Comparing Bodies

comparing bodies

Your body does not look like hers. Do you want it to?

How many minutes have you spent analyzing your body into nothingness? How many hours does that add up to in a lifetime?

We all compare our bodies. As a visual culture hyped up on the over-sexualized female form, it’s easy to forget that your body is capable of much more than merely delighting the fancies of passer-bys. And maybe we are reared that way from the get go; a new study indicates that when your parents comment on weight – for better or worse – it is more likely to have an impact on how you view your body later in life. According to a recent New York Times article, girls are particularly poised for emotional destruction in response to weight-centric language.

Surveying over 500 women in their 20’s and 30’s, the research suggested that regardless of a woman’s actual BMI, those who recalled their parents making statements about their size as teens were more prone to believing they needed to lose 10-20 lbs – living in a continual state of body dissatisfaction.

Rebecca Puhl, deputy director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut, summarized: “…girls are exposed to so many messages about thinness and body weight, and oftentimes women’s value is closely linked to their appearance. If parents don’t challenge those messages, they can be internalized.”

Feeling dissatisfied or shame about your body is inevitable when the societal focus – especially the scrutiny of loved ones – is set on ideal physical standards of beauty. If you experience unwanted comments about your body, it’s important to point out that these comments are unhelpful to you, and strategize ways to better communicate (or better yet, not communicate about your weight, specifically, at all!) Instead, the focus should be on on doing something – not saying something. Engaging in active, healthy activities together like bowling or hiking is a great way to shift the discussion from weight and instead focus on strengthening your relationships, and feeling good about yourself, for something other than mere appearance.

Develop your talents. Nourish your mind. Our bodies are capable of so much more than meets the eye; comparing yourself to “her” will never measure up. What can your body do? Let’s start there.

 

 

How Not To Choose A College

how not to choose a college

With college acceptances pouring in for seniors, and juniors beginning to narrow the list down to the golden ten, it’s likely you’ve already sat through the lectures about how to choose a college that is a best fit for your future. But what are the elements to avoid? Here are a few reasons to be weary of choosing that particular school – for that particular reason.

Don’t Follow You-Know-Who. You have dated #SoAndSo for four years; six if you count the months spent checking their Facebook wall in middle school. But following your love life to college is possibly the worst reason to choose your alma mater. Deciding on which college to spend the next four years of your life should be a truly individual decision. Factoring in your high school romance will only result in making huge compromises on your future – a future that may not even include your current sweetheart past freshman orientation. As much as it may hurt to be separated from your current boyfriend or girlfriend, it is important to make a pragmatic decision based on your own personal and academic goals. In the worst case scenario, you will just have to be apart a few weeks at a time until Fall Break…and Thanksgiving Break…and then the long Winter Break (college has A LOT of breaks.) Tolerable, and you will each have space to grow and become your best selves. Great case scenario, you will grow apart relatively pain free and end up meeting a lot of really interesting and attractive new people, but you and your ex can still spy on each other via Instagram. Win win!

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Planning Ahead (Sort Of.)

planning ahead

It’s almost impossible to consider that the majority of your life will be lived outside of the confines of high school, and the haze of block scheduling and after school commitments and hallway drama will become a lumpy blur of “that time I was a teenager.” High school is a life lived in brief yet intense duration. It seems like forever; but once you are out, four years feels more like the span of growing out your bangs than an accurate measurement of time. That said, it’s also condescending for any adult to act like adolescence – especially your high school years – aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things. They are. Extremely important. But for all of the right reasons – not the kinds that involve unrequited love or acne.

The true importance of high school boils down to two things: Who you choose to be friends with during this time, and how seriously you take your school work. These elements set the stage for who you become long term.

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The Evolution of *Your* Identity

your identity

Who are you? If you ask your mother, she might offer grandiose characteristics such as “amazing, extremely talented, beautiful inside and out…” Your friends might note your excellent dry sense of humor, your talent for belting out “Shake It Off” in the locker room after games, and your insatiable appetite for Peppermint Patty’s. People who don’t know you very well at school might suggest you are “Loud, smiley, and into sports and math.” When you stop to answer the question yourself, it’s probably more difficult to boil yourself down to just a few adjectives and flippant descriptors.

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How to Handle Twitter Handles

twitter handles

Twitter is a fascinating social network; and perhaps the most controversial, leaving users more vulnerable than most other platforms might. Whether you are a high school student or a professional, Twitter is one of the more public and therefore searchable social media sites – and yet people are encouraged to use their real name and identity for it to work effectively. Unlike other platforms such as Facebook, where you can custom control who sees your content, or Instagram, where you often follow protocol and select a private account with a cutesy pseudonym, Twitter thrives on its immediacy and authentic exposure. It’s no wonder that this social network in particular has emerged a true global and political force filled with moving hashtag campaigns and viral news – but it is also more often a venue for public disgrace and scandal (here’s looking at you, Kanye…)

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Major Crush Dot Org

Introducing P+S’s brand new sister site, MajorCrush.Org! A sleek, more streamlined way to view the inspiring women (and more) featured on Role Call and The Graduate. From college majors to career paths, you’ll find your Lady Inspiration for Life.

Browse a growing list of college majors, graduate programs and professional tracks – and keep checking back for more featured areas of focus.

Because every day is #WomanCrushWednesday.

majorcrush

The Graduate: MA/PhD in Classics

MA PHD in Classics

Lauren is Pursuing an MA/PhD in Classics at UC Berkeley.

The Graduate is a new blog feature considering college majors, graduate school, and a look into career options beyond higher ed. To view a more comprehensive list of professional tracks and career paths, check out our sister site MajorCrush.org.

Name: Lauren Miller

College/ Major: Williams College ’15, Classics and Comparative Literature

Graduate School/ Program: UC Berkeley, Classics MA/PhD

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A Love Letter From Us To You: The Best Of

From birth control to body hair, our Love Letters panel of diverse women (now in their 20’s and 30’s) share their personal experiences from high school and beyond- and the advice they wish they had received growing up. Catch up on the ‘best of’ highlights below, and click the links to view more perspectives on each topic.

On Feminism: “What does feminism mean to me now? I don’t have the tidy philosophy that I did in high school or college. But, in practice, it means making choices – sometimes hard choices, like staying at work – to keep myself economically empowered. It means not setting myself up to be screwed if something happened to us or to him. It means protecting myself against pressure to stay with him for economic reasons.” –Miss Rosebud [read more]

On Parents: “If I was required to drink a glass of milk at dinner, I wanted to know why, and if it was so healthy, why they weren’t drinking one, too. And it was my body, why did they get to dictate what went into it… I needed a logical answer to every question, and I was also keenly aware of what I felt to be “injustice.” That they had complete authority, which seemed like a grave injustice to me, and I was constantly fighting them. The more I argued for autonomy, the more my parents tried to control me, and the more I rebelled from their control.” –Miss Peony [read more]

On Dangerous Relationships: “I was seemingly in control of every aspect of my life except this one, and I didn’t want anyone to know because a.) I loved this person and thought I could help him learn how to love and trust someone, since he had been abused as a child, and b.) I was embarrassed: I was a confident, smart, funny, no-nonsense feminist. This went against everything I believed in and the life I had built for myself.” –Miss Bluebells [read more]

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