Mirror mirror on the wall, who's the prettiest, skinniest, happiest most confused of them all? When it comes to body image, we all are—but thankfully the world is becoming a more body-positive place every day.
Case in point: the recent Women & Body Image: Making It Fit (opens in new tab) event in New York City, where Marie Claire senior features editor Whitney Joiner led a panel of honest, candid, and seriously insightful speakers.
Marie Claire's Whitney Joiner with CeCe Olisa, creator of the blog Plus Size Princess (opens in new tab); Rebecca Eisenbery, trend editor at Upworthy; Helen Rosner, features editor at Eater; Taryn Fixel, founder of Ingredient1 (opens in new tab); and Julie Sygiel, founder of Dear Kate (opens in new tab)
Here, the awesome stuff they revealed.
Revelation #1: Labels are for clothing, not your body.
Honestly, who cares what number's on the inside of your waist band? Sizing varies so widely by clothing company that it's no metric for...anything, really. And then there are the other labels we encounter constantly—plus, pear, petite, and the list goes on. Julie Sygiel, founder and chief officer of Dear Kate (opens in new tab), expressed at the panel that for the longest time the nickname "small girl" defined her. And when it no longer applied, she felt unsettled. "We use what we call 'non traditional' models," Sygiel says of the ad campaigns and web stories her company produces now. "We tried calling them 'real women' but everyone's body is real and valid."
Revelation #2: The one body-confidence annoyance that unites us? Being sized up by men.
No matter what we look like, wherever we go, the male gaze follows. And it's annoying. "The thing women have in common is that they are gazed upon by men," Helen Rosner, features editor at Eater (opens in new tab), points out. "The commodification of the female body is what it is." Men see our bodies but don't always know—or care—how we feel about them. Sooo...what's the female version of dad bod? Can we make that a cool cultural thing now?
Revelation #3: Everyone is someone else's goal.
Hey, we all do it—that knee-jerk "wow I wish I had her *insert desired body part here*" thought. Which is a good reminder that everybody has something someone else wants. CeCe Olisa, creator of Plus Size Princess (opens in new tab), encourages women "to stop the shame and own who we are." It's time to let the envy go—or at least relish the fact that other people are envying you.
Revelation #4: All-kale-all-the-time doesn't always work.
"People see food in different ways: 1) what makes me feel good? 2) what will happen if I eat that? and 3) will it bring pleasure to eat that?" Taryn Fixel, founder of Ingredient 1 (opens in new tab), explains. So who's to say we can't have our salad with a side of cupcake? It's all about being healthy and happy, and listening to what our bodies want and need.
Revelation #5: Your body—and your health—are nobody else's business.
"Who are we to determine who's healthy?" Joiner's final question to the panelists emphasized the greatest confusion in our culture today: Why do we care so much about other people's physiques? "We don't ask Kate Upton what her blood pressure is, but plus size women have to answer a list of questions," Plus Size Princess's Olisa says.
Revelation #6: You shouldn't *have* to feel beautiful.
Eater editor Rosner brings the whole thing home with an excellent point: "It's okay to not feel beautiful. But it's not okay to feel valueless."
Zendaya and Tom Holland Are "Planning for a Real Future Together," Source Says
By Iris Goldsztajn
Kristen Bell Told Her Kids About Doing Mushrooms, And It "Backfired"
By Iris Goldsztajn
'Dirty Dancing' Star Jennifer Grey Opened Up About Her Hair Thinning
And how she's adapted.
By Iris Goldsztajn
Senator Klobuchar: "Early Detection Saves Lives. It Saved Mine"
Senator and breast cancer survivor Amy Klobuchar is encouraging women not to put off preventative care any longer.
By Senator Amy Klobuchar
How Being a Plus-Size Nude Model Made Me Finally Love My Body
I'm plus size, but after I decided to pose nude for photos, I suddenly felt more body positive.
By Kelly Burch
I'm an Egg Donor. Why Was It So Difficult for Me to Tell People That?
Much like abortion, surrogacy, and IVF, becoming an egg donor was a reproductive choice that felt unfit for society’s standards of womanhood.
By Lauryn Chamberlain
The 20 Best Probiotics to Keep Your Gut in Check
Gut health = wealth.
By Julia Marzovilla
Simone Biles Is Out of the Team Final at the Tokyo Olympics
She withdrew from the event due to a medical issue, according to USA Gymnastics.
By Rachel Epstein
The Truth About Thigh Gaps
We're going to need you to stop right there.
By Kenny Thapoung
3 Women On What It’s Like Living With An “Invisible” Condition
Despite having no outward signs, they can be brutal on the body and the mind. Here’s how each woman deals with having illnesses others often don’t understand.
By Emily Shiffer
The High Price of Living With Chronic Pain
Three women open up about how their conditions impact their bodies—and their wallets.
By Alice Oglethorpe