affects our self esteem and how we start as young girls to look at advertising images as how we should be.  I want to remind EVERYONE that it is an industry that cares about making money NOT shaping your developing mind!!!!  Don't look to the pages of a fashion magazine for role models!  Look instead at the people in your world who love and care about you. 

Look to our teachers, health care providers, social workers, and the all the people in your lives who make a difference.  The change can start right now with each one of us.  Don't comment on someone's acne, weight gain, or wrinkles. Have an open mind and an open heart to the kindness and wisdom that ...