• What would the women from fashion sketches look like in real life? A Brazilian modeling agency problematizes the ultra-thin body ideals of the fashion industry by pairing sketches with images of real women. *Trigger Warning* [Sociological Images]
A common trope about models is that we don't eat. Well, I'm a model and I love food. I eat often and during all parts of the day—the spicier the dish, the better. Most models—at least the ones I work with in Los Angeles—do eat, with fewer exceptions than one might expect.
Before I got too much farther in "Isn't He Lovely," I figured it would be a good idea to chat with a male about this whole "male beauty" business. Hugo Schwyzer is a proud feminist, the Gender and Sexuality Editor over at The Good Men Project, and a professor of history and gender studies at Pasadena City College. Schwyzer fielded questions about how the beauty myth applies to young men these days, how body image standards affect non-white and non-straight men, the intersection of male grooming and dress, and the modern male's latent fear of developing "man boobs."
I don't play many video or computer games (unlike, say, the amazingly knowledgeable Ouyang Dan) but I was recently thrilled when Swag Bucks, a search engine with which users earn free items, introduced their panel of games. Get store credit and entertain myself? Yes, please!
Sadly, the gift cards take some time to earn, while two of the new games' fat-shaming is immediate. Most of the simple, PopCap-esque staples one might expect are there, though nothing similar to my favorite game, Feeding Frenzy... and the programs that do involve eating kill my gaming appetite.
I've watched America's Next Top Model intermittently over the years. I can't really say why. I was never that interested in fashion magazines, which seemed to me to depict another planet altogether, accessible only to the very rich. I have, furthermore, never much understood the fascination with models. Understand that when I say that I am not trying to make any claims about the difficulty of the work they do - I don't "hate models" or anything so broad as that. It's just that they don't seem to hold for me the kind of visceral fascination they do for other people.
I admit I do have one philosophical objection to modeling. I simply do not know how we are going to build a world where everyone is valued if we keep insisting that no, really, some people are more valuable than others. Particularly if we do so on bases over which they have little individual control - such as being socially "attractive," meeting the critical mass of "pretty" that will get you on magazine covers and sigh-ingly acknowledged, by almost everyone, as "gorgeous." I don't see how that strain of the cultural conversation benefits anyone in the slightest.
This week we talk with author Laurie Halse Anderson, who's written five YA novels, including the New York Times best-seller Speak, one of the most compelling depictions of the trauma of the interior space of a teenage sexual assault survivor. Anderson has been getting letters from teen rape and incest survivors ever since she published Speak, which was her first novel, ten years ago. Her latest,Wintergirls, covers the well-worn, adolescent terrain of eating disorders through the lives of two 18-year-old girls, Lia and Cassie.
Page Turner talked with Anderson about growing up feminist, what she loves about the teen audience, personal power in a consumer-driven culture, and how Wintergirls brought to light her own issues with disordered eating and body image.