How to talk to your daughter about her body, step one: don’t talk to your daughter about her body, except to teach her how it works.
Don’t say anything if she’s lost weight. Don’t say anything if she’s gained weight.
If you think your daughter’s body looks amazing, don’t say that. Here are some things you can say instead:
“You look so healthy!” is a great one.
Or how about, “you’re looking so strong.”
“I can see how happy you are – you’re glowing.”
Better yet, compliment her on something that has nothing to do with her body.
Don’t comment on other women’s bodies either. Nope. Not a single comment, not a nice one or a mean one.
Teach her about kindness towards others, but also kindness towards yourself.
Don’t you dare talk about how much you hate your body in front of your daughter, or talk about your new diet. In fact, don’t go on a diet in front of your daughter. Buy healthy food. Cook healthy meals. But don’t say “I’m not eating carbs right now.” Your daughter should never think that carbs are evil, because shame over what you eat only leads to shame about yourself.
Encourage your daughter to run because it makes her feel less stressed. Encourage your daughter to climb mountains because there is nowhere better to explore your spirituality than the peak of the universe. Encourage your daughter to surf, or rock climb, or mountain bike because it scares her and that’s a good thing sometimes.
Help your daughter love soccer or rowing or hockey because sports make her a better leader and a more confident woman. Explain that no matter how old you get, you’ll never stop needing good teamwork. Never make her play a sport she isn’t absolutely in love with.
Prove to your daughter that women don’t need men to move their furniture.
Teach your daughter how to cook kale.
Teach your daughter how to bake chocolate cake made with six sticks of butter.
Pass on your own mom’s recipe for Christmas morning coffee cake. Pass on your love of being outside.
Maybe you and your daughter both have thick thighs or wide ribcages. It’s easy to hate these non-size zero body parts. Don’t. Tell your daughter that with her legs she can run a marathon if she wants to, and her ribcage is nothing but a carrying case for strong lungs. She can scream and she can sing and she can lift up the world, if she wants.
Remind your daughter that the best thing she can do with her body is to use it to mobilize her beautiful soul.
It only takes one person. Support Elena Rossini and The Illusionists.
I first met Elena Rossini a little shy of four years ago, when I first moved to London. An Italian feminist filmmaker living in Paris, I had read about her work (on Feministing, I think), and thought she seemed like exactly the kind of person I would like to meet.
And she was. Like me, Elena was then two years into the creation of her first magnum opus. In my case, my book The Sex Myth, “a consciousness-raising exploration of how sex has come to define who we are and how we fit in”; in her case, her documentary The Illusionists,a damning critique of the marketing of unattainable beauty standards around the world.
In the years that have followed, Elena has been an inspiration to me. I have a huge admiration for her tenacity, for her sense of what is possible, her big picture thinking, her ability to draw people into her projects and make them feel involved – and, of course, her skill as a filmmaker and storyteller.
Elena and I are now both six years into our respective projects. Mine is currently sitting with my publisher, with only a couple more rounds of edits and polishing to go. And The Illusionists is hitting the festival circuit, looking for a home that befits its message and Elena’s formidable filmmaking skills. But this has proved to be as much a challenge as creating the film itself. In order to get her film seen and maximise its impact, Elena needs support from someone who is already a big name in the industry. Which is where you come in.
This week, Elena is launching a campaign based around the idea that it only takes one person. She is reaching out to five people whom she believes could turn The Illusionists around, whether as an executive producer, an ambassador, a voiceover narrator, or a mentor - Lena Dunham, Stephen Fry, Geena Davis, Michael Moore and Alex Gibney – directing them to a sneak preview of the first four minutes of the film on her website, and encouraging her legion of Twitter followers and supporters to get involved.
It would be great if you could get involved, too. I think you will really like the film. And if you know of anyone else who might be able to help The Illusionists make the impact it deserves, please reach out them – or Elena – over Twitter.
You can watch a short of The Illusionists above, and read more about Elena’s journey here.
Hands down the best Buzzfeed quiz I’ve ever seen.
Before you blast others, take a look a little closer to home. The US is happy to sensationalize Orientalist perceptions of oppressive, anti-feminist regimes and cultures in the Middle East. The truth is, women all over the world face injustice of many kinds and degrees.
SOLIDARITY, my friends. Solidarity.
(via World Bank)
I’m very excited to share this video I made about the wonderful art project Stop Telling Women To Smile.
Like the dirtiest slur they can think of.
And when they do, ask them
what is so shameful about defending your gender
And their gender, and all genders
Remind them that feminism is about equality
They won’t believe you
Really, you’re reminding yourself
And when they say you’re crazy and radical
ask them what is so terrible about burning a piece of lace
Is it really as bad as one in four women being violated
And told to pull down their skirts, hold their keys between their fingers
And if they bring up Eve in the garden
ask them where we’d be if Adam had eaten the apple
Remind them that
Queen Victoria built the modern world,
And Ada Lovelace the computer,
That they cut off the head of Marie Antoinette for nothing,
To punish her for something she did not do
And burned Joan of Arc for being strong
Stronger than a man
When they mumble and stutter, and finally
call you something terrible
go back to fighting, and remember
do not let them hand you the stake