Plus Size Models: A Poem

To those who think plus size models are a bad influence,
I'm afraid I've got some bad news.
Diversity is a language in which you are not fluent,
And my people and I will preach inclusivity from our pews
Sing songs of self-love till we are shackled to our tombs.

Perhaps you think being plus size is a poor excuse of health,
And hence you and your BMI officers deplore
The fact that more women of more sizes are gaining wealth
Perhaps not in cash, nor in gold, but in amore,
In the admiration of plus size men and women whom they adore.

Health is not a number, nor is it a size,
So put down your magnifying glass and take a step back
Health cannot be measured by your poisonous eye,
Because if curves are bad, than so are those collarbones sticking out,
Deep and protruded bones; how is that better than fat?

No, you're dismissal of the plus size world
Has more to do with insecurity, and less to do with worry
Because if millions of differently shaped boys and girls
See Tara Lynn rocking her rolls in all her beauty
Maybe you'll have no one to put down but your selfie.


Skin Bleaching and Body Dysmorphia

Hello my gorgeous fudgies!

I recently learned about skin bleaching from a black friend of mine. We were discussing body dysmorphia, which is a mental disorder that makes one believe their appearance is unacceptable and must be corrected. We were trying to find the line between typical bodily insecurities and BDD, when my friend suggested as an example of BDD "skin bleaching".

Being as pale a white girl as one can get before being transparent, I did not quite understand what she meant. She then went on to explain that in the colored community, sometimes a lighter skin tone is considered more beautiful than a dark one, or at least that's what the media seems to be saying. So some women of color, and even men, decide to bleach their skin with all types of toxins and chemicals to lighten their complexion.

Now I must preface this discussion by saying a few things:
1. I am white, so my understanding of the light black vs dark black situation can only be superficial, as I haven't experienced it first hand.
2. I know that skin bleaching can actually be done in a safe manner, supervised by doctors, for health related reasons. Lightening moles and dark spots that could be cancerous, or evening out the spots of someone who suffers from vitiligo.
Taking these 2 facts into consideration, I still want to discuss this issue with you all.

Firstly, the continuing devaluation of darker girls and boys is simply a product of the still ever present vestiges of racism. After all, back when Africans were brought to the Americas to be enslaved, they were incredibly dark, which is an evolutionary product of sun exposure.

As mixed children were being brought to this earth, and African-Americans slowly but surely earned rights to get off the cotton and sugar plantations, I can understand why a lighter skin tone could signify wealth, status and proximity to a white person, who was, at the time and sadly still to this day, considered superior.

But it's 2015, Gabby! Things have changed!
Have they?

Take a long look at this year's Oscar  nominees for best Actor and Actress in a leading or supporting role. As milky white as racism gets, children.
And I won't even bring up the problem of police brutality, because if you don't believe there is institutionalized racism in this country after these events, then you never will.

However, one has to wonder whether skin bleachers are simply a product of their society, or do they suffer from a greater body dysmorphia? After all, only a minority of WOC participate in skin bleaching.

Well, I'd argue it's both.
There are many reasons to feel attacked by the media if you are a darker skinned girl. But like eating disorders, there has to be an opening. An opening in your brain, a vulnerability, a lack of familial support, an already present insecurity, in order for something so vicious as an ED or BDD to sliver its way in to a person's core.

I only know so much, so I'd really appreciate it if you left a comment on your thoughts and experiences with skin bleaching.




Should You Be Wearing That?

Hello darlings!

While I was researching my dashboard for picture ideas, I fell upon this post. Obviously, we are going to ignore some sort of reality star being, as a real housewife must be, ridiculous. I want to focus today on the topic of expression and conforming to others ideals.

Many people believe, consciously or not, that people of a certain figure, a certain weight or a certain structure have to dress a certain way.

Though we may associate them with a curvier body type, these snarky comments can attack even the thinnest of people.

Don't know what I'm talking about? How about some examples:

-OMG have you seeeen her thighs?! She should not be wearing those shorts

-OMG have you seen that 2 piece she's wearing? You can clearly see all her bones, anorexic twig.

...sound familiar? (If not, I want the address of the rock you are living under, so I can join you, STAT)

These remarks are made to mask insecurities, I promise you, yet it can still be hard not to listen to them.

Unsure about an outfit because you fear it is not appropriate for your figure? Doubtful of a piece of clothing because it doesn't fit the mold other people have prescribed to your body type? Self conscious about ANY expression of individuality you fear may cause some whispers?

Here is what I have to say to you:

It is THEIR problem. Their's, not yours.
What kind of sad life would we live if all our decisions were based on other's judgment of us? You can express yourself in any healthy manner you desire!

So what if they don't like looking at it? As far as I know, no one is holding a gun to their heads demanding that they stare at you all day.

If your fierceness is blinding these poor souls, they can put on some shades. Don't dim your light for those who don't see the beauty in it.



Eating Disorders=White Girls Probs?

Hello loves,

If you were to base your perspective of eating disorder demographics solely on young adult literature, media news stories, Dr Phil and Tumblr (oh, tumblr...I just never run out of rants against you<3), you would come to the conclusion that eating disorders are in fact a rich white girl problem.
To be honest, until very recently, when I visualized a severe eating disorder sufferer locked up in a psych ward, she was almost as pale as I am(I've met some of you in person, yall know I'm legally translucent).

I went to great lengths to debunk the male ED debate in my ANEB article, translated here, but I never really considered the race issue until I found this statistics bank from a study on Eating Disorders in Minority Populations. 

African-American, Asian, Hispanic, Native American; as the webpage demonstrates, no one is spared. The results absolutely floored me, and made me reconsider most of what I thought I knew about the societal body image conundrum.  Here are some of my reflections on the topic:


We often associate the black community with a more accepting body positive mindset, which leads many of us to believe they couldn't face the same body image struggles as other races do. But we know that's simply not the case(see stats), and NEDA explains it as a consequence of acculturation, defined as the process of shifting values to the host culture from the culture of origin. In the occidental world, diversity of culture is generally celebrated, leading to a melting pot-type of atmosphere. 

However, this can become problematic when minority cultures start dwindling at the expense of a dominant "American" (ie white) society. That beautiful body positivity found in Hispanic and African American communities is slowly being assimilated into the dangerous pro-thin movement, which can lead to serious repercussions on influenceable kids and teens:  "In one study of Cuban American women, Jane, Hunter, and Lozzi found that close identification with Cuban culture was associated with lower EAT-26 scores, indicating less negative attitudes toward eating, and may have a protective factor in the development of eating disorders. Chamorro & Flores-Ortiz found that second-generation Mexican-American women, those born in the US to foreign-born parents, were the most acculturated and had the highest disordered eating patterns."

We letting a thinspo, thigh gap, size 0 obsessed culture win a fight against a healthier counterpart. No wonder eating disorders are on the rise in most 2nd and 3rd generation immigrant households. 


We know women of varying body types are vastly unrepresented in the media, but the homogeneity of beauty ideals is as equally a race issue. "Browne (1993) reports that African-American women feel tremendous pressure as role models, and that as a result, feel they must be perfect in order to counteract negative stereotypes." 
Think about the (rare) women of colour who were able to break these barriers; Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Naomi Campbell, and most of the models featured in ad campaigns or fashion spreads. In order to obtain their level of success, they had to beven more perfect than their preferred caucasian counterparts. 

So the young people of similar racial backgrounds look up to the few men/women who look like them on TV and think, for example, that is what I, a hispanic girl, should look like. Moreover, it sends the message that to reach your dreams , especially considering your minority status, you must look a certain way. 

Universal Motivation

But most of all, by associating ED with the caucasian race, we are forgetting the ultimate motivator behind all disordered eating behaviours: emotions. 

We can argue and bitch about the media, and society, but at the end of the day, as I've said multiple times in various articles, the media alone is not enough to push someone over the edge. 

Depression, trauma, grief, stress: these feelings have never been exclusive to being white! 
They are the main instigators of eating disorders, hence to even insinuate that men and women of color cannot develop eating disorders is to assert that they do not face the daily struggles that white people face. Which would in fact be the most ridiculous declaration since lord knows when. 


We all need to rethink the way we imagine the world around us.
Hope you all have a marvelous day<3


Dear Male Population

Dear Male Population
I regret to inform you that the rumors are false
Despite what you and your boys seem to think
Girls don't try to look good solely for your cause

Some of us actually enjoy putting on makeup
So why would we bother wasting our precious mornings
putting on eyeshadow for a doofus
who doesn't even notice that our eyelids are glowing?

Sometimes I want my hair to be straight,
Is that such a crime?
If you knew how your hair looks to me
Honey you might not criticize my beautifying time.

I know this poem is quite hetero-normative
For not all girls like boys, and vice versa
Regardless, looking good for us is about feeling good
And trust, it has little to do with impressing ya.

So if we're late to class and our eyelashes seem longer than usual
Don't assume we did it to make you think we're "hot"
Because if you think we are trying to grab your attention,
let's be real, we probably are.


Body Policing Poem

Hello my loves
I wrote this poem for Derriere Le Miroir, which will be published shortly. (here it is!)
But in the mean time why not translate it for all of you to enjoy?!
Have a lovely day <3

2 am, laying on the floor of my school’s library
Nose deep in a book, rocking dingy old sweatpants
Hidden behind a mountain of books, I bother nobody
Until I guy friend of mine gives me a weird glance.

“Hey, you don’t look like yourself” he said
With a smirk carving into his well rested face.
His stare rests on my broken eyes, begging to go to bed,
With their deep purple bags too engraved to erase.

Who does he think he is, telling me such things in a library?!
« Why yes, I am without sleep, without my jewels,
I’m going through finals week, I don’t give a fuck if I look pretty »
His eyebrows raise, it seems I’ve surprised this fool.

« Wow, okay, don’t get so worked up
It’s just that you could have fixed yourself up
You don’t really look like yourself without a bit of makeup»
Please tell me he’s kidding, if not I might throw up.

So who exactly do I look like without my war paint?
My short blond lashes, are they fake? Are they lies?
Who are my acne scars trying to impersonate?
And from whom did I steal pores of such a size?

I realized the truth had to be revealed:
« I don’t wake up in the morning looking flawless.
I have imperfections, I have insecurities,
Yes, I’m human, to such a sin I confess!

It’s true, I like embellishing myself, it's my prerogative
To feel more confidant, to look less exhausted
But know that this doesn’t define my beauty
I have exams to cram for, so do me a favour and leave »

You are your own police, of your own body
Your choices, your values, your decisions; it’s your liberty
If someone tries to control your self-expression
Make them realize they’re messing with the wrong woman.


Eating Disorders: Just A Teenager Problem?

Hello dolls!
Here's an article I wrote for ANEB http://www.anebquebec.com/blogue/2013/12/05/les-ta-juste-un-caprice-dados/ and translated. 

I already debunked the myth regarding men and eating disorders. Today, older populations! 

Oh yes, indeed, young adults aren't the only people in distress.
According to NEDA statistics, In 2003, 1/3 of inpatient admissions to a specialized treatment center for eating disorders were over 30 years old. 
So why do so many people consider eating disorders to be a "teenage problem", and why is this reasoning so faulty? 

Let's rewind a little bit. What causes an ED? Obviously, the answer varies from person to person, but there are triggers common to the majority of cases. 
First of all, a very prominent theory is the one involving the media and its indirect imposition of impossible physical expectations. 

Yes, it is true that young boys and girls in development are very vulnerable to those societal messages because they often lack self-esteem and a definite sense of identity. How-EVER, we cannot underestimate the amount of those messages directed towards a more mature audience. Beauty and skincare ads, like the one featured on the right, can easily make women over 30 feel as though their beauty vanishes at the appearance of a single wrinkle. Let's not forget the boom of the plastic surgery industry, making accessible a wide array of  rejuvenating procedures to anybody with access to a credit card and a needle now more than ever. 

So how can we possibly imagine that teenagers are the only ones to suffer the difficult consequences of these destructive images and practices? 

Moreover, a very common trigger among people suffering from an ED is stress. Young adults worry about   their grades, friendships, romantic relationships, future; all of these are strong catalysts of psychological distress that can lead to poor body image. 
But does anxiety disappear after adolescence? Of course it doesn't! 

Adults work, maintain their friendships and/or romantic relationships, pay their bills, raise kids, all of the stressors! On top of all of that, since adults generally have more responsibilities, they are less likely to get help and take time to recover, which can add to their already-high anxiety, and the vicious cycle goes round and round.

To top it all off, the hormone changes present in woman experiencing pregnancy or menopause are just as disorienting as puberty's biological mess. 

Here's the deal: "Body image dissatisfaction in midlife has increased dramatically, more than doubling from 25% in 1972 to 56% in 1997." But if no one dares speak of this demographic's unfortunate reality, those number won't stop climbing. 

So talk to you mom, grand-mother, uncle, friend, teacher, whoever! Breaking the silence  helps build a better world.