According to a New York Times piece from earlier this week, teens still work out to lose weight just like they did in my mom's day, but that's not all: A recent study shows that boys are increasing their workout routines, and they're increasing their "muscle-enhancing behaviors" (everything from diet changes to steroid use) along with them.
Earlier today, Lady Gaga posted photos of herself in her underwear on her website with the caption: "Bulimia and anorexia since I was 15" and launched a new project encouraging fans to "make our flaws famous, and thus redefine the heinous."
Anything that pushes back against body snarking and encourages body diversity and acceptance is a good thing, obviously, but is Body Revolution resisting beauty standards or reinforcing them?
H&M is taking fashion douchebaggery to the next level this week by using computer-generated models in its holiday lingerie campaign. As if the photo shopping, airbrushing, pushing up, and sucking in that goes on in a typical yuletide bra commercial wasn't enough to make the average shopper want to throw on a snuggie and call it a day, now the models selling us our delicates are actually virtual.
Ahahaha! We're just hanging out, having the exact same body! What, you don't look like this?
In the U.S., food marketing and consumption is highly gendered. In the funny pages, Cathy gobbles down chocolate and Dagwood constructs towering, meaty sandwiches. On the Internet, the Women Laughing Alone With Salad is an exemplary (and hilarious) meme. Guy vegans seemed like such a quaint anomaly that a Boston Globe reporter tried to make "hegan" happen in 2010. I say "in the U.S." because the nation apparently has an extreme case of food gendering, thanks to our robust and omnipresent advertising industry and a steady, though not necessarily high-quality or healthy, food supply. In a Salon article exploring gendered representations and connotations of food, Riddhi Shah writes "In the U.S., instead, it was an extension of one's identity, a phenomenon made possible by the United States' unique history of unrivaled luxury." Put another way: you are what you eat.
Yashar Ali is the founder of The Current Conscience, which examines "politics and the personal, culture and relationship" from a progressive, feminist viewpoint. Particularly after reading his post The Key to Success: Be a Man, I was curious to mine his thoughts on how beauty and body image standards apply to men today and whether modern "masculinity" has truly reached a crisis point in Western culture.