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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex in Media: Books, Magazines, Films, TV & More » Positive examples of your body type in the media

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Author Topic: Positive examples of your body type in the media
Atonement
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Everyone knows that as long as you are healthy, body type really shouldn't matter.

As the 20 year old that I am now, my body image has come a LONG way from what it was when I was just starting high school. I consider myself attractive enough, and my doctor says that my weight is within the range of healthy.

However, when flipping through magazines at work and running into articles harshly critiquing the bodies of celebrities, It can be easy to start thinking "wow, they're calling her fat, and her waist is much smaller than mine.

One thing that always helps my body image is to find beautiful representations of MY body type.

The best I've found so far are Botticelli's paintings, such as La Primavera and Birth of Venus. The women in these paintings have many of the "flaws" that I do, but are still considered some of the most beautiful paintings in the world 500 years later.

So, do you know of a painting/celebrity/ artistic representation that makes you feel good about your body?

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Bun Bun
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Alphonse Mucha is my absolute favourite artist and a lot of his works depict some mighty beautiful women with delicious curved tummies and hips. I've chosen to plaster my walls with them, and because my body is similar it always makes me feel confident, sexy and beautiful!
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Lilerse
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I don't remember which magazine it was, but there was an edition that came out several years ago where Jamie Lee Curtis was pictured makeupless and not-touched-up and in positions that revealed her "imperfect" - and real - body. I thought that was pretty cool.
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Krampus
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atonement9, I see you are a fellow renaissance connoisseur. [Wink]

I have that tall, lanky look that is "celebrated" in the media. Although, many of us here can see the many issues with the portrayal of the "model" body type.

I'm not happy I got stuck in a taffy puller at the age of 13, but there is one woman with this body type I find really inspirational. The artist Imogen Heap, at about 6' and definitely no where near "overweight", portrays herself with amazing dignity. Her stature (which is very clear from her body proportions even without a reference) is presented with nothing less than what I see as beautiful. Obviously I don't know this artist personally but I've always found there is an air of benevolence and refreshing creativity in her images. Something very unconventionally elegant without being pretentious.

As a tall/lanky girl who often feels too large and too thin, she is an inspiration. Where I can see my stature causing me to be oversized/freakish, on her it becomes a symbol of nonthreatening strength and beauty.

[ 06-30-2010, 12:45 AM: Message edited by: Krampus ]

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YourLadyship
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Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) said in a recent interview that she LOVES having a womanly shape. She speaks of a time she stayed in Italy with her family and drank cappucinnos every day and gained about 15 pounds. She continues to say that she looked in the mirror each day after the weight gain and thought, "I love this! I have the body of a woman. I have curves and softness."

I thought that was awesome since I am struggling with my new womanly figure. I am now a size 5 at 20 when I used to be a 00 at 14. I need to get over that image and embrace my 116 pound body, fatty soft parts and all!

[ 07-01-2010, 11:20 PM: Message edited by: YourLadyship ]

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Cloverdance
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Lilerse, I remember that photo shoot with Jamie Lee Curtis! I loved it too. It was for More magazine, and they have a small excerpt of the original article on their website:

http://www.more.com/2049/2464-jamie-lee-curtis-true-thighs

I feel good about my body whenever I see artsy photographs of women who don't have the typical Playboy look. Not that those women aren't beautiful too, but I get excited when women who don't fit the "ideal" are posing for pretty pictures.

I really like the photos on this website... but WARNING, THERE IS NUDITY!

http://adipositivity.my-expressions.com

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The meaning of happiness is whatever you want it to be.

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Krampus
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quote:
Originally posted by Cloverdance:

I really like the photos on this website... but WARNING, THERE IS NUDITY!

http://adipositivity.my-expressions.com

I dare say madam, indubitably a fine choice in website!

http://fuckyeahcurvybitch.tumblr.com/

That website is also nice for photography concerning a shape of woman less celebrated in the media, although like your link it does contain some artistic nudes/pin ups.

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polyprotic
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YourLadyship: Christina Hendricks is definitely a good representation of the slim woman with curves. I'm a size 4 with FFs, and it's nice to see someone with a similar body type taking on such smart roles as she has, rather than the typical sex objects (okay, she does fit that bill on the surface of her Mad Men character Joan. But the beauty of Mad Men is that it shows such depth to all its characters, within the show's historical context. I find her character especially interesting. Super stoked for the new season [Smile] )

She's also unafraid to flaunt her porcelain skin. I think it's such a shame when fair-skinned people make themselves look orange with fake tanner. I enjoy my pastiness, and it's good to see an attractive woman rock it.

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Jill2000Plus
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I have very light skin, and I get sick of everyone always saying "you look pale" everytime I exhibit any indication that I may not be fighting fit and stress free. I look pale. Because I have. Pale skin. And because. I wear suncream and sunhats and other sun protection paraphernalia in the summer. Because tans are bad for you. Even if they don't hurt the way sunburn does.

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Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

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Atonement
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Jill, I know how you feel.

I'm half- Hispanic, and while my dad and siblings are rather dark, I came out very pale, even paler than my 100% Caucasian mom.

All my life, my parents I believe have tried to overcompensate for racism by painting dark skin to be the absolute ideal. While that has been a great ego boost for my darker siblings, it used to cause a lot of insecurity with me.

I have to hear comments from my family like "Gosh, you need to get some sun" every time I wear shorts. I also get a lot of "friendly teasing" from my coworkers, who are mostly African American.

But the think is, I really don't care. For one thing, I'm on an acne medicine that forbids excessive sun exposure. Also, increased sun exposure can cause skin cancer.

Plus, I think pale skin is a good fit with my other features. I'm really not interested in going and baking myself, so I usually just ignore them.

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ilovenerds
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quote:
Originally posted by Jill2000Plus:
I have very light skin, and I get sick of everyone always saying "you look pale" everytime I exhibit any indication that I may not be fighting fit and stress free. I look pale. Because I have. Pale skin. And because. I wear suncream and sunhats and other sun protection paraphernalia in the summer. Because tans are bad for you. Even if they don't hurt the way sunburn does.

Way true! I have white skin. Many makeup brands don't carry shades light enough. I also have naturally jet-black hair, green eyes, and dark under eye circles from heredity. I also have sort of "sunken" features, like high cheek bones and hollowed cheeks. I am often told that I "look peaked" (thanks, grandma), but I think I look... exotic. Even though my features look unnatural and odd, many people stop me on the street and say that I am beautiful and unusual.

I have tried to balance my features be tanning (I burned, then freckled, then turned white again), then bleached my hair ginger (pretty and natural looking, but damaging my hair beyond repair). In the end, I enjoy the coloring I was born with.

As for weight, I recently lost 50 pounds. I never really thought about my weight and was comfortable with my body. I had to lose the weight due to polycystic ovary syndrome. I was put on metformin to shed the pounds. It worked, but much too quickly. I am thin now, but it just added to my sunken features. Now, I am at a BMI of 19 instead of 29. I may be healthier, but I am much more concerned about my appearance than before (I still have crazy maddd cellulite!). Many people see my weight loss and my features like sunken cheeks and dark circles and feel sorry for me, thinking I am ill. Oh well. I feel pretty and unique. I am the opposite of a blonde, tanned model. I am pale, peaked, dark haired girl that has more self confidence than "pretty" girls, and that's all that matters.

/rant.

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ForeverLove
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I think people just focus way too much on looks. It's nice to feel attractive, but we would be a far more productive society if we focused on science, literature, and the arts -- instead of wasting our precious time on things we really shouldn't change. The money we spend on plastic surgery is really ridiculous. . . especially when you think about the mouths that we can feed with that $2,000 boob job or that $6,000 rhinoplasty. It's sickening and upsetting, really.

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how much is plan b at walmart?

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Lilerse
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I get the whole pale skin too. People just randomly tell me "you have such pale skin" (like I haven't noticed..) or "I am so much tanner than you! Look!" (like that's something to be proud of!).

I love pale skin. I love dark skin on people who are SUPPOSED to have dark skin - I dated this guy who was a mix of Bangladeshi, black, and Native American and he had BEAUTIFUL skin - but white people. are supposed to. be white. I really don't find tan white people very attractive at all.

I especially love girls with pale skin..dark hair and pale skin is so incredibly gorgeous to me. I'm seeing a girl like that right now, and she always tells me how much she loves my pale skin too; I'm glad someone else appreciates it [Smile]

I was seeing this guy a few weeks ago though who wouldn't let me see him shirtless because he was so self-conscious about his paleness. He's English and German and Norwegian..what does he think I'm expecting? I know he's pale. He keeps joking about how he's going to blind me with the whiteness..but it really doesn't bother me. At all. I wish he'd believe me.

Anyhoo, it is pretty hard to find pale-skinned celebrities; as much as Cosmo likes to remind us to protect ourselves from the sun and not go to tanning salons (and that I do appreciate), they still love to show models on their covers with unnaturally tan skin.

At the same time, super dark skin certainly isn't celebrated either - we have celebrities like Beyonce, Rihanna, and Hallie Berry, who a lot of people use as an excuse that "America's not racist anymore," when they're not very black anyway..they're beautiful, but they aren't very dark, they don't keep their natural black hair either, and they don't have many black features in general. I wish there was a totally-black celebrity out there..like my ex-boyfriend (who was very dark, and was actually made fun of by his black peers when he was younger for being so dark!).

People really need to start accepting their color the way it is!

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Karybu
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Just a reminder for everyone: please keep this thread positive. Being proud of your body type and the way you look is great, but it can be done without criticizing others for the way they look or the choices they've made with their bodies. Thanks!

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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Lilerse
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But I feel like you shouldn't be positive about doing something that harms you, and tanning is definitely harmful..
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Heather
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I'm technically still out of the office today, but please refer to the intent of the original post, Lilerse, okay? It was about positive representations of one's own body in the media, not about who someone finds or does not find attractive.

If someone comes to a thread like this with the clear -- and valid -- idea they're going to see positives, seeing comments from someone about what they find attractive or don't in others, and about who is white enough or black enough for that person's aesthetics (an issue so huge it'd take it's own thread to unpack, and certainly more than a couple books have been written on the matter), positive is not likely how a lot of people are going to wind up feeling.

So, let's please keep this thread with the wonderful positive intent it had: about where YOU see positive representations of YOURSELF. Thanks!

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Jill2000Plus
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I'm sorry if I started it off, I would never say it was ugly to have a tan, I think everyone is beautiful, I'm just frustrated at the way people always seem to think I'm sick because I have pale skin, even though tanning isn't healthy. But just because someone isn't optimally healthy (and I certainly am not), that doesn't mean they aren't beautiful and I hope I didn't send out that message with my previous post. I've never really looked for positive portrayals of light skin because I tend to think of that as racist, even though really everyone should get to feel beautiful. Positive portrayals I have seen: there's a porn star on a feminist porn site I visit who has red hair and very pale skin and she's quite a large size like I am and she totally owns her look, she's comfortable and happy in her body (note I actually have brown hair). Nina Persson from The Cardigans is quite pale and she is pretty cool. Beth Ditto, who is both fat and full of self confidence. Ricki Lake in the original Hairspray. Nani and Lilo in Lilo and Stitch have tummy fat and thick legs and round faces and really helped me feel better about the way I looked as a teenager. I'm trying to think of positive portrayals of short women that aren't "oh, you're soo cuuuute!" which is very patronising. There was a character called Sophie in this series of books I read as a child who wanted to be a lady farmer, and she was short and stocky and very determined. While Judy Garland hardly had the happiest of lives, she was an amazing actress and singer and she was quite short like I am, I know she didn't feel happy about her looks, but in The Wizard of Oz I was amazed at how strong she looked, she was determined and brave and not patronised as cute or adorable but just a girl, who could have looked all sorts of ways, on a wonderful adventure (I think that movie's equation of physical beauty with goodness was a steaming pile of u-kno-what though, particularly since all the guys look quite quirky in their costumes but the women get divided up like that).

[ 07-28-2010, 02:29 PM: Message edited by: Jill2000Plus ]

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Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

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Atonement
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As for shorter people, a lot of the people that are usually portrayed as beautiful (like well known celebrities) are short, but we just don't realize it because of the way they're photographed.

I'f I'm not mistaken, Eva Longoria is under 5 feet tall.

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secretive
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I must object to the use of the word 'womanly' to describe women with larger breasts and bums, because it implies that a woman without those things isnt a woman or cant be sexy. I read stuff like this in the media all the time and its really hurtful.
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Heather
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It sounds like it might be helpful to make an offshoot of this thread discussing how often -- often even unintentionally -- people's ways of getting to positive body image for themselves can involve making negatives/invisibility for others?

Because it certainly is a big issue, does happens often -- as we can even see in some posts here -- and I think it's very much worth talking about, both to help support EVERYONE having a positive body image, but also to make sure one's own is really standing on stable legs, if you get me.

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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polyprotic
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I just realized I might have been one of the ones to touch this off. I tried to edit my post, but it's been too long I guess. Just thought I should clear up what I meant in that case. I was referring more to the general hollywood standard of bronzed beauties (and many who obviously do not come by that color naturally). So what I should have said is that I think it's a shame that, through the representation of beauty in the media, by and large we are taught that one portion of the skin tone spectrum is more desirable than another and that we should attempt to alter our appearances to meet that standard. I see absolutely no issue with individuals who choose to make their own decisions on their personal care. But I do see the issue in the media attempting to define a singular standard of what is desirable.

I definitely get what you're saying, Heather. There's an extremely fine line between supporting one side and stepping on the toes of the other. Or even unintentionally leading people to believe that you are on one side or another at all. It's especially easy to do when you don't make yourself clear. Sorry that I didn't!

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Jill2000Plus
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Actually, I'd like to add more clarification too. I don't think it's per se wrong to point out when something is unhealthy, but I do think it's wrong to tell someone what to do with their own body, or to shame them about those decisions, or to tell them they aren't beautiful, or to repeatedly go on at someone about something they're doing that isn't healthy for them and doesn't violate anyone's rights when they fully understand the risks and are still choosing to go ahead with it and you're only bringing it up in the hope that they'll be shamed/embarrassed/worn down into doing what you say. This particularly comes to mind with unhealthy eating, where even when someone knows the risks family and friends keep bringing it up at every possible opportunity, which doesn't really help but just comes off as real life concern trolling.

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Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

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luanne
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I knew someone would bring up Christina Hendricks! She's amazing.
I'm thin- actually, a little underweight without meaning to be, so it's easy to find my body type portrayed positively. It happens to be fashionable right now. But I don't think realistic representations of the human body- of any healthy shape- will ever stop being attractive.

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Heather
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This also tends to get tougher and tougher to find the older you get, even in classical art, but particularly in media. It's hard enough to find a range of body types and race when you're younger, but not only are a range of body types for older women tougher to find, finding us visible at all can be so much harder, especially body depictions of women 40 and up who aren't aspiring to looking younger.

However, there have been a few films where Diane Keaton, Kathy Bates, Jessica Lange and some other actresses have been visible as...well, owning a body that's shown as anything but matronly or nigh unto invisible.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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