#bodiesA Healthy Relationship With Self

13 comments | February 15th, 2012

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

When was the last time you honestly asked yourself, “How do I feel about me?” “How do I see myself?” Simple and obvious? Maybe not so much.

How we feel about ourselves and bodies affects much more than I think we realize. Our self image, confidence and feelings of self worth ricochet out through the universe — and certainly the universe of our daily lives and interactions. Our feelings impact other people, shaping their feelings about us as well as about themselves.

Do you feel happy? Confident? Beautiful? Centered in your place and mission in your workplace? At home? In relationship? With your children? With self and others?

Self-love is the battery that powers every other kind of love.

I believe many of us suffer the effects of living on an autopilot of low self esteem and negativity. We’re shut down, dismissing the very need to be in healthy dialogue with our inner selves.. The relationship with self must be nurtured first before we can expect to experience fulfilling and reciprocated relationships in other ...

#thecumulativeeffectPainted Lady

43 comments | February 14th, 2012


(story by Mir, from WouldaShoulda.com) 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 ...

#thecumulativeeffectStrangers and Self-Esteem

6 comments | February 10th, 2012

do you see me

(by OOC via Men's Health)

Oh, great.  As if our friends, family, colleagues and culture couldn't hate on our happy all by themselves - now we find that strangers can lower our self-esteem just by not looking at us.  I mean, we're strangers...aren't we supposed to not look at each other (Can you tell I grew up in NYC?)

According to the original article, researchers found that "failing to draw eye contact  can trigger feelings of social isolation and low self-esteem...curious to see how small social interactions, or lack thereof, could influence a person’s feelings of connectedness... the experimenters were instructed to walk past random students and make eye contact, smile, or purposely look through the student as if he didn’t exist. Immediately afterward, another experimenter asked the student how disconnected he felt on a scale of 1 to 5.

As it turns out, a cold eye may be more painful than a cold shoulder: The students that were made to feel invisible reported feeling 25 percent more disconnected from others."

Yowza, right?  So do a stranger a favor and make eye-contact today.  ...

#bodiesS, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL

6 comments | February 6th, 2012

double standard

(by Seth and Eva @OOC)

We shot the look-book for our women's StoryTee Collection the other day.

For those who don't know, a look-book is (as defined by Wiki)  "a collection of photographs compiled to show off a model, a photographer, a style, or a clothing line."  For Off Our Chests, it's the latter...it's showing retail buyers our new women's StoryTees, and how the shirts can be dressed up or down.  It's about giving the clothing a little attitude and context, and the retailer a little spark.

Here's the thing and the reason we bring it up at all.  We had 2 models.  They were both thin, really thin.  One was African-American and the other was white, size-wise they were "small", and we can't help but wonder if we should have had more body shape diversity, and so we feel the need to explain why a brand and platform like Off Our Chests that opens its arms and mind to the full diversity of women and their experiences as we do, did not reflect the same in our look-book.  Here's why.

Simply, we pretty much capitulated.  We gave in ...

#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 it...here 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). 

#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 ...

#thecumulativeeffectWhat’s in a Word?

24 comments | January 24th, 2012


(story by Mir, from WouldaCouldaShoulda)

So I'm currently in the middle of rehearsals for a local production of "The Vagina Monologues," and I can already tell you that this experience is invigorating in a dozen different ways. (Not the least of which being that I haven't been on stage in twenty years, and memorizing lines seems a lot more complicated now than it did back then.)

One of the things that's happening as a result of my involvement is that I find myself thinking about words a lot more often. (Warning! Profanity ahead!) If you've never seen the show, there's an entire monologue about the word "cunt." Now, I'm one of those people who believes in using proper words for learning about body parts, but that aside, I can honestly say that "cunt" probably tops the list of my least-favorite words for the female anatomy. (In can you're curious, "twat" comes in as a distant second.) Prior to "The Vagina Monologues" I've only ever heard cunt used as the basest of insults. Calling a woman a cunt is meant to reduce her to nothing but a receptacle ...

Love & SexMs.

6 comments | January 21st, 2012

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(submitted by OOC)

This was a question Maureen Dowd from the NYT asked about and during the hearings for Supreme Court Justice Kagan.  We've been talking to a lot of unmarried women lately, friends and such, and it seems more than a couple of them wold feel better being in a bad marriage than no marriage at all.  We don't get it, but who are we to judge what works for them?

What do you think?  Is the difference between single and unmarried age or a mindset?  And what about you...would you rather be (or have been) in a bad marriage than no marriage at all?  Is marriage something you think completes your expectations of self?  Let's talk about it.



4 comments | January 20th, 2012

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We first published this back in the early days of OOC, and just bumped into it again.  We thought it merited another passwith you, our new and larger audience, because so much of who we are today and how we feel about us, has to do with how our parents (often times our moms) helped us to feel...or not.

Sooooooo, did your mother teach you well, or were hers lessons you'd just as soon forget?  What?  Why?  Did your mom help instill self-resepct and self-confidence or self-loathing?  Was she happy with who she was?  How do you think that affects how you feel about you - now?  Moms.  Let's share.

#lifestagesFans, Followers, Friends

5 comments | January 19th, 2012


(by OOC via FastCompany.com)

Some of you may recall that there was a time when life was less quantifiable.  But today, we can count how many friends, fans, followers, comments, replies, likes, links, and how much Klout we all have.  Talk about the pressure of keeping up with the Joneses.

From the original FastCompany article we quote..."While it’s human nature to be social and want to help others, we also have a natural tendency to be competitive, envious, and jealous of others. It is our nature to evaluate our own lives in relative terms. I’m happier when things improve for me relative to how they used to be, but I’m also happier when things seem better for me than for my neighbor. And social media platforms now allow me to make much more direct comparisons."

Not surprisingly, their article was business focused, but the truth of the comparative and relative nature of so much of our lives holds personally as well.  We've always compared ourselves to others - for good and ill.  But now, well, there's just so much more to compare ourselves and others too, and we wonder ...

#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.  

#chestismsIf You’re a Mom, or Might 1 Day Be

3 comments | January 16th, 2012


A bunch of you flipped this to us (thank you).  From the HuffingtonPost...it's about raising a child confidently in the absence of knowing what to do situationally.  Some stories just need to be read, not introduced so here you go:


#chestismsDrew Barrymore on Happiness

1 response | January 13th, 2012


"Happiness is a choice.  You have to choose it - and you have to fight for it." 

The woman speaks her truth and the truth.


#bodiesBody Image is Hating on Men’s Happy

5 comments | January 11th, 2012


(submitted by OOC via Blisstree.com)

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 Blistree.com 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 ...

#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