Archive | February 2014

5 Minutes Of What The Media Actually Does To Women

5 Minutes Of What The Media Actually Does To Women.

This is a transcript of the short video, please watch the movie and show it to everyone you know, especially to young girls.

Sometimes people say to me, “You’ve been talking about this for 40 years. Have things gotten any better?” And actually I have to say, really they’ve gotten worse. Ads sell more than products. They sell values. They sell images. They sell concepts of love and sexuality, of success and perhaps most important, of normalcy. To a great extent, they tell us who we are and who we should be.

Well what does advertising tell us about women? It tells us, as it always has, that what’s most important is how we look. So the first thing the advertisers do is surround us with the image of ideal female beauty. Women learn from a very early age that we must spend enormous amounts of time, energy, and above all money, striving to achieve this look and feeling ashamed and guilty when we fail. And failure is inevitable, because the ideal is based on absolute flawlessness. She never has any lines or wrinkles. She certainly has no scars or blemishes. Indeed, she has no pores.

And the most important aspect of this flawlessness is that it cannot be achieved. No one looks like this, including her. And this is the truth. No one looks like this. The supermodel Cindy Crawford once said, “I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.” She doesn’t. She couldn’t, because this is a look that’s been created for years through airbrushing and cosmetics, but these days it’s done through the magic of computer retouching.

Keira Knightley is given a bigger bust. Jessica Alba is made smaller. Kelly Clarkson, well this is an interesting. . .it says, “Slim down your way,”
but she in fact slimmed down the Photoshop way. You almost never see a photograph of a woman considered beautiful that hasn’t been Photoshopped.

We all grow up in a culture in which women’s bodies are constantly turned into things, into objects. Here she’s become the bottle of Michelob. In this ad, she becomes part of a video game. And this is everywhere, in all kinds of advertising, women’s bodies turned into things, into objects. Now of course this affects female self-esteem. It also does something even more insidious. It creates a climate in which there’s widespread violence against women. I’m not at all saying that an ad like this directly causes violence. It’s not that simple. But turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step toward justifying violence against that person.

We see this with racism. We see it with homophobia. We see it with terrorism. It’s always the same process. The person is dehumanized, and violence then becomes inevitable. And that step is already and constantly taken with women. Women’s bodies are dismembered in ads, hacked apart. Just one part of the body is focused upon, which of course is the most dehumanizing thing you could do to someone. Everywhere we look, women’s bodies turned into things and often just parts of things.

And girls are getting the message these days so young, that they need to be impossibly beautiful, hot, sexy, extremely thin. And they also get the message that they’re going to fail, that there’s no way to really achieve it. Girls tend to feel fine about themselves when they’re eight, nine, ten years old, but they hit adolescence, and they hit a wall, and certainly part of this wall is this terrible emphasis on physical perfection.

So no wonder we have an epidemic of eating disorders, in our country and increasingly throughout the world. I’ve been talking about this for a very long time, and I keep thinking that the models can’t get any thinner, but they do. They get thinner and thinner and thinner. This is Anna Carolina Reston who died a year ago of anorexia, weighing 88 pounds. And at the time, she was still modeling. So the models literally cannot get any thinner. So Photoshop is brought to the rescue. There are exceptions, however. Kate Winslet has been outspoken about her refusal to allow Hollywood to dictate her weight. When British GQ Magazine published this photograph of Winslet, which was digitally enhanced to make her look dramatically thinner, she issued a statement that the alterations were made without her consent. And she said, “I don’t look like that, and more importantly, I don’t desire to look like that. I can tell you that they’ve reduced the size of my legs by about a third.” Bless her heart.

So what can we do about all of this? Well the first step is to become aware, to pay attention, and to recognize that this affects all of us. These are public health problems that I’m talking about. The obsession with thinness is a public health problem. The tyranny of the ideal image of beauty, violence against women, these are all public health problems that affect us all, and public health problems can only be solved by changing the environment.

There may be small errors in this transcript.


Breastfeeding and Weight Loss – Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding and Weight Loss

Weight loss is often an important issue for new mothers. Nursing mothers often hear how easy and rapid weight loss is a great benefit of breastfeeding. While this is true, sometimes after a few months, more of that pregnancy belly is still around than mothers would like. So is dieting safe while breastfeeding?

According to the third edition of the Breastfeeding Answer Book (LLLI), pages 446-448, women after the first two months, when milk is established, can safely lose weight in a gradual way. About a pound a week has not been shown to affect milk production or the growth of the baby. Exercise can also be added – one study indicated 45 minute workouts 4 times a week did increase weight loss with no affect to milk supply or baby weight. Nursing mothers should be sure to be aware of thirst, and drink water or water-based liquids (or milk, if the mother is a regular milk drinker already) whenever thirsty.

This can be accomplished by cutting about 100 calories per day and increasing activity level. In the same book, on page 437, the official recommendation of the Subcommittee on Nutrition during Lactation recommends a 2700 calorie diet but says that most nursing women realistically consume between 2200 and 2460. 1800 is the minimum level considered appropriate *if* the foods are of high nutritional value, as the recommendations are based on a standard American diet which consists of many processed (less nutritious) foods. A prenatal or multivitamin may be appropriate, especially with the lower calories and should be discussed with a health care provider.

Fad diets, liquid diets and rapid weight loss are NOT recommended, although fasts of less than a day have not been shown to affect milk supply. According to La Leche League\’s website (, low carb diets or other diets that create rapid weight loss might not only affect milk supply, but also allow the release of environmental toxins, stored in body fat, to be released into the milk.

Further according to the Breastfeeding Answer Book, the diet of vegetarian mother that is otherwise healthy is not generally a concern. Many vegetarian diets still contain animal products in the form of dairy or eggs, which is more than sufficient. Those eating diets with NO animal protein, like vegan or macrobiotic diets should very carefully watch B12 levels in themselves and in the baby, and may discuss a B12 supplement with their health care provider. There are vegan B12 supplements available. Those not eating dairy products may also want to watch their calcium levels so as not to affect long-term bone density. In general, vegetarians may have lower levels of calcium, but the level in the milk does not seem to be affected. As a bonus, vegetarians also have lower levels of toxins and contaminants in their system thanks to an overall lower fat diet.

For women wanting assistance or personal guidance, commercial diet plans do offer appropriate and customized assistance for breastfeeding mothers. See my article on \”Breastfeeding and Commercial Diet Plans,\” linked below.

via Breastfeeding and Weight Loss – Breastfeeding.