I’ve never watched a full episode of The Biggest Loser. I only have one friend who’s really into it (though I don’t believe she even watched this season), and the only other person I know who liked it was my grandma (who is now deceased). Regardless, it seems like a pretty inspirational show. People change their lives for the better, have happily ever afters, etc. etc. etc. The concept is really great. But in a society where we teeter back and forth between being too thin and too fat, does The Biggest Loser prompt people to feel like… big losers?
Rachel Frederickson was just crowned this season’s winner, dropping from 260 to 105 pounds. Before I read the first of many articles I would eventually read about her, I saw her “after” photo. She looked good–toned, fit, thin. I assumed she was in her early-mid 30s. It turns out that Rachel’s only 24. That was the first unsettling fact to me.
Then, I learned that she now weighs only 105 pounds. Then, I learned that Rachel is 5’4”. I’m 5’4”. I’m not nearly 105 pounds. Yes, bodies come in every shape and size, and weight is just a number. Body fat is proportioned differently depending on the person, and no one should feel the need to conform to a number on an outdated BMI index. But there is an undeniable fact that everyone is aware of, and it is that being 105 pounds and 5’4” usually means you’re too thin.
Obviously, controversy sparked from every corner of the body-centric world. Two very valid arguments arise: the first, that The Biggest Loser is a weight loss show and Rachel accomplished (very well) exactly what she went on the show to do. This side argues Rachel shouldn’t be penalized and she didn’t take things too far. The second argument pleads the opposite: that Rachel clearly has a problem; one drilled into her head by a show that monitors contestants as if it was the NSA for fat people.
Those of you who blame The Biggest Loser for turning an obese young woman into a petite someone who other women will envy–you are wrong. You cannot blame a television production based on helping unhealthy people lead healthy lifestyles for a contestant’s weight loss. At the same time, you can’t say that Rachel’s weight loss is okay just because you “wouldn’t call her skeletal,” as Betches Love This likes to put it. “Have you ever seen an actual anorexic person or like, a Holocaust survivor?” The “Betches” continue, “That is fucking skeletal.” They also say that Rachel “is the size of a mother of three who spends a lot of time at Soul Cycle or like, Kate Middleton,” and therefore we shouldn’t be concerned.
No, no, no, no, no. We can be funny all we want–we can make fun of ourselves, of the pettiness of young women, of the ridiculous obsessions we have with things like social media and men, but we cannot make jokes about body image. Just because someone doesn’t “look” like they have an eating disorder–like they aren’t “skeletal”–doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering mentally.
Last week, I called my mom in hysterics because I felt comparable to a very large whale. Moms are used to the complaints of their daughters, many of whom are perfectly fine and healthy but suffer from a paranoia and awareness of the body that is unnecessarily overwhelming. My mom, however, could sense the extreme level of shittiness I was feeling. When I told her that it pained me to look in the mirror and to have more than one sit-down meal a day–that the thought of giving in to a plateful of food rather than the Chobani and then the apple and then the Fiber One bar snacking regimen I had perfected to a tee–she knew I was falling into a trap.
My mom asked me why I hadn’t spoken to anyone about this–my friends, a therapist, etc. I told her something I consider to be one of the most wretched mindsets of our image-infatuated generation: I just didn’t look like I had a problem. I’m not “thin,” I’m curvy with a butt and boobs and legs, and I’m pretty sure I’ve been like that since the fourth grade. What are the odds that someone takes me seriously when I walk up to her and tell her I’m having trouble eating? You can claim someone would listen to me, and if it was a real problem, someone would be able to tell. But unfortunately, I can fill you in from experience–that isn’t the case. It seems like you can’t have a problem unless you look like you do.
Okay, so if I lose 30 pounds, will you believe me then?
Luckily, I swung out of my funk and adjusted back to a normal, healthy routine. But there are thousands upon thousands of girls that won’t. Did Rachel Frederickson’s drastic weight loss pose a bad influence on self-conscious teens? I didn’t watch The Biggest Loser, but I’m assuming they only showed her losing weight healthily. They probably didn’t showcase her anorexia, or her bulimia, or any other eating disorder she might have. As I said before, her size doesn’t have to correlate to her mental state, and her mental state doesn’t have to correlate to her size.
In truth, the people who tend to be sensitive to the appearances of people in the media will be affected by Rachel’s weight loss just as they would the body of any other celebrity. The less sensitive people won’t. The job of The Biggest Loser is to help its contestants become healthier. The job of me–and of every other young lady, and even the job of every young man–is to make sure that I am healthy, that my friends are healthy, and that my family is healthy. Rachel’s weight loss was startling to me, too. But can we please get over the battle of too thin versus thin enough and realize the bigger picture?
At first, the Polar Vortex sounds kind of fun. I imagine us all to be sipping spiked hot chocolates, boarding a train with a mustache-d conductor heading to somewhere like the North Pole. But then I realize that I’m just recreating a Disney movie in my mind and life is not but a dream.
Instead, the Polar Vortex is a brutal, brutal thing that encourages college girls to hang themselves from barren trees with their infinity scarves.
At the beginning of winter, everyone complained about the nippy chill more than usual. Everyone that wasn’t complaining about the chill insisted upon complaining about the people who were complaining about the chill. These skeptics were under the impression that everyone was just overreacting; that this winter was just as cold as any other. The complainers, skin still thin from what was left of that summer bikini body, were simply in denial of winter’s annual coming.
I wonder if the skeptics of those complaining about the cold feel like assholes now that WE’RE IN A POLAR VORTEX.
Here’s a neat list of five things you can do to stay warm:
1. Give in to that booty call (body heat).
2. Burn the keepsakes of your ex to make a bonfire. The ones you haven’t already burned.
3. Don’t get out of bed, ever. This is a great dieting technique because I would otherwise encourage working out, but haha no.
4. Watch so much Netflix while your laptop is on your lap that you get radiation poisoning!
5. Wear a Peekaru, buy a puppy/become a teen mom, and put it (or your unwilling boyfriend) inside.
As gleeful college biddies flock back north to the tundrous Great Lakes and to the non-stop pretty-people-party that is all southern schools, I can’t help but reminisce upon the terrible yet inevitable habit of losing everything.
When I was younger, I used to lose or leave something behind every time I left the house. My first few flip phones would go MIA for weeks at a time, only to show up again crushed at the bottom of a friend’s driveway or stowed away in the wings of the stage curtain by a boy who sang in the sixth grade chorus with me. Eventually, his mother told me of his intentions: he thought it would be funny to hijack my most prized possession and then heroically “find it” again. Of course, he forgot about the hijacking and the devious plan in its entirety and ceased to properly return the phone.
In seventh grade, I lost my childhood teddy bear in transit over a weekend in which I was attending three separate Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. There’s a price to pay that comes with being a 13 year old Jewish girl.
A night in which all you do is “win, win, win no matter what” can be awfully tainted by the loss of your Marc by Marc by Marc Jacobs by Jacobs Marc by Marc keychain. In college, girls lose a lot of things. Dignity, respect, iPhones, and wallets. While there rarely seems to be a bright side to losing any/all of the above, there still must be a reason why we lose so often–otherwise, we just wouldn’t. So here’s a few I came up with:
We lose stuff to get attention, because everyone loves putting together a search party for Daddy’s missing credit card.
We lose stuff to get new stuff, because, hey, wasn’t it time for that iPhone upgrade anyways?
We lose stuff to get our stuff returned, because you never know how attractive an honest man will be.
We lose stuff when we don’t really need or want what we lost, because who needs a jacket when you have a sick new crop-top with a major side boob exposé?
We lose stuff when we’re distracted, because we can’t help it that we’re so popular.
My mom used to yell at me for being so forgetful about my things, and I told her that it wasn’t something I could improve upon because it was an unavoidable character flaw. It’s part of being a girl. (It’s also part of being intoxicated.)
It’s trendy to write in list form (i.e. “10 Things You Learn By Being A Slut in College” or something like that on BuzzFeed) and it’s trendy to be dry, witty, cynical, and funny. In other words, the Internet is experiencing the writing phenomenon I went through during the few months in which my OCD/anxiety peaked. This phenomenon includes the trendy way to tell someone to shut the f*** up in the most PC manner possible: by writing an “open letter.”
An open letter is exactly what it sounds like–a letter addressed to one person that everyone can read. Since we no longer believe in the Postal Service (deuces, Saturday mail), these letters are published digitally for all the world to see. The open letter is the over-exercised protest of the 21st century.
I’m sick of reading civilian pleas against the narcissism in our society, exemplified here on McSweeney’s nonfiction series of “Open Letters To People Or Entities Who Are Unlikely To Respond.” So, I threw together a little list of pitches for open letters we’d actually want to read.
Open Letter to: The People That Work At Chipotle
Subject: We need to discuss the guac sitch
Open Letter to: Lindsay Lohan
Subject: Don’t screw this one up, we are rooting for you
Open Letter to: Girl Sitting Next To Me On Airplane
Subject: Stop looking at my screen
Open Letter to: Chris Christie
Subject: No offense, but you couldn’t seriously have thought that causing a traffic jam would cause people to hate their mayor which would consequently cause you to win a presidential election
Open Letter to: Justin Bieber
Subject: How can you be wasting Grade A eggs if there are starving children in Africa?
Open Letter to: My Ancestors
Subject: My slow metabolism
Open Letter to: Cake
Subject: Your high calorie count
Open Letter to: Miley Cyrus
Subject: Twerk all you want but we want your bun back and we want it now
Open Letter to: Condé Nast
Subject: You closed your internship program, you crushed my dreams
Open Letter to: Hilary Duff
Subject: Sorry to hear about your divorce but it’s time to marry Gordo
Any ideas for open letters you’d want me to actually write? Let’s talk about it in the commentz.
This year, Jennifer Lawrence became the girl that everyone loved. Guys want to get with her, girls want to be her. And if they aren’t her, then they want to be her best friend. Like me, she gives off the “I don’t give a shit what people say or think” attitude, except unlike me, people like her because of it. Maybe if I was Katniss Everdeen I’d be more liked by people who do archery and appreciate a girl with a big mouth. With the Golden Globes around the corner, I thought the time had come for me to join the JLaw bandwagon. After all, her year wouldn’t be that accomplished without a shoutout from The FYD.
Whenever I try to picture Jennifer Lawrence in my mind, I, for some odd reason, can only think of the Disney Channel star Debby Ryan (from “Suite Life on Deck” and “Jessie”) who is cute–def not as hot as JLaw though–and actually smiles for pics. Whenever this happens I get so frustrated that I google “Jennifer Lawrence” on my iPhone so that I can remember her face and let a wave of relief wash over me. I’ve seen every movie JLaw has been in (including Like Crazy, one of my fav movies of all time) and I seem to google her face ten times a day yet it still refuses to ingrain itself in my mind. I think that really says something.
It’s underrated how she got her start in The Hunger Games. I mean, she had a small career beforehand, but you didn’t really know her until you knew Katniss. The Hunger Games reminds me of my tomboy literary phase in sixth grade. I never went through a tomboy phase in terms of how I dressed, but I read “boy books” for a while. How can just a literary work of tomboy-ness bring out someone regarded as one of the most glamorous people in the world?
I do love JLaw, however. I think that she is very real and has intentions of being the role model that wasn’t out there before. I love that she fell on her way to receive her Oscar and I love that she fell because she was thinking about cake. I also love how genius it was of her to finally tell the media that she fell because she was thinking about cake so strategically right before Golden Globes, as if to say, “give me the Golden Globe for my role in American Hustle and I promise I will do something that will further prove how much of a real, down-to-earth food-lover I am!” Her fall also means that when I inevitably fall on the way to get my Oscar one day I won’t be the first one to do it. The experience will be much less scarring.
As much as I love her, I also think she’s slightly overrated. Some people say they think she’s overrated in terms of her looks, which I totally disagree with. The people that say that are just jealous. I think she’s overrated in terms of how special she is, so to speak. We decided she was amazing because of how vivid she seems through the screen of a MacBook or captured in a magazine photograph. We love her because she’s young, and she’s fresh. I never would have picked her acting skills out of a crowd. Don’t get me wrong, she mastered Katniss, but… well… it’s Katniss.
The first time I saw Silver Linings Playbook, I thought that someone had secretly done an autobiography of my life without my knowledge or approval. JLaw’s diner-freakout scene could easily have been directly taken from any time between November and April of my senior year of high school. People thought her acting in that movie, and in that scene in particular, was crazy. For me it was just like a #tbt or whatever.
Recently, I read a really interesting article about JLaw and all of the things she says about body image–how no one can ever make her diet, she loves a burger and fries, etc. The article, which I believe was on HuffPost, said that the only reason we commend JLaw for being so “real” about her secretly naughty eating habits and her curves is because she manages to portray this persona while still looking thin, beautiful, and healthy all of the time. If someone who needed to lose weight made such a statement about loving a cheeseburger almost every time she opened her mouth, we would probably be disgusted. We would think that she’s being careless and sloppy and needs to go on a diet. But when JLaw does it, we clap for her because she does it and still looks like she doesn’t. This is something I’ve thought about for a long time, but never felt resonated with enough people that I could actually say it and believe it was true. But it totally is.
So, where does that leave us with JLaw? Still love her. Still think she’ll win a shitload of awards for everything she’s done. Still think she’ll continue to talk about food like it’s nobody’s business. But also still think she should make us think about what’s really real and what isn’t.
Congratulations! You survived your hangover. How does it feel? Rewarding, I bet.
2013 is officially over and we are no longer in that awkward limbo state between Christmas and New Year’s known as “the holidays.” During “the holidays,” everyone talks about everything that’s happened over the past year as if the year has already ended. In reality, the next year hasn’t started yet, either. Our society sets aside a week for us to reminisce and resolute and think about the reasons why we hate ourselves and how we can strive to change in the year to come. The holidays are a strange concept–everyone kind of stops doing everything and doesn’t start real life until the next year gets here. It’s a week that, though it sits on the calendar, doesn’t actually exist.
Now that we are in a new year, I thought it would be appropriate to accurately and fully asses the year that’s passed us by–FYD style, of course. 95 (!!!) posts later and I think I’ve got a pretty good sense of what 2013 was about. Here’s the shortlist of what you really shoulda taken out of that wild year. As the Grateful Dead says, “Oh, what a long, strange trip it’s been.”
1. Your Facebook pro pic says a LOT about you. And by a lot, I mean 4,926 post views in twelve hours-a lot.
2. The selfie had a revolution. It was the thing of the year, by far.
3. 2013 brought us Thanksgivukkah–a chubby JAP’s dream come true!
4. Every. One. Got. Mono.
5. Kimye is everything.
6. FYD lesson: the balance between being a bitch/playing hard to get and being a slut is very, very difficult to find.
7. Celebrate the anniversary of your Bat Mitzvah by handing out the leftover kippahs you’ve been storing, because there is always a bald man somewhere in need of a hat!
8. Tobi.com took over young women’s “trendy”/mundane going out clothing.
9. Everyone used read receipts. Then, they didn’t.
10. Miley came in like a wrecking ball.
11. We acted like chopped salad was just born, even though it wasn’t. Overpriced chopped salad was born, transforming the dirty water dog-type lunch into one better suited to the women taking over the workforce.
12. FYD lesson: your relationship with your boyfriend is really a threesome between you, him, and Facebook.
13. Everyone wrote about kale, but I wrote about it first. Trust.
14. Cady Heron would not have survived a plastics’ group text. That is why being a girl nowadays is so frickin’ difficult.
15. We speak emoji.
17. We were labeled the “me me me generation.” But millennials rock. We’re going places, and they can’t stop us and our selfies.
18. I read Fifty Shades of Grey while living in a rural Eurasian town of conservative Muslims. You might not remember that, but it’ll make you laugh.
19. I wrote my first post, “On Not Being a JAP,” for The FYD. But, obviously, there’s a little JAP in all of us.
20. A lot of other stuff happened that I didn’t get to cover. Gay marriage! Legal weed! Love! Loss! Sex! (GASP!) Breaking Bad! But, obviously, we still have 2014 for all of that.
Cheers to another fro-yo filled year of all of the above. May it bring you all overalls, muploads, selfies, shoe sales, peace, and low fat goodness.
I decided to get creative. Instead of blurring out the photo, I “anonymified” it. As I sit at my computer screen, hysterically laughing at this devious creation (thank you photo editing apps), I can’t help but recall when this photo was taken: four days before I broke up with my boyfriend. We went into the city for a night, and all I kept saying was that I wanted to buy a pint of Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ben & Jerry’s and eat out of it with a spoon. Needless to say, we bought the pint at 2 a.m., shared a sparse amount (whatever I was willing to give up) with some friends, and finished the entire thing. Therefore, I can scientifically prove to you that eating stuff out of the jar is a comfort, easing some of the most difficult curveballs life throws our way.
My first instinct was to write about Nutella. But honestly, what am I going to tell you about Nutella that you don’t already know? Nutella and the young woman are inseparable. We rely on Nutella like we rely on tampons. To put it bluntly, they just soak everything up.
If you’re happy, you might celebrate with a thing of Nutella. If you’re
high as hell sad, you’ll head right for the Nutella. But in reality, it isn’t the hazelnut that gives you a sense of satisfaction. It’s eating shit right out of the jar that does.
For being obsessed with being skinny, we seem to let all f**** go when a jar of something yummy comes our way. Ben & Jerry’s just isn’t the same in a cup or a cone or a bowl. It’s only great out of the tub. Bethenny Frankel says that “naturally thin” people never eat stuff out of the jar. You end up eating without thinking, eating too much, and getting fat, and dying alone. Or, god forbid, you might decrease the size of your thigh gap. We all know that a decreased thigh gap is only good for catching crumbs of food as they fall on the way to your mouth. So not worth it.
In honor of the food coma that Christmas instills in all people–if you aren’t eating a ham right now, then you’re definitely going ham on kosher Chinese food–it’s important to come to terms with the fact that we love eating shit out of the jar. I spend most of my weeknights on the floor on my room sticking my fingers in a jar of Justin’s almond butter with my best friend. We love getting dirty with some Nutella, ice cream, almond butter, and obviously peanut butter (the indulgent version of almond butter). Eating out of the jar, for most girls with ridiculous body image issues, is the closest you’ll ever get to going skydiving or something like that. Risky as hell. Living life on the edge. Not counting calories for a slim (or not so slim) second.
On a day like today when I’m having serious trouble coping with my own #fatgirlproblems, I’m going to give you shitty advice: eat out of the jar. But keeping “thin” in mind, maybe only have a few bites. Also, remember that committing to not eating out of the jar is, by association, committing to not taking swigs out of the bottle. Now that is a bond I’m not sure any of us are ready to break.