-Rachel Naomi Remen
-Rachel Naomi Remen
Recently, I was intrigued by a link on Facebook to a TEDx talk titled The Epidemic of Beauty Sickness given by Dr. Renee Englen. I am having some issues embedding video on my blog so please click here to be directed to the video.
The video is only fifteen minutes long and I think all women and all mother’s of girls should watch it. That said, if you are feeling a time crunch, I just watched it and would love to share what I learned. Or perhaps I shouldn’t say ‘learned’ because I knew most of what Dr. Englen presented. In fact, just this morning I commented on a blog post written by Shannan Younger of Tween Us titled, “Why I’m an Exhausted Mom Even Though My Kid is as Tween.” In this post, Shannan discusses the bone weary fatigue she is feeling as she steers her tween in to this new phase of life.
So much of the parenting I am doing now is emotional. Gone are the days of chasing a non-stop toddler and here are the days of answering and asking the big questions. Watching The Epidemic of Beauty Sickness was disturbing but it was also validating. I am most certainly not the only one who must constantly remind her daughter that she is so much more than the size of her thighs.
Here are a few take aways from the TEDx talk…
Englen in her work as a researcher has found that no matter how smart woman are, they are consumed by the quest for beauty. They will look at an image of a woman who is too thin and state as much but in the next sentence will say that they feel a need to be like that model. There were 1.2 million plastic surgeries in the United States in 2012 and 90% of those patients were women.
Englen states that instead of looking out at the world world women spend their time analyzing how the world is seeing them. She wonders how women can chronically monitor their body’s appearance and still be engaged with the world.
And the most staggering statistic she presented was from Esquire. It reads, “54% of women would rather be hit by a truck than be fat.” When Englen presented this stat to a room of graduate students, she anticipated great disgust. Instead she received questions like “How big is the truck?” “How fast is it going?” and “How much do you think the truck would hurt?”
As she talks about ways to change the tide, she made a few interesting suggestions. She wonders,
Why not limit ‘mirror time’ in the same way we limit screen time?
Why not tell girls they are generous, hardworking, brave or persistent instead of pretty?
Why not encourage girls to think of their body as a whole that does things instead of parts that are looking at?
Why not indeed?
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. An autobiographical novel written in verse about one of today’s most amazing children’s authors. I borrowed this one from the library and am wishing I owned it because there were many, many underline-able passages. That said, I’m not sure this is book that children will enjoy. I’ll be curious to see what audience embraces it.
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. Big Little Lies was my favorite read of the summer. A well written and crafted page turner. If you are the parent of an elementary school aged child, this one is a must read. You will recognize many of the characters.
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. I am cheating a little bit to put this one my list because I haven’t finished it yet but I have been reading it for so long that it seems like I should be done. While this seems like an anti-recommendation, it really isn’t. While this book is not a page turner for me, it is a great book and well worth the time it is taking me to read it.Read more
This morning, I read my friend Kathleen’s blog post titled 100 Things to Do This Fall. At first I was simply overwhelmed by the fact that she had made a list of 100 things. Whenever I sit down to write a list, I tend to run out of steam around #17. And then I got to Kathleen’s #23- “Make more phone calls. Send fewer e-mails. ”
This is a goal I have set and then re-set for myself a few times just recently.
Over the past few months, I have used e-mail more than ever before. This spring I began my time as president of our elementary school’s home and school association. In this role, I coordinate many social events and fundraisers and oversee dozens of committees. Without e-mail, this level of work would be impossible. There simply would not be enough time to talk with all of these people in person or over the phone.
Sometimes though I wonder if this is really the way to go. Already in my short time as president I have had two experiences that would have been so much better handled in person. Experiences where the message just came across incorrectly or things were misinterpreted or misread. There were messages conveyed in e-mails that went back and forth for days that could have been delivered clearly in a short five minute phone conversation.
I wonder what we have scarified for the ease of e-mail communication. We have saved ourselves time but instead of luxuriating in our found freedom, we simply do more. So what have we actually gained? I wonder what would happen if we started making more phone calls and sending fewer e-mails? I can’t promise that I will always find the time to do this but I promise that I will try.
I can’t wait to see what I find…Read more
“Open your heart, fling your hopes high, set your dreams aloft. I am here to hold your hand.”
Travel to places familiar
and full of tradition.
Travel to new places, full of adventure.
Travel to places old, seen with new eyes.
Time in the city
a time for new traditionsRead more
August Break Day 30- Soft
August Break Day 31- LoveRead more
August Break Day 28- Prompt- Something new. This heart shaped stump has been in our back yard for a year. We just noticed it the other day…Read more