Media and Culture




#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 ...

#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 ...

#lifestagesFlying the Helicoptery Skies

41 comments | March 27th, 2012


(story by Mir, from Woulda Coulda Shoulda) We all know that post-9/11 air travel is a completely different reality than what most of us grew up experiencing. (I say "most of us" because I recently met a woman my age who'd never been on an airplane. That kind of blew my mind. I'm talking about people who had experienced commercial air travel pre-9/11 as opposed to folks who have only had the dubious pleasure of the TSA-nanny-state experience we all get to "enjoy," now.) I am one of those people who finds the new regulations... well, they're annoying, sure. It would be much nicer to just walk into the airport, locate the proper gate, and head on over, yes. But I prefer having to remove my shoes and put all my toiletries into a quart sized Ziploc bag to, say, having my plane blown up by crazy people, so the bottom line is that I'm not that bothered. In fact, I am almost always selected for either a full-body scan or a spot-check of my carry-on luggage, and---given that I am, I think, a fairly regular ...

#bodiesBody Image is Hating on Men’s Happy

5 comments | January 11th, 2012


(submitted by OOC via

Here's a bit of gender equality that can't make anyone happy - even if misery does love company.  Men are increasingly and rapidly becoming ever more dissatisfied with their own bodies and body image.  The original article points to this most recent data out of the U.K. based on a survey of 400 men:

80.7% of men use language that promotes anxiety about their body image (i.e. referring to physical flaws), compared with 75% of women. 38% of men would sacrifice at least a year of their life in exchange for a perfect body. 80.7% talked about their own or others’ appearance in ways that draw attention to weight, lack of hair or slim frame. 23% said concerns about their appearance had deterred them from going to the gym.

The author of the piece (read it here) offers the following thoughts: "the study is fairly narrow, so to be honest, I wouldn’t take most of those numbers at face value. But the study just confirms something we’ve known for awhile: That both men and women are increasingly unhappy with their bodies, in part because, well, everyone’s getting ...

#bodiesFashion’s Responsibility

2 comments | January 4th, 2012


(story by OOC via HuffingtonPost)   This first appeared in HuffPo back in September.  While it may have been more of a news story then, it's (sadly) no less topical or relevant now.  The CFDA is trying to embrace their role and responsibility, which is nothing short of great.  We look forward to some of the other major (and minor) players in the worlds of popular culture doing the same.  From the original article:  

"When the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) re-released its health guidelines earlier this year, it called for increasing awareness about eating disorder symptoms and recommended a ban on models younger than 16 walking in fashion shows. The goal was industry-specific: To address what the council's website calls the "overwhelming concern about whether some models are unhealthily thin."

But as CFDA CEO Steven Kolb acknowledged, fashion's influence is broader than that.

"As Diane [Von Furstenburg, CFDA president] and I wrote in our outreach letter to the industry ... 'Fashion Week has become a powerful voice, which reaches millions of people across the globe and we should not ...

#bodiesSee More Fat People

5 comments | December 30th, 2011

50s chestist

(Story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

One reader writes us with this:

I'd love to see more fat people on TV. In most shows I've watched it seems like very few characters are fat.

Sometimes a TV show will basically have one token fat person, like Lost or Glee. It seems rare to have multiple fat characters unless the show is specifically about fat people.

Occasionally I'll be watching a TV show and when a person who is even a little bit fat does appear someone I'm watching with will comment that they're fat like it's some sort of novelty.

It would be nice to see enough fat people on TV that it wasn't remarkable. {end story}

We've talked about this before, but not in a while.  What would you like to see more of (or less of) reflected in popular culture?  DO you see you?  How's it make you feel?  

#thecumulativeeffectThe Penis Problem

13 comments | August 30th, 2011

new chestist

(story submitted by  D H Leitner, a Chestist) D H wrote to us after seeing our announcement about The Self Esteem Act (we think).  Here's what she had to get off her chest: After reading the umpteenth story about how hollywood and society "bully's" women and girls, yet continues to dance around, dodge and avoid the reasons WHY such "bullying" even EXISTS in the first place, I find myself simply wanting to scream as clearly NOBODY is willing or brave enough to deal with the SOURCE of such rampant and esculating destructive behavior! The answer boils down to ONE thing...(excuse the pun) stroking the male penis!! From cramming our feet into tortorously devised shoes, to cutting our bodies surgically, to the unrealistic portrayals from hollywood, the male penis dictates our entire society and it is supported fully by it's counterpart testosterone! From the billions wasted on "sports" while our own people are starving, the mega billions wasted on the monstrous industry of war, to the very destruction of our planet from over population, until we recognize, ACCEPT and DEAL with the animalistic nature of man himself, we and any hope of a ...

#lifestagesStressed Like Never Before

5 comments | July 21st, 2011


(submitted by OOC via

Stress sucks and it seems to be on the rise.  And according to a recent article in teenvogue and a new study: The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2010...Super-stressed  is just status-quo for today's teens...Among the more than 200,000 incoming college freshmen who participated in the study, emotion health is at its lowest point in over 20 years."


Teens, like many of us, are being driven to achieve and succeed (to say nothing of get into college) from before they stop pooping in their diapers.  What do you thinnk happens when stressed out teens become adults...does all the stress disappear magically, or are we creating a nation of the highly stressed and emotionally unhealthy?  Teen or not, what about you and stress?  Is your emotional health at a high or low?  Tell us what's stressing you (and/or your kids)'ll feel better if you get it off your chest.

#thecumulativeeffectMexican Is Beautiful. But Missing.

17 comments | May 20th, 2011


(submitted anonymously by an OOC reader)

We first posted this piece sent in by a reader a few months ago.  We're putting it up again because we think it raises an important question about what we (that's all of us) don't see when we look out at the cultural landscape around us.  "I googled "Mexican is beautiful" and all that popped up was half naked pictures of mexican women and enchilada recipes. so i tried typing in "latina is beautiful" trying to see if the broader term would help me out. no luck."

Let's discuss this. Surely it's not for a lack of beautiful mexican women in the world, though it's def easier to list 5 blonde american women without even thinking. Who else don't we see images of in popular culture?