7/30/14

You Are Not Your Number (SAT And Scale)

Hello my beautiful princesses,

Millions of American students this year will take the Scholastic Assessment Test, commonly known as the SATs, which means that this year, millions of students will feel stupid.

Oh, don't feel bad, SATs, I know you're just trying to help colleges make the right decision, but your rigid numbers, evaluating what a group of people decided was "intelligence", scare the living fudge out of this generation, moi included.

I recently got my test scores back from a May assessment. Nothing bad, just nothing great, at least according to the nuisance of a perfectionist brain I have been cursed with. It made me think of the inflexibility of numbers, their inability to compromise and show diversity, which reminded me of a similar tool humans use to assess their characteristics in comparison to others.

Can you guess what that is? (it's in the title, by the way. 800 on critical reading for you, glen coco!)

weight scales. 

The parallels are really quite frightening, considering the magnitude of both these assessments in the average American life.
-both are construed of numbers, simply numbers.
-both are inevitable comparison enablers.
-both are widespread.
-both, in the grand scheme of life, mean nothing.

Here's what I understand to be true about these numbers.
If you are obsessed with your bathroom scale, or that darned Superscore, listen up. This is important:

Just like the number on a weight scale cannot tell you everything about your health, your SAT score doesn't give you the whole picture on your intelligence.  Here's why.

1. Numbers are fickle. Sorry mrs. Morin, 11th grade math teacher, it's true. If you were to weigh Dwayne Johnson, the scale would probably break. And his BMI? forget about it! Characterized as obese right away, even though that man could probably lift the island of Manhattan with one bicep.

Same goes for your intelligence. Maybe math is not your thing, but you are a fantastic listener, showing deep emotional intelligence. Maybe you are amazing at sketching, demonstrating a great depth perception and artistic intelligence. The SATs cannot possibly know that, so it's important that you do:)

2. Comparison Schmoparison. It's easy to compare numbers, but at the end of the day, it's simply illogical. I once knew a girl, very petite, only measured 4 foot 9, and weighed 95 pounds. OF COURSE she weighed 95 pounds, she was miniscule. I'm almost a foot taller, I could cut off both my legs and still not weigh 95 pounds! Comparison is futile.

As previously mentioned, different types of intelligence cannot be measured by the SATs. Maybe the girl in your trig class got a 2350, but can she write/draw/dance/sing/be a good friend like you? I think not.

3. There are many diseases in life that are both terrible and widespread. Homophobia? Still a big thing. Malaria? Still hugely widespread. BMI? Still being used, even though mother Science has proven it to be completely inaccurate. Just because everyone and their grandma takes the SAT, doesn't mean it's good. Don't misunderstand me, definitively take it, but don't take its results personally. 

-----

These tests are there because they help us understand ourselves a bit better, in easy-to-define terms, but they should never define us.
You are worth so much more than your score. 
(hihi that rhymes, enter the poetry contest here)

xoxo

Gabby

7/29/14

4 Videos Girls Must Watch

Hello ma angels:)
crossposted from bbbsblog.wordpress.com
Tired of watching the Kardashians all summer? Need something more intellectually stimulating for you or your young girl? Here are 5 important videos to watch as a female!
4. Always #LikeAGirl
This video went viral last month, and there's a good reason why. We teach girls through our hurtful words that being a girl is weak, or inferior to being a boy. Girls grow up to believe they are meant to be beautiful, and that's all they can be, not strong, or smart, or athletic. Watch this with your youngster and let the message bounce around her head:)
5. Pantene Labels
Ahhh, the unquestionable double standards. This video really strikes home for me, for whenever I have taken on a leadership role in my life, the men around me called me bossy, instead of organized, or a leader. Help your young friend realize the double standards of this world by watching this video, so that she can understand why it's okay to be bossy sometimes. 
2. Try, by Colbie Caillat
I love this song! The song itself is good enough for me, but the message behind it brings it up a couple notches! For a mainstream artist to come out with such a simple yet powerful video is quite admirable. Blast this on your way to school or summer camp, and let the words skin in:)
1. Dove Unstoppable

When I was in the 5th grade, I quit swimming lessons because I didn't like the way my body looks in a bathing suit. And still to this day I loathe going to the beach for those same reasons. Girls need to understand that beauty is not all that you can be, and that insecurities should never stop you 
----

xoxo
Gabby

7/27/14

A Thinspo (rant) Poem

Hello my self-loathing thinspo friends
I know many of you like to pretend
That your pictures of protruding bones
Don't advocate anorexia, or bulimia, or EDNOS

But ah! here's the truth, the harsh reality
Your thinspo is a thinly veiled lie, a formality.
Thinspiration is inspiration for what?
To be thin at all costs, to be dying no matter what.

How is that not encouraging disease?
Encouraging boys and girls to long for those 000 jeans?
How could you live with yourself knowing,
that the damage you cause is ever growing?

Thinspo blogs, you evil thigh gap feeders
Condemn you for homocide, better yet murder!
As your audience dwindles don't ask yourself why
Some of your followers get better, others die.

So my dear thinspo blogs, I bid you goodbye.
I'll waste not energy on your unintentional cries.
But if you ever get sick of being so broken
I'll be right here, with arms wide open.

7/23/14

The Importance of Eyes

Hello my angels,

As some of you may remember, during the prehistoric ages of the blog, I wrote an article, since then rewritten and found here, about how to love yourself on a day to day basis. I've received some lovely feedback from you all, especially through the heartbreaking and inspiring emails I've read over the past 2 and a half years. How. Ever.

When I gave you the advice to look for 3 positive things about your body, some of you replied:
"But Gabby, I don't have any positive things about my body".
...
Let me just take a second to prepare my head-smacking hand.

I understand where you come from, you know I do. When you are filled with self-hatred, observing the the smallest beauty particle seems a rather daunting task.
But you must also understand that you are wrong.
There are thousands of physical attributes you possess that I, myself, find beautiful.

Sometimes it's just about knowing where to look, and knowing how to start.
My suggestion for self-love first timers?
The eyes. 

Yes, those 2 roundish blog smack dab in the middle of your face. Their beginner status lies in the 3 body positive characteristics of any beautiful body part:

1. Unique

No one's eyes look the same. When you're thinking about finding beauty on your face, really look into your eyes.

Their color, whether light blue or dark brown, with millions of different light and dark spectrums of color in between?
unique.
Their shape, whether oval or round, framing the irises like the gold filigree around a Monet?
unique.
Their features, whether big or small, filled with lashes or bare like a beautiful blank canvas?
unique. 

There can be nothing wrong with your eyes in terms of beauty, because no one's eyes are identical in any of the former ways. Your eyes are your eyes only, and that makes them more beautiful than anything else in the world.

Think the same way about your nose or your lips, in terms of originality, and you're on your way to self love stardom!

2. Ability

Sometimes it's important to take a step back and look at our bodies not as sexual objects designed to please the modern beauty standards, but as freaking fantastic machines that make our opportunities endless.

Think for  a quick second about what your eyes do for you everyday. You see the people that you love, the colors that you favour, the foods that you crave, the sights others would kill to see!

We don't spend enough time thanking our bodies for what they help us do.
Beauty isn't just "eh ma gurd that's pretty". It's also strength, and talent, and giving.
By those standards, what is more beautiful than your eyes?

----

Usually I have a 3rd reason for everything.
But this time its up to you to decide why your eyes are beautiful.
Maybe it's the glasses you wear, or the darkness of your undereye circles (I happen to like that, don't judge me).

Whatever the case may be, find beauty, hold on to it, and have a body positive day.
xoxo

Gabby


 

7/17/14

Why I Hate "My 600 Pound Life"

Hello my sweet fudgies,

Let me just talk about something that seriously bothers me.

Last week, I was visiting some American colleges and browsing through TV stations we don't get here in Canada, such as TLC. Now this is not an attack on TLC as a whole, because let me tell you, I live for "Say Yes To The Dress"(crying brides and pretty dresses? sign me up) But I stumbled upon a rerun of "My 600 pound life".



Don't know what that is? Trust me hon, you're not missing out.
It's basically a documentary, if you dare lower this label to such an trashy degree, that follows the struggles and the subsequent weight loss of a 600 pound-ish human.

Again, nothing wrong with TLC, although it is called the "Learning Channel". I don't know what I'm learning by watching Honey Boo Boo dive in some mud, but that's neither here nor there.
Many other networks produce shows like this all over the globe.
It's a freaking epidemic.
And it infuriates me. Why?
Here are 5 reasons these shows should be burned at the TV stake:

1. It portrays the obese population as less than human, as animals: 
Watch as Human A eats an entire box of chocolates in its regular sofa habitat. How gross. 
Wow! She ate that all in 15 minutes! That's insane, but that's how they do it in their house. 
...

Doesn't that sound a bit like an episode of Animal Kingdom?
The way they observe and dissect and judge their behaviours, like we would tigers and whales, changing their status from a simply overweight person to an entirely different creature.

Would they make a TV show about a human who eats a lot?
No, that's not good television. It's too moral, it's too boring?
But making a TV show about a gross fascinating creature? Now that's showbiz.

2. It's purpose is to make others feel better about themselves

Now I must admit, I was once guilty of this action.
I would watch Teen Mom when my life wasn't so great and think to myself: "well at least I'm not pregnant".

But the problem here is that this is the same destructive concept as bullying:
to boost yourself up, you tear others down

So when viewers see these overweight people on TV, they cannot help but enjoy the feeling of superiority. "Well at least I'm not 600 pounds", they think. No wonder these shows are uber popular; it's an instant pick-me-up!

But here's the catch: not being pregnant or not being obese doesn't make you better.
It gives you a false sense of entitlement. Unfortunately, most carry that feeling into the real world, judging and shaming others who are different to feel that same rush of superiority.
Welcome to how regular folks become a-holes, my loves.

3. It puts the emphasis of their existence solely on their weight

The title really says it all: my 600 pound life.
Their life is reduced to their weight.
That is all they are, all they ever have been, all they ever will be.

Only towards the end when they lose the weight can you see a diversity of life scenarios, a complex and intricate life, like "regular people" live.
How. Rude.

Being overweight is not all a person can be.
They have jobs, families, friends, hobbies.
They are human before they are fat, you know, TLC.
or WORLD, really, because few seem to understand.

-----------------------------

These shows can have dangerous consequences on the human psyche, ones that can control the way you see others different than you for the rest of your life.
Sure, these shows can be good entertainement, but at what body negative cost?

xoxo

Gabby





7/12/14

"Too Many" Piercings: A Short Rant Poem

hello my loves!

This is dedicated to all modified folk!

Does my septum ring bother you?
Are my stretched ears annoying you too?
Because your glares and stares are pretty pitiful.
Your excuse? It’s “too much” to be beautiful. 

Too much metal, too much modification,
To fit in your perfect beauty ideation!
Funny, I was unaware of the information
That beauty is only beauty with your type of expression.

Take a glance from my perspective, through my eyes,
‘Cause in my head, beauty has no size.
Never too much, never too little,
Hence there’s no such thing as “too much” to be beautiful.

I know why you think incorrectly.
You believe the lie told by society
That a specific size of curves, a right amount of hair
Is the key to avoid judgmental glares.

So if my piercings make your skin crawl,
And my tattoos make you climb the walls,
I’m sorry to say that it’s your own difficulty!
‘Cause my metal is “just enough” for me.

7/7/14

The Hypocrisy of Body Positivity?

Hello my angel fudgies:)

Yesterday as I was searching the body positive tag on Tumblr, I witnessed an incident that made me rethink the body positive movement.

If you saunter into this tag, you'll find many plus size women flaunting their curves, showing off their pride in their bodies.
They may include a short story about how their confidence used to be dismal, but now they have learned to accept their bodies, flaws and all.
Of course, they receive praise in the form of likes and reblogs, an Internet standing ovation, if you will.
And of course I am 284949% in favour of this demonstration of self-love.

But yesterday I saw a girl, an approximate size 4, who posted pictures of herself with a very similar story to her plus size counterparts. She had lost her confidence as a teenager, but gained it back as she grew into herself.
I expected roars of applause.
After all, I'd seen this type of post before, and the kind of response it usually sparked.

Yet there was no love, no praise.
Instead there was a lot of hate.
"You're just fishing for compliments"
"What do you know about being shamed for your body?"
"Go back to your thinspo blogs"

Is body positivity restricted to those who fit a certain body criteria?
Doesn't that go against the basic pillars of body positivity and self-acceptance?
Indeed, I do not know if this was an isolated incident, or an example of continuous thin shaming, but here's something I know for sure:

Body positivity excludes no one.
If it does, it is no longer body positive. It becomes the media. 

The definition of body positivity is a celebration of all body types.
Yes, certain body types, such as curvier ones, are not as celebrated in the media, hence I understand why some might want to find their niche in an internet community.

But we must not forget that insecurities stem from our brains, not our bodies.
So you could have the body of a Victoria's Secret Angel, and still feel like a big old sack of nothing.
Here's why those insults are irrelevant, and harmful to the body positive community:

1. Fishing for compliments?
Perhaps, but if we scroll through Tumblr and see thousands of women being encouraged to show off their bodies, and being praised for their courage and grace, wouldn't we want to take part in that fun too? Self-love is essential, but getting some positive feedback is not a bad deal either.

2. You don't know "Body shame"?
I have to disagree. The number of thin girls I know who have been called out for looking "anorexia" or "like a twig" is simply astounding. Perhaps they haven't been misrepresented like plus size girls as have on TV, but it doesn't mean they haven't been misrepresented in the real word.

3. Go back to your thinspo blog?
The thinspo community is a dangerous one, and again, a mental rather than a physical threat, so asking someone to go back to their "thinspo" blogs is not only incorrect, but rather insulting. You are comparing someone to an eating disorder friendly black hole. Not cool, children.

I love the body positive community, don't get me wrong, it inspires many of my posts.
But we must include all bodies in this positivity, not just the ones we identify with.
If not, we lose the entire purpose of a positive, body friendly community.

Over and out
xoxo

Gabby



7/6/14

Me Update

Hello my angels

I haven't been posting as much as I would like these past few weeks.
And I could give you plenty of excuses;
how my job is exhausting
how I'm trying to enjoy my summer
how my left nostril hurts
blablabla. No excuses.

I just wanted to update you all on my life right now!

1. My job: I have a pain internship (rolling in that dough, I know!) at Big Brothers Big Sisters of West Island, where I do mostly translating, excel worksheet preparing and, of course, blogging!
Here are a few articles I have written for them!

Robin Williams vs BBBS
Why A Blog? 

2. My spoken word contest: the deadline is approaching, and the 100$ bath and body works gift card is ever so tempting, so keep those submissions coming!

3. I'll posting a lot more on my Youtube channel this summer, so don't forget to subscribe. Perhaps a tattoos and piercings video will show up soon...?

That's about it for today.
More in depth article coming your way this week!

xoxo

Gabby