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Notes From A BeautifulPeople.com Reject

Submitted by on January 8, 2010 – 7:09 pmNo Comment |

Well, the votes are in and the email has been sent to my spam folder (I thought that was kind of ironic).  And I quote:  “Unfortunately, your application to BeautifulPeople Network was not successful.  The members of BeautifulPeople did not find your profile attractive enough.”

Since the only thing I put in my profile was a picture of myself, what that email is really saying is: “Sorry lady, your ugly mug just ain’t cuttin’ it!”

The email went on to encourage me to “submit a better photo or more interesting profile text” and then request that the members of BeautifulPeople vote on me again.

Yeaaaa…How ’bout no? (Said in my best Austin Powers Mini Me voice).

The thing is, four years ago, this kind of rejection would have sent me spiraling into a vicious cycle of self-loathing and emotional eating; and yes, if you’re wondering, I would have resubmitted my profile. Over and over again. Until accepted. While I’m still utterly repulsed by BeautifulPeople’s premise, I am grateful to the site for reminding me of one of the things I’m passionate about–and providing me with the opportunity to write about it.

Having struggled with and come out on the other side of an eating disorder and body image issues, it is now on my lifelong to-do list to inspire other women to be confident in themselves and their bodies–regardless of their dress size.  Over the past few years, this mission has taken different forms and now I’d like for one of those forms to be this blog.  Confidence IS stylish and I want The Style Geek to be a platform to help women find that type of style.

In grad school, I did a lot of research on the interaction of the media and female body image.  What I found was that over the past 30 years, models and other women in magazines, TV shows and movies have become increasingly thin while “real” women have only gotten larger.  Today, the average model wears a size 0-2 while the average American woman wears a size 12.

This disparity has caused those of us who don’t fit the mass media’s “thin ideal” mold to become increasingly dissatisfied with our bodies–so much so that researchers have actually coined the term “normative discontent” to describe the fact that the majority (somewhere between 80-95 percent) of American women express dissatisfaction with their bodies.  Given the aforementioned fact, you would think that the media would do everything in its power to encourage women to accept themselves and their bodies–but it’s just the opposite.  Studies show that “between 45-62 percent of the content in teen fashion magazines focus on appearance and that only 30 percent or less of the articles focus on identity or self-development; and the statistics only get more abysmal for magazines targeted at older women.

These studies are really only the tip of the iceberg; and don’t worry–I intend to find and share as many of them as I can with you guys! My thought is that if we understand how wrong some of the messages our culture is sending us are, we can work together to combat them–starting with our own self-image.

As the ever lovely (and confident) Nina Garcia (a.k.a Tim Gunn’s Project Runway counterpart) says: “Style comes from knowing who you are and who you want to be in the world; it does not come from wanting to be somebody else, or wanting to be thinner, shorter, taller, prettier…”

The most important step to being stylish is being confident!

*Research found in this post was extracted from the book Exacting Beauty: Theory, Assessment and Treatment of Body Image Disturbance by J.Kevin Thompson, Leslie J. Heinberg, Madeline Altabe and Stacey Tantleff-Dunn

*Photo courtesy of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty

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