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Comedian Shows the Ridiculousness of the Thigh Gap Phenomenon

It’s always good to have a laugh, especially when it’s about something that either bothers us a lot or makes no sense when taken out of context. That’s what comedians like Luisa Omielan aim to do – point out the contradiction in how people tend to see themselves and what they think it’s expected of them to be; and her topic of the moment is the infamous thigh gap phenomenon.

Luisa is a comedian who talks about the experiences women go through due to their bodies not being up to what others expect, from having a noticeable gut to not being able to look young and beautiful forever. These are all things that women have to deal with in their daily lives always, and it’s what makes her A-list material.

In a recent Stand-Up routine in Australia, Luisa brought up the interesting thigh gap subject. Her joke centred on the fact that a lot of women are always stressing over trying to achieve a perfect thigh gap, whether it’d be exercising till they drop or eating only the bare minimum to be skinny enough to reach that “ideal”.

Of course, some people naturally have thigh gaps due to their body structure but this phenomenon became really controversial because a lot of women seen on social media with thigh gaps are very skinny. Thus, it drove people to want to be skinnier so that their thighs don’t touch each other when they stand up straight, allowing a clear space in the middle.

We’ve talked about the mystery that is the thigh gap once before, as well as how social media influences us and puts unrealistic expectations for what we should do or look like.

Nevertheless, even if people are told that what they’re trying to pursue is hard to obtain that won’t mean their opinions will change. As we stated before, sometimes you need a more whimsical and comical approach to get people to look at themselves and question what’s around them.

Luisa added this to her routine and combines it with jokes that are meant to make fun of our insecurities and in doing so, the satire makes us feel better about ourselves as it points out how ridiculous it really us. In her routines, she both mocks the typical situations that someone might end up in due to their weight or appearance and then turns it around by talking about how we should be proud of them regardless of what others say and not be so self-deprecating.

Thigh gap or no thigh gap, one shouldn’t be working towards some ideal body shape or size because each of us are built differently. What is more important is loving yourself and taking the right steps to a healthy life through proper exercise and diet. Be confident!


Photo Credits: Shape magazine

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Can Addiction Be Compared to a Disease?

We’ve all heard the different tales of addiction, about how drugs and alcohol can affect us and change our minds, making us dependent on them. Addiction is usually treated as Public Service Announcements (PSA), highlighting how wrong it is to rely on drugs or alcohol and essentially warning the audience that if they ever start on drugs or binge drinking, you’re sure to end up like those addicts who can’t even lead a normal life anymore. In other words, addicts are shamed but what if addiction is compared to other medical diseases?

First Call, an alcohol and drug prevention recovery organisation in Kansas City has released a couple of ads to illustrate just that. As part of the #stoptheshame campaign, the highlight of these ads is showing how the world would be if people treated Cancer and Parkinson’s patients (diseases that also affect our bodies and brains) the same way that they treat addicts.

The results are, as you can guess, pretty dark and severe, yet realistic. Everyone knows that diseases, such as cancer, can take a toll not just on the individuals suffering from it physically but also on their family emotionally and financially. The main message from these ads is that  the emotional and psychological toll these cancer patients and their families go through is similar to addicts who have reached a point where it is difficult for them to fight against the source of their addiction due to how much it messes them up.

But surely we can’t compare those two right? After all, a cancer patient has no choice on whether they get the disease but addicts made the choice to start taking drugs or drinking too much alcohol. But things aren’t so cut and dry.

While it’s true that the responsibility falls on people whether they choose to consume the drugs or alcohol (though sometimes, such as the case of relying on medication, it’s not), but the effects that drugs and alcohol addiction have on a person are not that different from those who suffer from cancer or Parkinson’s.

In fact, research shows that addiction to something can be passed (and therefore inherited) genetically and, similar to deteriorating conditions, can recur or maybe even be cured.

None of that is common knowledge though, which has led people with addiction problems to hide in shame of what others might think, afraid of being judged or treated like a charity case because of their situation.

That’s what First Call aims to do: it wants to show people the effect that we have on someone who lives with addiction and how we should change the way we think and treat them. Just like how you would show support and care to a person with a sickness that they can’t control.

We should also extend that same hand to addicts, especially if they genuinely want to get better. It’s not just out of good deed either – the people behind these ads have experienced dealing with addicts, and some have been addicts themselves.

All of this shows us that, just as we’re leaning more towards accepting people from all body types, genders and sexuality we should also allow those who have made a few wrong choices in their lives; because if we don’t, then what hope do they have?

For more information about First Call, you can go to their website for #stoptheshame as well as check out their Facebook page. We hope that with more time and knowledge people will start to change their outlook on this subject and make things better for everyone.


Photo Credits: Stop the Shame

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Fashion of Plumping Up a Plus Sized Model?

It has become fact that the fashion industry is one cruel mistress; be it how models who are often called ‘fat’ (when they’re not) or how one’s body image is often damaged due to all the tricks (one of which is photoshop) used to achieve that “perfect” look. Even in this day of diversity where plus-sized models aren’t a rarity anymore, it comes as surprising and even sad to hear about the things that these models have to go through to be able to do their job. This was particularly evident for Iskra Lawrence, a 25-year-old plus-sized British model who talked about the different tricks that the fashion industry implements in order to create a “perfect” image and how that affects our body confidence in turn.

Iskra is the powerhouse plus-sized lingerie model for the Aerie brand and an advocate for body positivity by becoming a leading voice for the #EveryBODYisBeautiful campaign. However, she is unique even within the plus-sized model category as the size 14 model is (don’t be shocked) actually the size of the average UK and US woman.

Thus, while she models, most clothing she’s made to try out has trouble fitting her as many fashion brands see her as being too thick to be dressed in their size 0 outfits while not thick enough to fit into their plus-sized range. Because of that, it was hard for Iskra to really find a place in the fashion industry. She either had to wear breast or butt paddings or her photo has been retouched multiple times so that she could fit with the “perfect” mould that the fashion industry wants for both the skinny and the plus-size images throughout her career. It is quite shocking when Iskra also revealed that her images were altered so much that her family, friends as well as herself from recognising herself in multiple magazine ads.

In a separate interview, Iskra commented that it would’ve made more sense for these fashion brands to either find a model in the size of the clothes used in the photoshoots or simply get clothes which fit the models chosen – especially since these brands would have the models vital stats during casting.

 

Perhaps that is why the title of Iskra’s TEDx talk of “Ending the Pursuit of Perfection” is so apt. Just like what she said, with the fashion industry and the media bombarding us with images of “perfection”, we females have been taught from young on the pursuit of this ‘thing’ which is impossible to achieve. As a result, teenage girls have an unhealthy relationship with themselves and body dysmorphia often occurs. Which is why she feels that girls need to be taught self-love and self-care in order to build one’s confidence.

Why does one’s confidence have to stem from the size of one’s body or the ability to fit into certain sized clothes? Seems ridiculous but Iskra shared how she nearly went back to her teenage mindset of being ‘unworthy’ when the jeans she tried on, in the largest available size at the store, didn’t fit her.

Ladies, you are not your size. As mentioned in a previous article, being fit (or even looking so) does not mean that you’re healthy. What is more important is to be healthy and happy. Once you achieve that, you’ll naturally be confident and love yourself.

 


Photo Credits: Mendoza Post, Instagram, Daily Mail, TEDx

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Brewery Owns Up to Its Mistakes By Giving its Ads a New Look

Everybody makes mistakes at some point in life, whether it’d be something as small as breaking a simple rule or as colossal as…well, making a sexist campaign that objectifies women. However, what’s important when you make a mistake is not just about apologising for it but to make up for it, and to show people that you own up to it. That last part is what Brazilian Beer brand, Skol is trying to do and is one step forward for #bodyconfidence.

But let’s turn back time a little bit. Just what exactly did Skol do that it’s trying to make up for? The answer to that is also what you can blame nearly every beer company for. Skol, like many other businesses of its kind, used to specialise in creating ads that would cater towards the male gaze. It did this by promoting their beer in commercials with sexy women and gave men the impression that these beautiful women associated desirable men with Skol beer.

Granted, this isn’t anything new when it comes to alcohol brands, in fact, it’s because of those types of ads that the phrase “sex sells” became so popular, even with the ‘pin-up’ girl becoming somewhat iconic. Want to sell a couple of cans of beer? Just throw in a scantily clad woman there with a come-hither-look, and you’ll be swimming in money.

Most brands tend to shake off or ignore their past transgressions. For example, famous companies such as Hugo Boss, Volkswagen and even IBM (IBM!) supported Nazi Germany back in World War II. Of course, you’re not going to be hearing about that particularly unpleasant part of their legacy. Doesn’t stop people from learning about it and it certainly doesn’t give them any favours by trying to hide it.

Needless to say, sexism is not something any brand would be proud to admit nowadays, in an age where people are becoming more conscious about the treatment of women in the media, and Skol knows this too. Instead of simply brushing their past mistakes under the rug however, Skol has instead chosen to accept and make up for their past mistakes by starting their new “Reposter” campaign.

For Reposter, Skol sought out illustrators Eva Uviedo, Criola, Camila de Rosario, Elisa Arruda, Manuela Eichner and Carol Rosetti. These artists got a chance to rework and give new life to some of Skol’s old ads as a way to revitalise and show that there is diversity in women kind and that females are more than just another pretty face.

The artists were able to let their creativity flow and create different styles of ads that not only painted women in a new, more understanding, light but also catered to the female gaze! After all, we do live in a world where women are just as interested in beer as men are and are also the ones actively buying these drinks.

Nonetheless, Skol isn’t the first brand who’s trying to appeal to the female sensibility or to embrace this more conscious society. Mexican beer brand Tecate released a few series of (actually pretty dark and severe) ads condemning physical abuse against women, which isn’t on the same level as what Skol is doing but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

Which is why what Skol is doing is really refreshing and allows us all to laugh at all those old sexist ads in the first place. Now, who wants a cold beer?


Photo Credits: AdWeek and Skol

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Real Men Play With (Barbie) Dolls

Who said that real men don’t play with dolls? Gone are the days where gender stereotypes were reinforced, especially by the patriarch of the family. In fact, studies have shown that fathers who take the time to play with their daughters helped their girls develop a higher sense of self-worth and confidence. The brand that is really trying to break its own stereotypes is Mattel, specifically for Barbie. Besides its new and updated look, Mattel saw fit to recognise and celebrate all the dads who take the time to play Barbie with their little girls with their new #DadsWhoPlaywithBarbie campaign.

The campaign focuses on showcasing actual fathers and daughters playing together, with the father, in particular, playing with a Barbie of his own. They released the first advertisement during the NFL’s AFC Championship game on 22nd January  (because what better time to grab the attention of fathers everywhere). The ad consisted of a 30-second video called “Doctor” which showcased a father playing Barbie with his daughter, with the father saying lines such as, “I’m a typical man’s man” and “Sundays are always football, and now that gets interrupted with a little Barbie time.”

This is the next step in a series of marketing campaigns that are trying to modernise people’s perception of Barbies and to give girls a new way to imagine themselves and their futures, while also increasing the public’s positive opinion of the doll.

This is fitting too, as Barbie had been gaining a lot of ire over the last few decades due to her lack of diversity and unrealistic body proportions which have been attributed to teaching young girls about negative body image.

Though it does make you wonder, why focus on fathers playing Barbies with their girls? And the answer is quite simple. Mattel has a partnership with Wake Forest University to do research on how girls’ development can be affected for the purpose of new narrative ideas. This study found that girls with fathers who contributed in their childhood (playing with them being amongst that) developed higher levels of self-worth and self-confidence, which affects how they see and conduct themselves during adulthood.

That’s not the only reason, however. Mattel is also trying to change its focus so that it doesn’t just feature toys for girls. They want to make sure to shatter gender norms with their new campaign, amongst that being the famous “men don’t play with dolls” phrase that gets turned around and taught to boys from a very young age. This way both boys and girls can grow up believing that they can be anything they put their mind to.

The campaign has been a success so far. Ever since it’s airing in January, it has become very popular and has increased expectations of the brand by 20 percent; something that only increased even more with the release of subsequent ads.

This is a nice way to move forward in giving children (and even adults) a chance to see that the world is diverse and that fathers too, play a very important part in shaping their children’s lives. Hopefully with this push, more fathers will try to play more with their daughters and be a bigger part of their lives as important role models.


Photo Credits: Mattel

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Innately Feminine – Full Day Practice for Ladies

This is not a drop-in class. Please make sure you have attended a two-hour Art of Feminine Presence preview prior to signing up for this. Please check all available dates here.

Are you ready? This is not your average one day workshop! Get ready for major results!

You will experience practices that instantly shift you into a more Radiant, Attractive, Magnetic, Present, Powerful, Receptive, Succulent, Grounded, and Joyful state with good boundaries.

spiritual (4)Women know a lot, we’ve done our work, and we are being called like never before to show up and be seen and heard with their messages, gifts, and full embodiment of themselves.

But many are struggling & frustratedwith their level of confidence, personal presence, and don’t know how they are really coming off to others. They are confused about their magnetism, and about their defence mechanisms (habits) that they’ve unconsciously developed to feel safe, that may actually decrease their presence, or even worse, repel others.

Many women also have a heart longing for a deeply passionate and spiritual relationship. But we’ve been cut off from the most nourishing, magnetic, deeply rooted, receptive, intuitive, mysterious, healthy, passionate, succulent part of ourselves, –the part of ourselves needed to attract these things into our lives — -due to career, trauma and abuse, & societal conditioning.

Come home, sisters… you are safe and loved here…

What this work can do for you:

  1. Develop a strong, magnetic presence that attracts the healthy attention you want: personally and professionally.
  2. Feel more comfortable with your sensuality and feel safer and at ease with receiving attention without shutting down.
  3. More fully understand how connecting to your feminine energy helps you attract and keep the intimate partnership you desire.
  4. Learn energetically strong boundaries while keeping an open heart with those with predatory energy or draining energy.
  5. Access the most attractive force you have within you – your feminine essence.
  6. Stop using the exhausting method of forcing to get things done, learn to follow your inner power –that is productive and more joyful.
  7. Experience more passion in your life – particularly your love life.
  8. Learn to follow your body’s wisdom and “higher guidance” rather than always pushing to make things happen.
  9. Look and feel more authentically confident walking into any room.
  10. Tap into an endless source of creative power!
  11. Learn energetic practices that spark an instant expansion of a woman’s personal presence & radiance.
  12. Learn to not let self-consciousness & fear stop you, and to not let performer-consciousness drain you by always feeling you need to be “on.” This promotes deep rest at the same time as being deeply invigorating.

“I’ve definitely seen women who radiate something magical, adding light and energy to everyone around her. I want to be her more often. I signed up, not knowing what to expect. In an hour, I walked out with a tangible and easy way to be the flowing, relaxed yet lively, sharp yet soft, woman that I’d like to be. What struck me most was the different ways we gaze at each other — and how it represents who we are, and how others feel about us. Martha is skilled guiding us to recognise subtle nuances through exercises, and at explaining abstract ideas in practical, applicable ways. I left knowing that I can feel and be the way I want more often, and (full disclosure) committed to the extended course to practice.” – Angela Ognev, 29 Dec 2014

“Martha is a great facilitator. I really love learning about my power centre and how it can change my life. Just a simple exercise during Martha’s class and I could already feel the difference in my speech patterns and demeanor.” – Anonymous lady, 9 April 2015

More testimonials here.

Follow your intuition into more of your success, creativity, and positive experiences!

Be Seen * Be Heard * Inspire Change

Date: Sun 12 March 2017

Time: 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Investment: $298 per lady includes one-hour lunch (before 15 Feb)  / S$328 (after 15 Feb)

Venue for workshops: The Blue Lotus39 Tembeling Road Singapore 423582

Directions: Bus 33. If coming by cab (advisable), you may wish to tell the cab driver that it is a shophouse, diagionally opposite Kuam Im Tng Temple, and at the cross-junction of Joo Chiat Place.

This is not a drop-in class. Please make sure you have attended a two-hour Art of Feminine Presence preview prior to signing up for this. Please check all available dates here.

btn Free30DT orange Cinderbella: Dancing Past Midnight

Please note that no refunds are possible once you have paid and cannot make it for the workshop. Replacement allowed. 

This workshop is facilitated by Dr Martha Tara Lee.

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The Art of Femininity and Being a Strong Woman

Femininity. I bet that when you read that word, you had some stereotypes running through your head – burning bras, opinionated women being loud and in-your-face about it or a helpless damsel-in-distress girl who is dressed in frills. Notice something? Why does femininity (and feminism, which tends to be lumped into it) have a slightly negative connotation?

Popular media nowadays like to blast us with tag phrases such as “We are independent strong women!” or as famously uttered by Madonna, “I’m tough, ambitious and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.” The image we get is one that is tough and almost (do I dare say), masculine.

While there is nothing wrong with promoting and encouraging females to be strong and independent, what is then wrong with being feminine? Which is why I found it refreshing to learn that Dr Martha has a workshop entitled “Powerful & Radiantly Feminine” which she runs regularly. Can we be both powerful and feminine at the same time without being called names or accused of being ‘a man’?

The workshop was really intimate, with about seven of us, and this really did help us to be a lot more honest and open with our sharing. Similar to the rest, coming from a corporate background meant that there have been times where I felt like I needed to mimic my male colleagues but as a result, some people (men usually) have told me that I can come across as very corporate and therefore, intimidating. This has certainly crossed from my professional to my personal life, which doesn’t bode well in the relationship arena.

The first ‘lightbulb’ moment I got was when Dr Martha said that both femininity and masculinity are present in men and women. It’s fluid and any male or female can be more or less feminine/masculine at any given time. That explains why I can still be deemed ‘corporate’ or ‘intimidating’ despite wearing a dress or how some men are labeled as feminine due to the way they talk. On the flip side, some women exude a certain je nais se quoi and we’re often clueless as to what it is that makes them both strong and soft at the same time.

But naturally, when you’re talking about femininity and masculinity, which you can categorise as ‘sexuality’, it is natural to then relate it to relationships – especially between partners. Which is why Dr Martha, who is a sexologist, even conducts this workshop. Too many women are not really in touch with their feminine side and do not recognise men’s masculine psyche and this causes a lot of friction in relationships.

femininity

Femininity can be described to be like a river – every flowing and changing. While masculinity is firm and strong but also unyielding. Both have its strengths and weaknesses, which is why everyone projects both masculinity and femininity whenever the situation calls for it. Reminds me a little bit about the philosophy of Tao. Which is also why I feel that the current rhetoric of being strong, independent women is a bit lacking. We don’t realise that when it comes to relationships, sometimes we females need to be ‘soft’ in order to effectively get what we want instead of being ‘hard’ and clashing head on with our partners or even colleagues. Being a strong female does not mean that we emasculate men or become men ourselves!

The highlight of this workshop has got to be the short exercises that we did to understand how to get in touch with our “feminine essence”. Dr Martha told us that these exercises are based on her tantric studies and we would be exploring the head space, the heart space and for women, the womb space. There are corresponding chakra names for these areas but we shall not go into that.

Working with a partner, we were made to be both observer and participant – where each would take turns talking about our day using the head and womb space. How does one talk from these spaces? Simply imagine that your energy to speak comes from that area and voila! Interestingly, both my activity partner and I observed the same things – when we spoke of our day using our head space, it seemed as if we hate our day and it was really dull and boring. However, when we talked about the same day using our womb space, it suddenly did not come across as a bad day. In fact, my partner said that I “glowed” when I spoke using my womb space. It also hit me that I have been using the head space to talk to people whom I dislike!

Being in touch with the womb space

Dr Martha then explained that speaking from this space is the most powerful for women and this is feminine power. When speaking from there, it is not strange. In fact, it made me more conscious that I have been speaking from there in many instances of my life – especially when I’m giving a presentation or teaching in a seminar.

What then if we spoke from the heart (space)? Sounds like something that would come across as sincere, right? Dr Martha then explained that most women spoke from that area (chest) but because it is not the most powerful, when we women speak from there, it comes across as ungrounded and ‘airy’. That would explain why we are not taken seriously by men sometimes.

We also learnt what it would be like to draw from the masculine energy too and although we did not practice it, there was a palpable difference when we observed Dr Martha’s demonstration. She also showed us how the way we stand (either having both feet planted on the ground or most of the weight on one leg) affected how others perceived whether we were more masculine or feminine.

It is this consciousness, this mindfulness, that is going to be useful for us – if we practise, practise, practise. However, this is merely the tip of the iceberg. For the full-day workshop where you learn a lot more about feminine presence and personal sexuality, Dr Martha conducts “Innately Feminine”.

I must say that this workshop has broadened my definition of what it means to be feminine and I’m a lot more mindful of how I want to project myself to others.

To find out more about Dr Martha and Eros Coaching, do visit her website www.eroscoaching.com. For upcoming workshops that Dr Martha is conducting, please visit our events page.


Photo credits: Pixabay and Melissa Fann

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No New Year Resolutions…Instead, Gratitude

Instead of writing New Year Resolutions, we here at The Wellness Insider have decided to write a gratitude journal instead. Why? Because life shouldn’t have just a single designated day where you make huge decisions or attempt to change. It is about thousands of small changes that you make each day. It is about any day in the calendar where you decide to take a stand and improve yourself by making conscious choices every single day thereafter.

Statistics have shown that only 8% of those who make New Year Resolutions succeed. Nonetheless, those who do make resolutions often are more successful (ten times more likely, to be exact) at achieving those goals compared to those who talk about them but don’t make any resolutions. Which goes to show the psychological benefits of penning your goals down. But…it doesn’t need to be 1 Jan for you to write down your resolutions, right?

Moreover, what happens if you look back and realised that you’ve failed your resolutions? Is that going to make you feel bad? Don’t be too hard on yourself because life is a continuous journey and as mentioned earlier, it is more important to make thousands of small changes before you see the huge change. For example, let’s take weight loss as a goal (this happens to be one of the top resolutions). Weight loss is about constant trips to the gym where you put in at least 30 mins into an activity, or a conscious habit to take daily long walks after a meal. You won’t see the results after a week but you’ll notice difference after a month or so.

Thus, here are some reasons why we’re writing a gratitude journal instead of a New Year Resolution:

  1. Helps us reflect on the year that has passed
  2. Makes us thankful for the blessings we have received
  3. Mindful of the mistakes and the lessons learnt from them
  4. Be more conscious of what we’re doing well, what we’re doing wrong and how to improve on them

All the above definitely will help one make better resolutions or set more realistic goals into improving our lives, regardless what time of the year it is.

Without further ado, have a great 2017 everyone and let’s work together to have a better year!


Reference: Statistic Brain

Photo credits: Pixabay and GIPHY

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