If you or anyone you know has suffered from an eating disorder (or, alternatively, has wished that she or he did), would you write a short bit about your experiences for a local project?
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll send you a confidentiality agreement. Here are some questions to consider when writing:
1. How old were you when you first realized you had an eating disorder?
2. How old do you think you were when it first started?
3. Do you think that the modeling/advertising/movie industry had any influence on your attitudes towards food or your body?
4. How did you feel about dieting? How do you feel about diets now?
5. Have you ever sought help for your eating disorder? If so, in what form?
6. Do you idolize any celebrities now? Did you idolize any before or during your eating disorder?
7. Do you know anyone else who has had an eating disorder?
8. Do you have any personal stories about experiences related to your eating disorder that you'd be willing to share?
<3 Together we can promote eating disorder awareness and expose truth to save lives! ♥
It has been a long time - a long time - since the PASEF blog has been updated. It is difficult operating PASEF based on volunteer support alone, but the assistance of PASEF volunteers and fans has not gone unnoticed! I personally wish to thank you for all for your support!!
I recently finished reading an incredible book called On Beauty, written by Zadie Smith. There are many facets to the plot of this novel. One particular ingredient, apparent through the title of the novel, is the notion of female beauty. Particularly beauty of the body.
Image courtesy of bibookreview.com
I found myself incredibly struck by the character Kiki and some of her musings in the novel. This first began when Kiki read a quotation from a button that she had - a quotation by Rebecca West that I love and wish to share with others as often as possible: "I myself have never been able to figure out precisely what feminism is. I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute" (195).
Here is another quotation specifically from the book, beginning with a conversation between Kiki and her daughter Zora.
'You look fine.'
'Right. I look fine. Except I don't,' said Zora, tugging sadly at her man's nightshirt. This was why Kiki had dreaded having girls: she knew she wouldn't be able to protect them from self-disgust. To that end she had tried banning television in the early years, and never had a lipstick or a woman's magazine crossed the threshold of the Belsey home to Kiki's knowledge, but these and other precautionary measures had made no diffrence. It was in the air, or so it seemed to Kiki, this hatred of women and their bodies - it seeped in with every draught in the house; people brought it home on their shoes, they breathed it in off their newspapers. There was no way to control it. (197-198)
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. The intense feelings regarding women and beauty persist very powerfully throughout the novel. Here is another quote from the perspective of a woman named Claire. This woman is very thin, only orders salad at restaurants, and had an affair with a married man that she didn't even like months before marrying someone that she, herself, loved. Here is her perspective:
She was a woman still controlled by the traumas of her girlhood. It made more sense to put her three-year old self in the dock. As Dr Byford explained, she was really the victim of a vicious, peculiarly female psychological disorder: she felt one thing and did another. She was a stranger to herself.
And were they still like that, she wondered - these new girls, this new generation? Did they still feel one thing and do another? Did they still only want to be wanted? Were they still objects of desire instead of - as Howard might put it - desiring subjects? Thinking of the girls sat cross-legged with her in this basement, of Zora in front of her, of the angry girls who shouted their poetry from the stage - no, she could see no serious change. Still starving themselves, still reading women's magazines that explicitly hate women, still cutting themselves with little knives in places they think can't be seen, still faking their orgasms with men they dislike, still lying to everybody about everything. Strangely, Kiki Belsey had always struck Claire as a wonderful anomaly in exactly this sense. (226-227)
Finally, there is another character that appears only briefly but offers another perspective to a scene. This character is named Katie, an intelligent, 16 year-old girl who graduated high school early and is in college studying art history. Katie is analysing a painting, looking for interesting points to comment on in class (and finally have the nerve to do so). Here is a rather long paragraph that I find beautiful and poignant:
The second picture, on the other hand, makes Katie cry. It is Seated Nude, an etching from 1631. In it a misshapen woman, naked, with tubby little breasts and a hugely distended belly, sits on a rock, eyeing Katie directy. Katie has read some famous commentaries on this etching. Everybody finds it technically good but visually disgusting. Many famous men are repulsed. A simple naked woman is apparently much more nauseating than Samson having his eye put out or Ganymede pissing everywhere. Is she really so grotesque? She was a shock, to Katie, at first - like a starkly lit, unforgiving photograph of oneself. But then Katie began to notice all the exterior, human information, not explicitly in the frame but implied by what we see there. Katie is moved by the crenulated marks of absent stocking on her legs, the muscles in her arms suggestive of manual labour. That loose belly that has known many babies, that still fresh face that has lured men in the past and may yet lure more. Katie - a stringbean, physically - can even see her own body contained in this body, as if Rembrandt were saying to her, and to all women: 'For you are of the earth, as my nude is, and you will come to this point too, and be blessed if you feel as little shame, as much joy, as she!' This is what a woman is: unadorned, after children and work and age, and experience - these are the marks of living. So Katie feels. And all this from cross-hatching (Katie makes her own comics and knows something of cross-hatching); all these intimations of mortality from an inkpot! (251-252)
This novel touched me incredibly. I found it also amusing that the most beautiful character - the one that all the men lust after - is incredibly insecure and uses people to feel better about herself. In so doing, she ruins the lives of several and becomes one of the characters that you hate. Her beauty is truly only skin deep.
Smith, Zadie. On Beauty. New York: Penguin Group, 2005.
- Current Mood: touched
The following is a contribution from a PASEF fan who wishes to remain anonymous. I love it, and I really hope you all read this and take what she's written to heart. I also hope that, and urge, all men to read this and take it seriously. It's very important that men get interested and involved with these issues too. It's a little long, but it's really worth it. Enjoy!
I've been reading a lot of feminist ideas and getting very involved over the course of this year, and when I tell my male friends about these feminist ideas, they get very offended. They tell me not to turn into a Feminazi. Some of them (the most uncouth and homophobic, of course) have even asked, "You don't want to become an angry, feminist dyke, do you?"
This is exceptionally frustrating. All I want is to be an equal to men. And yet expressing that I want equality is an affront to them, somehow. It's as though my saying I want to be an equal human hurts them!
Not only do I have to deal with not being an equal to men, but I also - everyday - get kicked when I'm down by society and the media.
I composed a list of all of the little injustices that females deal with everyday, just so some of my male friends could see just how unfair it is to be a woman in today's society. I want to share it with you to share with everyone you know: both men and women
To start, I'll get to the most gruesome bits (according to men).
Once a month, for three to eight days (on average), women bleed. They bleed from their female organs. Additionally, they are forced to not talk about it! Yes, maybe it's gross to people who can't handle medical issues, but women are forced to deal with pain and suffering in silence. They have to act like it's not happening.
Then, they have to pay for tampons, maxi-pads, pain pills, etc. This costs an average of $10 to $50 monthly. That equates to $120 to $600 per year! That's a lot of money!
Not only that, but women often cramp in their pelvic/back region before and/or during menstruation. Which sucks. Pain pills and heating pads help, but they cost both money and time.
This all happens because women are able to give birth to children. I think the ability to be child-bearing is fantastic and beautiful. I also think that it makes women powerful: they have all of the power in creating new life! But having babies is not easy for women, either.
So, women carry babies up to around ten months. During this time, they gain weight (which, if they don't take it off immediately after giving birth, they are judged by people in society for their new body shape). Since they're gaining weight so quickly and developing a human in their bellies, their skin stretches. This causes stretch marks, things that don't go away without expensive, painful laser surgery. Pregnant women also develop varicose or spider veins (these also don't go away without expensive, painful treatments). Women sometimes develop health issues after having babies because of the extreme stress of it all. Not only that, but their vaginal tissue stretches so much during birth that they cannot have sexual intercourse for several months after delivery. And then later in life, they are compared to younger women who don't have all of these problems and have "tighter vaginas" - what a way to add insult to injury!!!
Okay, so some women don't want to have kids. For these women, there is birth control. When men and women have an intimate relationship, men often request (or assume) that women take birth control. As someone who has taken birth control, I can say that it does do a lot of nice things. It improves skin (sometimes), it reduces cramps (most of the time), and it keeps periods regular (most of the time). However, it also causes weight gain (which sucks), water retention (which also sucks), and reduced sexual response (which really sucks). Women take birth control pills so they can have sex with their partner easily, but then the pills make sex less enjoyable and make the women feel insecure about their bodies because they've gained weight. And that also makes sex less enjoyable. Not only that, but birth control isn't free! The cheapest I've ever encountered was $10 per month. Some, like YAZ, are $60 per month. Do men ever chip in to at least pay for half of the cost? Not in my experience....
Now let's move on to some of the other, although minor, injustices.
Okay, so men have to shave their faces. Some men cut and/or shave their armpit hair (rarely). And some men shave all of their body hair (depends on the person). Almost all women (except for the few that are rebellious against society and confident enough with themselves to do so) shave daily. Not just their faces (although they do have to either wax their facial hair or bleach it because it is an affront to society). They feel forced to shave both of their legs! When I first started shaving, my mother told me that each leg was like five faces, so I needed to clean off my razor accordingly. So by that logic, two legs = 10 faces!
Women also are forced to shave their armpits. (If they don't, like the entertainer Paula Cole, for example, they are ridiculed.) Women also have to deal with their bikini lines! Not only is this the *most sensitive* place on the body, but it is also the place where shaving, waxing, etc. leaves painful after-effects! So first women have to pluck or shave all of the hairs near their sensitive areas, but then they are often stuck with bumps and burns. Of course, you can buy products to help ease the bumps, but this also costs money. Which sucks.
Then, there's makeup. Now, don't get me wrong: I've become so used to society's ideas of beauty that I feel weird or sometimes gross without shaving my legs or wearing makeup, but it's still unfair. Makeup costs money. It's not cheap. It's especially not cheap if you want to wear nice makeup that doesn't make you look like a cheap hooker.
Makeup also takes time. Time that women really don't have, what with all the shaving and menstruating and child-bearing they're already doing. Then, women get ridiculed for making men late or taking too much time putting on their makeup (sound familiar?). But what's the alternative? A woman instead doesn't wear makeup and then other members of society (her friends, colleagues, husband, boyfriend, strangers, etc.) look at her and think or say, "Why is she rebelling?" or "Why doesn't she try to look pretty?" or "She looks so tired." Very nice things, I might add. It's all because we've all been indoctrinated over the years.
Okay, so some women don't wear lingerie. This section depends on the person or couple involved. But let's face it: a lot of women buy lingerie to look sexy or feel sexy and get male attention. Lingerie costs money (again). Lingerie also requires that you look a certain way (that fits the lingerie well) and that you feel good about your body (which is often hard to do in today's society).
And what about men? Do men EVER wear lingerie for women? And why the hell not?! That's what I'd like to know. I asked a former boyfriend who wore boxers all the time if he'd buy a pair of briefs for me because I think they're sexy. He replied, "No, those things are uncomfortable." And that was the end of the conversation. Does he honestly think that wearing a thong is like being swept up in a cottony cloud?
And what's with always pleasing men? Dressing for them, doing sexy dances for them, etc? Which brings me to my next point.
So, it's already apparent that women are more often sex objects in movies or shows on the tube. They are also huge sex objects in video games, a market that is slightly more male-dominated. I wonder if the makers of video games realize that they'll never truly expand the market if the women in the more adult video games are just sex objects and make real women feel bad about themselves.
What about Lara Croft Tomb Raider? Even the sex idol Angelina Jolie had to put on a lot of muscle and wear breast enhancers for the film version. And have any of you seen the female in MadWorld? Apparently, while women are butt-kicking they, unlike men in the game, have to be super-sexy and wear a leather leotard that rides up the butt. Of course! I mean, whenever I think of doing athletic stuff, leather leotard is the first thing that comes to mind.... Come on!
So, obviously the majority of movies and video games cater to men. The only exception is the highly ridiculed "Chick Flick". God forbid that women get some joy out of a movie that is finally catering to them! Let's all put down movies that actually give back to women. That makes sense...
You know what's especially odd? Even "Sex and the City" (The Movie) - a film a lot of men probably tried to avoid because of its chick-flick association - showed topless women more often and for longer periods of time than male butts (and a helluva lot longer than the single penis shot of about one second). Does that make sense?
WALK THIS WAY
So, obviously society favors a particular look of women. This causes a lot of women to feel forced to be a nearly unattainable size. Sure, a woman can look like a Victoria's Secret Model! All she has to do is eat very little, exercise several hours a day, possibly smoke, and focus all her efforts on her appearance. That will be so easy for her! She'll just make time for that around having kids (as a lot of women do), being responsible for a household (as a lot of women are often forced to do), and having a career. No problem!!
And that brings me to the ultimate point. Women, on average, don't even get paid as much as men for the same, exact job!! Is it because they're not qualified? Hell no! They earned that job in just the same way that a man did. And they earned it while dealing with the periods, shaving, makeup, body preoccupation, and catering to men. I think they should be paid more!
So can you see now why women like me want change???
- Current Mood: hopeful
Hello to all new fans of PASEF! Things have been a bit hectic here, but we promise that you'll be seeing blog entries regularly very soon. :) Also, if you want to get involved with the blog entries - either you have an idea about something or you already have a blog entry written - please contact us at email@example.com. :) We'd love to have more people involved!
I've been reading fluffy news on the internet lately, and at least twice a week there is an article about Megan Fox (of Transformers and its sequel as well as the TV show "Hope and Faith"). The actress has been compared to Angelina Jolie (with her big lips, full chest, skinny body, tattoos, and seductive look), snubbed a young boy who was trying to get her autograph (for which she apologized profusely when the story became newsworthy), and most recently been in the news for her comments about men with bodyart.
Image courtesy of Pinkhues
Fox says that she adores tattoos and bodyart. And if a man that she is interested in dating does not have a tattoo already, she will make him get her name or her face tattooed on his body. She said, "I have eight tattoos. All my boyfriends are required to have one and if they don't have one yet, I make them get a tattoo of my name or my face."
Now, obviously this woman is beautiful. And she, also, obviously has a pretty high opinion of herself. Unfortunately her character in the Transformers movies, aside from being a love interest, existed to give men something to look at (aside from the robots that turn into amazing vehicles, of course).
At the end of the article I was reading, Megan unfortunately commented on the new film:
- "It's massive. I don't know how people can see it on IMAX without having a brain aneurism or at least a migraine headache. I'm in the movie and I read the script and I still don't know what's happening, so I think if you haven't read the script and you see it and you understand it you are a genius."
Image courtesy of Lifestyle from Canada
I had my own thoughts about her comments, but I decided I'd continue down and read some comments from other people posting.
One person commented:
- "Yes I have to agree with all of you. I am sick to death hearing about this woman. She is an utter idiot and talk about conceit and arrogance...forcing a man to have her face or name on them!! Who does she think she is?? She sounds very untelligent too if she thinks people have to be a genius to see the movie...just because she is not intelligent enough to understand it!!! Wow...yes talk about setting women back several decades. She is an embarrassment to us intelligent strong women! I wish the media would just drop her like a rock...I for one am sick of her...She is not that special......just a fleeting thing for now as they all are....hopefully she can gain some more substance about herself eventually....right now it is lacking majorly!!! Poor her!!!"
Another person stated:
- "She's the kind of woman that sets us back. Women want to be seen as intelligent and equal, yet the media is full of women who are solely there for sex appeal, then they get a big head thinking they can act. IMO Megan Fox really can't act, as for her fashion sense, anyone else see her nippilitis in that picture? Is that what you wear to a premiere! Oh and one last and very important thing, She did NOT star in two transformer movies, try co-star CO-STAR. What about Shia LaBeouf and Optimus Prime? Definitely not the star, only if you're looking for the sex appeal."
Optimus Prime. :) Indeed.
This post is very feminist. Feminism is about giving women the same opportunities as men - equality. Megan Fox may be making a lot of money for her work in these films, but I doubt her paycheck would be quite as large if her cleavage and tight/short clothes were replaced with moo-moos. Unfortunately, her opportunities are very limited to using her body at this point...
- Current Mood: silly
It has been a while since a blog has been posted on PASEF; this is mostly due to the fact that the PASEF helpline has just been launched and we wanted to take a little time to spread the word.
In the meantime, I want to pass on a link to a very interesting blog. This was written by the actress Scarlett Johansson, star of films such as The Island, Scoop, Match Point, In Good Company, and many others.
Image courtesy of Filmweb
- "Since dedicating myself to getting into 'superhero shape,' several articles regarding my weight have been brought to my attention. Claims have been made that I've been on a strict workout routine regulated by co-stars, whipped into shape by trainers I've never met, eating sprouted grains I can't pronounce and ultimately losing 14 pounds off my 5'3" frame. Losing 14 pounds out of necessity in order to live a healthier life is a huge victory. I'm a petite person to begin with, so the idea of my losing this amount of weight is utter lunacy. If I were to lose 14 pounds, I'd have to part with both arms. And a foot. I'm frustrated with the irresponsibility of tabloid media who sell the public ideas about what we should look like and how we should get there.
- Every time I pass a newsstand, the bold yellow font of tabloid and lifestyle magazines scream out at me: 'Look Who's Lost It!' 'They Were Fabby and Now They're Flabby!' 'They Were Flabby and Now They're Flat!' We're all aware of the sagas these glossies create: 'Look Who's Still A Sea Cow After Giving Birth to Twins!' Or the equally perverse: 'Slammin' Post Baby Beach Bodies Just Four Days After Crowning!'
- According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), as many as 10 million females and 1 million males living in the US are fighting a life and death battle with anorexia or bulimia. I'm someone who has always publicly advocated for a healthy body image and the idea that the media would maintain that I have lost an impossible amount of weight by some sort of 'crash diet' or miracle workout is ludicrous. I believe it's reckless and dangerous for these publications to sell the story that these are acceptable ways to looking like a 'movie star.'"
I encourage you to read the rest of her blog entry. It's good to hear a woman in the entertainment industry admit how irresponsibly the media lies to normal women who aren't paid to be watched.
- Current Mood: chipper
Have any fans of PASEF seen "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist"?
In the film, Norah (a normal-sized, beautiful girl played by Kat Dennings) often compares herself to a very underweight girl named Tris (played by Alexis Dziena). Norah says several things throughout the movie, to Nick and (if I remember correctly) other characters to express that she is bigger than Tris. To me, this seemed like she was comparing herself to Tris and was disappointed by being a larger size. Did anyone else feel this way?
Do you think this movie sent the message that being a normal-sized woman (i.e. not teeny-tiny thin) is bad? Or do you think, because Norah was one of the awesome main characters, that the movie was promoting healthy bodies by having its main character (the one you root for) be a healthy woman?
I'd love to hear what you all think about this - all opinions welcome! :)
- Current Mood: curious
I was searching for new links to add to the PASEF link section, and I came across an interesting website, www.edreferral.com. I started reading the section about famous people who have experienced eating disorders. The website included an excerpt from an interview with Princess Diana. I already knew that Princess Diana suffered from bulimia, but I want to share this excerpt with readers and supporters of PASEF since a very large number of women in America suffer from bulimia. Here is the excerpt:
"I had bulimia for a number of years. And that's like a secret disease. You inflict it upon yourself because your self-esteem is at a low ebb, and you don't think you're worthy or valuable. You fill your stomach up four or five times a day - some do it more - and it gives you a feeling of comfort. It's like having a pair of arms around you, but it's temporarily, temporary. Then you're disgusted at the bloatedness of your stomach, and then you bring it all up again. And it's a repetitive pattern, which is very destructive to yourself." ~Princess Diana
Image courtesy of The Daily Mail
For this reason, PASEF is starting an anonymous e-mail program - similar to a crisis phone line, although it is done completely over the internet through the privacy of e-mail. If you or anyone that you know would like to chat online with someone who has had an eating disorder, please e-mail us. To preserve your anonymity, begin by creating a new e-mail address. You can use Gmail, Yahoo!, Live ID/Hotmail, or Inbox.com. Create any fake name that you like (or your real name if you want to), then e-mail us from your new, anonymous e-mail address.
Write the PASEF Helpline today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Current Mood: busy
I've been watching The Cosby Show on TV a lot lately to get me going in the morning. And I have decided, without a doubt, that I adore Clair Hanks Huxtable. She is my role model and hero.
Clair is pictured here second from the right. Image courtesy of carseywerner.net
Everything about her character screams integrity, high self-esteem, assertiveness, and intelligence (as well as kindness, sympathy, and compassion, of course). For those unfamiliar with The Cosby Show, Clair (played by Phylicia Rashad) is a successful lawyer (a partner, in fact), mother of five (yes five), and the wife of Cliff Huxtable (played by Bill Cosby). She makes it known throughout many episodes that women and men are equals and should be treated that way.
Yesterday an episode aired including a brain teaser that I've heard several times. The version in the show was something like, "Mr. Smith and his son are driving. They get into a car accident and Mr. Smith dies. The son goes to the hospital, and the old surgeon says, 'I can't operate on him. He's my son!' How is this possible?" Cliff Huxtable, sitting with his wife, is flummoxed. He comes up with several impossible reasons as to how this can work. His kids, who gave him the brainteaser in the first place, leave the room laughing about how he couldn't figure it out.
Clair looked at her husband and said, "Cliff, I am so disappointed in you. Here I thought that you believed that men and women are equals, and it never once occurred to you that the old surgeon is... his... mother."
Image courtesy of The TV Guide
Later on in the episode, Theo meets an attractive girl who, as it turns out, knows more about cars than anyone in the Huxtable family. Clair, appreciating the fact that this woman employs her brains and not her body, whispers to her son, "That woman is not draped over the hood, she's underneath it."
I think it's important that sitcoms take a stand against female objectification. Tomorrow's blog will give a complete list of TV shows with female characters that have expressed disdain over female objectification. Stay tuned! :P
- Current Mood: happy
I have been searching for their commercials on the internet recently (they have a great website but they haven't posted their commercials there). I had no luck finding them online, until today.
Here are the three ads that have been airing here in Canada. The ads show the terrible truth about how devastating eating disorders can become.
I encourage you to visit the official Looking Glass BC website if you want to learn more about this foundation in Canada. They also have a documentary video about eating disorders that is especially enlightening for people who have not had eating disorders themselves. If you have a few minutes to spare, I truly encourage you to watch this video.
I know this post is pretty serious, but I hope it is eye-opening. With word-of-mouth and grassroots activism, we can help women change their minds about beauty and self-worth and ultimately - with a lot of hard work and perseverance - help them to avoid eating disorders altogether. That's good news to me. :)
- Current Mood: pensive
Image courtesy of Mark J. Terrill at the Associated Press on the MSNBC Website
In the magazine, Nia stated that movie executives wanted her to lose 40 pounds or else, they said, the film would not be successful. Nia refused, saying that she loves her body and she had no reason to lose that weight. A true role model for the entirety of weight-obsessed Hollywood.
She is quoted in Women's World (which I found quoted on imdb.com) as saying, "Success comes in all shapes and sizes and ages. I have three different sizes of clothes in my closet, and that to me is the key to happiness. I love my body!"
If you have seen her film Connie and Carla (which, as previously mentioned, she both wrote and starred in), you would know that the film praises loving your body in all possible ways. Connie and Carla is about two women dressed as men dressed as women (drag queens). They pretend to be drag queens to hide from a dangerous man. While onstage, the girls deliver positive advice to members of their audience. Some memorable quotes from the movie include:
"Girlfriends, big or small, thin or fat, worship that body! It's the only one you've got!"
"Let your eyes crinkle, let your skin wrinkle. Our lines show that we've lived. If he doesn't love you when you look like a map, tell him to hit the road!"
Nia Vardalos and Toni Collette as Connie and Carla at NWI Times
I worried for a moment that Nia had been so put-upon by Hollywood that she was forced to lose weight. Then, however, I read some of the articles.
Apparently, Nia lost those 40 pounds; However, it was not a career move or pressure from Hollywood. Much of Nia's family has diabetes, and Nia has thyroid, blood sugar, and infertility problems. She says that she lost the weight in order to avoid Adult-Onset Diabetes, since her family is prone to the disease.
It looks as though Nia is well-aware of all the body-obsessed attention that she's receiving. She is quoted in the Chicago Tribune as saying, "I find it strange being mentioned as some sort of accomplishment or triumph."
She lost the weight by walking with her dog, eating less cheese, and being healthier in general (not on some crash diet).
When commenting on her doctor's orders, Nia stated, "To be told you have to do something, what a bummer."
It looks like Nia hasn't been put-upon by Hollywood after all.
Image located at
- Current Mood: productive