Media and Culture




#bodiesWhere’s the Outrage?

10 comments | September 24th, 2012

WTF Burst

(by FMB)

We'll admit we don't get why and where popular media chooses to focus its - and our - attention, sometimes. 

Sometimes we're outraged by the abscence of outrage in our society.  Let's all talk about Lady Gaga's weight, Amy Poehler's divorce, or Amanda Bynes' troubles , but not these #s, and the massive, epidemic crisis of confidence affecting girls.  The status quo just isn't acceptable anymore.

7 out of 10 girls 8-17 believe they aren't good enough or don't measure up in some way (We're wondering good enough for what and measure up to what or whom?)

62% of all girls feel insecure about themselves (this is a massive crisis of confidence that does and will have serious ripple effects)

57% have a mother who criticizes her own looks (hey mom, think what you will - but stop hating on yourself in front of the kids)

What do you think?  Surprised by any?  What can we do to put the focus where it needs to be (and not on Ryan's abs), and why aren't we talking about this more?.




( data from Real Girls Real Pressure, a National Report on the State ...

#bodiesBody Image Buzzkill

10 comments | April 21st, 2012

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(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 ...

#lifestagesI’m a Mean Facebook Mom

101 comments | April 17th, 2012

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(story by Mir, from Woulda Coulda Shoulda) We're hardly Luddites. My kids have their own computer. They have iPods. My daughter has a cell phone; my son has a Nook. We're a very tech-savvy family. And I use Facebook, as does my husband and, I assume, my kids' dad. I have nothing against Facebook. Still... my daughter is nearing her 14th birthday, and she still doesn't have Facebook. Because I haven't okayed it yet. Is this logical? Probably not. It started logically enough: She wanted Facebook, and many of her friends---middle-schoolers, all---had it. But the Facebook terms of service say you have to be 13, and although people are clearly bending the rules to create underage accounts, we weren't okay with that. "You're not starting your online presence with a lie," we told her, as she moped around, muttering about how everyone else's parents were cooler than we are. (Aside: I'm sure they are.) Sorry, kid. You have to be 13, and that's that. Her 13th birthday arrived, and now we couldn't use the Facebook TOS excuse. ...

#thecumulativeeffectWhy and How

8 comments | April 16th, 2012

dude, wtf

(by OOC)

Why do you think our culture objectifies women so much more than men?

Why do you think we have idioms like "man up" but no equivalent on the other side of the gender aisle?

Why is beer a "man's drink" and a white wine spritzer a "lady drink"?

Why is it okay to insult a boy or a man by saying they're acting like a girl? 

Why is acting like a girl usually presumed to be a bad thing?

Why do men hold doors for women, but women don't for men?

Why's it still more common (and sometimes expected) for a man to pick up a first-date check than a woman (if you don't go dutch)?

Why is it considered so much more natural for younger women to be with older guys than it is in the opposite?  Why are women "cougars" and men are

Why is it so much more common for physically beautiful women to be with physically unattractive men?  (Think, would you ever see a male version of Sophia Vergara ever married to a female version of Ed O'Neil?)

Why can men walk around without their shirts on every beach ...

#lifestagesWalking Tall

19 comments | April 3rd, 2012


(story by Mir, from WouldaCouldaShoulda)

It finally happened, and I have to tell you... I'm not usually all that sentimental, but it got to me. Not even when it was happening, but later.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me start over.

Yesterday I took my daughter to Goodwill with me. I've been a dedicated thrifter since high school, which is a fancy way of saying "I'm cheap and I don't mind buying used." It's only recently that my teenage daughter put two and two together and realized that the chances of me saying "yes" to a purchase at a thrift store are astronomically higher than if we're at, say, the mall. (This is a no-brainer to me. A t-shirt for $2? Sure. The same t-shirt for $35? Uh, no.) So nowadays if I say I'm going to the thrift store, she's eager to join me.

As it happens, I was looking for shorts for my son. And as it often happens when it comes to thrifting, the thing I needed that day was in short supply. It seemed silly to leave five minutes after I discovered someone had ...

#bodiesWhat Is Prettiness (and Why’s It Matter)?

9 comments | April 2nd, 2012

cloudy talk burst

(story originally submitted as a comment to Distortion, by Mir)

What is it about prettiness that makes us care so much (me included)?

We fight “you’re not pretty” messages with “yes you are, everyone’s pretty!” messages. We don’t feel a need to tell everyone that they’re athletic, or agile, or a story-teller, or musical, or scientific-minded, or a great linguist. We accept that there are degrees of talent or luck and if you’re at the low end of these, that’s fine. Go be great at the things you’re great at.

Kind-of drives home how much prettiness matters, which is just weird.  {end story}  

Why do we care so much about "prettiness"?  Do you care about prettiness?  What do you think pretty is?

#bodiesWhere’s the Outrage?

8 comments | March 23rd, 2012

dude, wtf

So Kim Kardashian get hit with a flour-bomb last night at the launch of her new perfume?  Does Katy really have a new guy? 

Doesn't it sometimes seem like popular culture is focusing on things that maybe just don't matter all that much (and, we like gossip as much as anyone) and on those things that affect one or two of us but not that many of us?  Does it ever seem that maybe we should spend more time talking about things like this...


- 50% of children 8-10 years old report being "unhappy" with their bodies?

- More than 81% of 10-year-olds said they are terrified of "getting fat."

- 80% of women feel worse about themselves after seeing a beauty ad?

We could go on - and on.  We won't though.  But we will invite you to keep joining us - and so many others fighting this fight day to day - to try and make a difference.  We'll ask you to use your voice to ask "WTF" is going on and question how we begin to change it ...

Photo Shop Law Passed in Israel

comment | March 21st, 2012


13 comments | March 20th, 2012

rated wtf

(story submitted by Dina Gachman, from Bureaucracy for Breakfast)

My three-year-old niece had to get glasses a few months back. Her specs are flashy and pink and she adores them (she’s a mini fashionista), yet seeing her so proudly push the glasses up her nose for the first time, one of my first thoughts was: “If any kids make fun of her I’ll kill them.” Obviously that’s an exaggeration, but the knee-jerk reaction to her innocent little accessory came from a fact most of us know all too well: Kids can be cruel. Bullying happens, and it’s not pretty.

Last night I got the chance to see the controversial documentary BULLY. If you haven’t heard, the reason it’s controversial isn’t because it’s a heartbreaking, honest, raw look at real kids across the US being physically and verbally pummeled by their classmates while their teachers and administrators shrug it off. It’s not because it frankly looks at what it’s like to be a gay teen in a small Oklahoma town (newsflash – it’s hell), or because it doesn’t sugar-coat the horror of parents dealing with the suicide of ...

Love & SexWhy Can’t Women Sleep Around?

51 comments | March 13th, 2012

chestist blue

(story submitted by KSE, a Chestist)

This writer's wondering why her BF has a problem with the number of guys she's been with.  Here's her story:

I've been with a lot of guys.  Not hundreds but a lot.  I like sex and I like men and I like having sex with men.  I've been with my boyfriend for 3 years.  He hasn't slept with that many women and I think it freaks him out that I've had so much more sex and so many more partners than he has.  Isn't that so sexist of him?  His being all freaked out about my past make me wonder if we can have a future. If the situations were reversed, and he'd had slept with a lot more people than me, he wouldn't think twice and wouldn't expect me to either.  It's 2012.  Why can't women sleep around and have it be as much of a no-biggie as when guys do? 

We agree @OOC HQ agree...there's still this cultural double standard about women and sex that doesn't exist for men.  You agree or disagree?  Why do you think the double ...

#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 ...

#thecumulativeeffectSmile When Happy

5 comments | March 5th, 2012

chestist swirl2

(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

We pretty much love this, sent in by one of you. Here's what she's thinking about "hi, how are you?"

Sometimes I think politeness has ruined honesty.

It's expected that you ask someone how they're doing whether or not you care and that they say "fine, thanks" whether or not they are. It doesn't mean much when someone says "have a nice day," because in the service world, it's basically a verbal twitch. Also, not to hate on one of my all time favorite things, but smiling (not the real ones) is getting a little out of hand. I think all this fake-happy, fake-fine, fake-consideration is making people feel lonely and get in the practice of lying to people.

I think that if we were all honest and just stopped using ridiculous words like "fine" altogether, smiled when happy, and asked questions when curious, we'd all feel a lot more at home in the world.  

You find yourself hiding yourself behind false platitudes and politeness?  Is it hiding or is it just being part of society?  Do you think we'd (you'd) feel ...

#chestismsHooray for Hollywood?

14 comments | February 23rd, 2012

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(Submitted by Eva and Seth @OffOurChests, originally last year and again this - and next if we have to)

  Here's the thing.  Hollywood built and paid for our house.  Actually, it paid for it and pretty much everything else in our lives, including this here thing we call Off Our Chests.  The point we want to make upfront is, we're lovers not haters.

But as we approach the Oscars, there's another point we want to make about Hollywood.  Popular culture being both, how do we say popular and cultural, influences and shapes how feel, what we think about, talk about and wonder about.  And it can wield this power for good and ill, passively or actively.  Hollywood can raise and sometimes even change our consciousness - or just fuck with it.

Of course we're talking about Hollywood broadly and metaphorically here, and we really mean the purveyors of the stuff of popular culture.  We're talking about the product (movies, music, tv, video games, fashion, celebrity...) they make and which we consume, and that maybe too often consume some of ...

#bodiesEnding the Myth

8 comments | February 22nd, 2012

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(story by Carre Otis, a Chestist, and author of Beauty Disrupted)

Motherhood has brought me many joys and insights, but the new perspective it granted me on the role I had inadvertently played in young women’s lives for the 2 decades I spent in the modeling industry was downright sobering.

Although everyone who works in the industry senses how discriminating it can be — against size, against age and against so much more — I had given very little thought to the ways in which I had personally been part of the problem. Once it did occur to me; though, I knew I had to be part of the solution.

I was essentially paid to perpetuate the myth that we are all, or should at least try to be, 17 and a size 2 forever.

For those of us who are older than 17, that means trying to turn back the hands of time… and for those of us who are younger, it means trying to accelerate time — literally growing up before our time. As a young model I was placed in impossibly ...

#bodiesRenaming The Self-Esteem Act

comment | February 1st, 2012


What's in a name, anyway?  We'll find out.  We're renaming The Self Esteem Act, and from now on it will be known as the Media and Public Health Act.  What?!  Yes, that's right, the Media and Public Health Act.  Catchy, no?  Everything about its intent, its focus, and our call for Truth-in-Advertising labeling remains exactly the same.

So why change the name?  A few reasons.  One, along with the amazing people at the National Eating Disorder Association who are joining with us as co-sponsors of the Media and Public Health Act, we wanted to make crystal clear the cause and effect relationship between the media (and media industries) and public health (ie how people feel and don't, and the consequences of same, based on the images we're served up - and not).

Two, since we first announced it, there have been some who have stood with us and supported the Act's intent but who felt "self-esteem" was not the right articulation of the problem nor the psychological consequence. 

Three, after looking at 1 and 2 together, we took a look at the grassroots support we'd captured so far - and ...