"If You Ever Get That Fat, I'll Leave You": Real Women Share Their Experiences With Harassment on the "Wall of Shamed"

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It's no secret that most women experience some form of sexism, verbal abuse, or harassment starting at a young age—and while more and more women are finding the courage to speak out, many others don't have a safe space to tell their stories. Suzie Blake, a 37-year-old artist from Melbourne, Australia, is hoping to change that. With her latest installment, called "The Wall of Shamed," the artist is creating a powerful platform for women to anonymously open up about their experiences.

Located at the Victorian College of the Arts Masters Graduate Exhibition in Melbourne, Australia, Blake's installment is filled with derogatory comments made to women by their peers, boyfriends, husbands, and strangers. As a result, "The Wall of Shamed" reveals the deep emotional scars that body shaming and sexual harassment can leave on women. Some of the comments were directed at girls as young as seven.

"The man who raped me when I was fourteen told me I had 'charging rhinoceros thighs'," recalls one victim; another writes that after shaving her hair, "I was told boys would like me better with long hair."

"Women and girls are shamed throughout their lives for not living up to patriarchally prescribed ideals of 'womanliness'," Blake writes on her website. "Body shaming. Fat shaming. Slut shaming. Period shaming. Mother shaming. Food shaming. Gender shaming. Victim shaming. The list goes on."

The artist encourages women to share their experiences physically on the wall using marker pens, anonymously by submitting quotes through her website, or on social media with the hashtag #wallofshamed.

Although the comments are heartbreaking to read, Blake hopes the wall can help provide healing and closure to women who have gone through similar situations. "The stories are so sad, but seeing that there are so many of them and they are often so similar gives each woman a sense of mutual understanding—a sense of solidarity," Blake tells Huffington Post UK. "As individuals we are static, but as a group we can move mountains."

By encouraging women to come together, Blake hopes she can help put an end to society's misogynistic shaming of women. "Let’s talk about shame. And, more importantly, let’s put a stop to it."

Source: Mind and Body

Clothing Company Criticized for Product Shots of 'Plus-Size' Tights: 'How Is This an Actual Ad'

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Clothing company Wish is drawing criticism for using straight size models to sell their “plus-size” tights.

Product shots on Wish.com show the models stretching out the tights with their arms, and bringing the fabric up to their face. On a listing for another pair of tights, the model has her entire body in just one leg of the tights.

Twitter users questioned why the company would advertise the tights this way.

“I’m so pissed off, how is this an actual ad for plus size tights??” asked one user. “Speechless,” added another.

Wish did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

Wish, which functions primarily as an app, sells Chinese merchandise to American consumers at bargain-basement prices, and some products are even free, with shoppers only paying for shipping. The “plus-size” tights the company is selling go for just $2. However, because the products are coming from China, it can often take two to four weeks for them to arrive.

Wish isn’t the first company to get in hot water over how they market clothing for curvy women. Forever 21 drew ire for using “average” models for their Forever 21 Plus line in 2016, and the same year, H&M had Ashley Graham model their “plus-size” clothes but did not offer the items in stores, only online.

Source: Mind and Body

Mom Body Shamed By a Stranger at the Supermarket: 'How Are People So Rude?'

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This article originally appeared on People.com.

An Ohio mom was shocked after a stranger body shamed her on a recent trip to the supermarket.

Charli Stevens was shopping with her 5-month-old son when she noticed a woman staring.

“I honestly thought she was going to tell me ‘Go Buckeyes’ as I was wearing an Ohio State top and they were playing later that night — and we were in Columbus, Ohio. I never thought for a second she would say anything about my appearance besides that,” Stevens, 27, tells PEOPLE.

Instead, the woman told Stevens, “I think your clothes are a little too small on you.” Stevens was taken aback and responded with, “Excuse me?” The stranger followed with, “Well no offense, but you’re just a bit big to wear those types of clothes.”

At that point Stevens, a medical assistant, started to cry. But the stranger would not let up. “I’m not trying to be mean, but you should reconsider your outfit before leaving the house,” she said.

Stevens decided to share her story on Facebook — along with a photo of her outfit that day — in the hopes of reducing body shaming.

“How are people so rude? It’s no secret that I’ve gained weight throughout life. I’ve birthed two kids so it’s bound to happen. Do I realize I’m overweight? Yes. Do I want to be smaller? Yes. But am I okay with the way I look? Yes!!” she posted on Facebook. “Why would a complete stranger go out of their way to insult someone? What if I was severely depressed? Or what if I was constantly made fun of for my weight and that one comment from that stranger pushed me over the edge?”

Stevens also adds that she’s glad her 4-year-old daughter wasn’t with her that day.

“She would’ve seen me be weak. And cry. I never want her to see my like that. Not for something out of my control,” Stevens says. Plus, she adds, “because I don’t want her to see how evil and disrespectful some people can be. I tell my daughter every day that she is beautiful and that I’m so proud of her.”

Her daughter is also the main reason why Stevens decided to speak out about the hazards of body shaming.

“I teach my daughter every day to love everyone and to not judge anyone,” she says. “Once our kids are born, they learn everything from us. Whether we think about it or not, our kids are watching. They’re picking up on everything we do. Our kids learn to hate and be mean from us. I said [on Facebook] that I feared for my daughter to grow up in this world and I truly meant it.”

And she says sharing her story on Facebook has made a difference.

“I am very humbled by all the kind words,” Stevens says. “I didn’t post the story for sympathy nor was I fishing for likes and comments. I just felt so compelled to speak out against this woman and be a voice for others who have gone through this similar situation.”

“I really hope those that read my post will just remember to instill kindness in their children’s lives, because our children are our future.”

Source: Mind and Body

Why the Cropped Elbow on "Time's" Person of the Year Cover is So Powerful

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This article originally appeared on HelloGiggles.com.

I woke up earlier than usual this morning to the familiar ping-ing of my phone. In my semi-asleep state, I wondered what was so important to warrant such an early wakeup call. It was Twitter, alerting me that Time had named its “Person of the Year.” I was instantly wide awake after reading who exactly was given the honor: The Silence Breakers. Women and men who have stood up and called out the rampant sexual abuse in their respective industries have been named “Person of the Year.” These brave individuals birthed and strengthened the #MeToo movement while uncovering sexual predators in Hollywood and Washington D.C., and in the worlds of business, journalism, academics, agriculture, medicine, hospitality, and more.

The decision to name The Silence Breakers as “Person of the Year” may not come as a surprise to some considering the current (and much needed) swell of victims coming forward with their stories, but it’s much more significant than you might realize. This acknowledgement from one of America’s most respected publications brings validation to so many people who have faced abuse, doubt, blame, shame, and ridicule when they’ve come forward with their own reports.

But more than that, it gives recognition to victims who suffer silently; unable to come forward with their stories of harassment for deeply personal reasons.

Looking at Time’s cover, many faces associated with the fight against sexual assault stare back at readers — stoically united in both their pain and the power of their cause. We see actress Ashley Judd, singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, migrant worker Isabel Pascual (name changed), corporate lobbyist Adama Iwu, and former Uber engineer Susan Fowler — and then we see an extremely significant, very purposefully cropped elbow placed at the bottom right corner of the cover.

 

 

The elbow belongs to a hospital worker who has experienced workplace harassment, but remains anonymous and unable to come forward with her story.

Her inclusion on the cover represents the countless number of women who experience abuse, but are forced to remain silent.

She isn’t the only anonymous member included in The Silence Breakers cover story. Other featured survivors utilize fake names (like migrant worker Isabel Pascual) or remain nameless. Regardless, their stories are no less important to the narrative.

As someone who has only recently told my own story of sexual harassment, I was once — not long ago — that anonymous woman.

Before I found my voice, I was anonymous. When society told me I was overreacting, I was anonymous. When I was afraid to tell my story because of judgement and backlash, I was anonymous.

In fact, every woman and man who has shared their story was once that same anonymous person. We all know the forced silence. We all remember being compelled to hide our hurt and leave injustices unreported.

But it’s important to remember that even when we were anonymous, we were valid.

The individuals who remain anonymous are as important to the #MeToo movement as the ones who can share their stories. Including them as part of The Silence Breakers was Time’s acknowledgement of their strength. In short, this is a big deal for all of us.

As I read more coverage of this monumental cover, I can’t help but see it as another step towards a society that believes women, a society where we won’t be forced into anonymity any more.

Source: Mind and Body

If Thigh Gap and Hip Dip Weren't Enough, Now Women Are Supposed to Worry About Having 'Arm Vaginas'

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I’m a woman with three vaginas. You probably are too. Let’s check: Go to a mirror, take off your top, and see if there is any skin where your inner arm meets your upper body.

If there is—and there should be, because you are a human female—then you have “arm vagina.” We can thank Jennifer Lawrence for coining this phrase in 2014. “I know I have armpit fat,” she confessed on the red carpet at that year's SAG awards. “It’s okay… it’s armpit vaginas, it’s awful!”

RELATED: These Are the Top Causes of Vagina PainLawrence's blithe self-deprecation served as the birth canal for a butterfly effect, spiraling women into despair and body dysmorphia. One celebrity stylist has even declared that this apparently unsightly and completely natural fold of skin is among her female clients’ greatest insecurities. Some have even turned to cosmetic surgery.

RELATED: 13 Body-Positive Influencers You Should Follow on Instagram

If you’re like me, you didn’t even know you had arm vaginas. I personally have always thought one set of lady parts down below was enough, although it would have been nice to have a back-up vagina during and after childbirth. Now when I think of how handy my armpits are for holding stuff while my arms and hands are otherwise occupied, I’ll congratulate myself on doing my Kegels.

Ladies? Do we really not have enough going on, what with muffin tops, hip dips, thigh gap, underboob, and side boob that we needed to hit ourselves with arm vagina?

I’m not sure I even understand the dis. Are we now supposed to loathe our body parts for merely existing? Because arm vaginas don’t necessarily have to do with excess fat. There’s an actual muscle underlying—or in some cases entirely comprising—your arm vagina. It’s called the “teres minor.” It flexes. So if you’re someone who does a few planks now and then, don’t be surprised when someone says, “Whoa, have you been working out? Your upper body’s looking…vaginal!”

And is calling something a vagina an insult? My real vagina has come in pretty handy and has produced more things than my armpits ever have. I have a pretty deep cleft in my chin, and someone once told me it looked like a vagina chin. I took it as a compliment but only after asking him to call it “yonic.”

RELATED: Kim Kardashian Says She Has Body Dysmorphia—but What Does That Really Mean?

Look, naming things is powerful. It can lead to solutions. For example, “Hey dude, when you spread your legs on the train, pretending that your bald-and-wrinklies deserve their own seat, that’s called manspreading.”

But when you name something for which there is no solution (even if you’re the beloved, irreverent J. Law), you’re not helping. You’re not helping women at large when you diminish us into body parts—parts which invariably fall short of anatomically impossible standards.

There’s a culinary movement called “nose to tail” in which folks pride themselves on consuming all parts of a pig. I feel like women have created our own nose to tail movement, except rather than using all our parts, we abuse them—making ourselves sexist pigs in the process.

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We’ve spent so much energy trying to keep predators and lawmakers out of the business of messing with our vaginas that the last thing we should be doing is identifying more of them on our bodies and attacking them ourselves.

And I’m sorry if I was the one who introduced you to the notion of arm vaginas. At least we aren’t expected to wax them.

Source: Mind and Body

How to Tell If You’re an Empath—Plus 3 Self-Care Habits You Need If You Are

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If you’ve ever felt happy for a newly promoted BFF or sad for a loved one who suffered a loss, you’ve been empathetic. But some people, called empaths, really feel those emotions. “Being empathetic is when your heart goes out to somebody when they feel joy or sadness,” explains Judith Orloff, MD, psychiatrist and author of The Empath’s Survival Guide. “But being an empath means you can actually feel their happiness or anxiety in your own body.” Best described as "emotional sponges," empaths don’t have the usual defenses or filters as other people, so they feel everything.

There's no clinical diagnosis for empaths. Dr. Orloff uses a self-assessment quiz consisting of 20 questions that can help people determine whether they fit the bill.

RELATED: 15 Ways Being an Introvert Can Affect Your Health

The quiz asks questions like:

  • Have you been labeled "overly sensitive" or introverted your entire life?
  • Do you prefer to take your own car to places so you can leave early if you need to?
  • Do you prefer one-on-one interactions and small groups to large gatherings?

If you answer yes to the majority of the queries, it’s likely you have strong empath tendencies.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. Dr. Orloff, who is an empath and a psychiatrist (a tough combo!), says her ability to take on others’ emotions actually makes her a better therapist: “I’m able to tap into my gifts of intuition, depth of connection, and compassion to be really present with someone,” she tells Health.

Of course, absorbing others’ emotions is also taxing. “The key skill for an empath is to learn how to not take on the stress of others,” says Dr. Orloff. Here, she offers three simple self-care habits that can help you stay mentally healthy while you navigate your relationships as an empath.

RELATED: 9 Easy Ways to Practice Self Care This Week

Set limits

We all know people who drain us emotionally, whether they're narcissists or psychic vampires. But empaths are especially affected by strong personalities, so it’s important to set limits.

The next time a friend is venting to you, kindly lay down some ground rules: “I suggest people do a five-minute phone call if their friend is in a 'Poor me!' mode,” says Dr. Orloff. “Lovingly tell them that you are happy to help them with solutions if they want that, but you will have to put a five-minute limit on a conversation if they’re going to continue venting. Letting them go on and on will destroy an empath.”

If your friend balks at the time cap, explain that you are trying to be supportive while also practicing necessary self care.

RELATED: If You Struggle to Find Time for Self Care, These Clever Apps Can Help

Make your home a sanctuary

Since empaths tend to be sensitive to crowds and loud noises, it’s easy for them to get overwhelmed when they're out and about. Making your home a safe haven can help you decompress.

“Be sure to have a sacred place at home where you can take deep breaths, calm down, and connect to yourself,” encourages Dr. Orloff. “Being alone can replenish an empath.” Candles, flowers, and soft music can also help turn your living space into the sanctuary it needs to be if you’re an empath who gets overstimulated during the day.

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Spend time in nature

According to Dr. Orloff, empaths love the outdoors. “Nature has so much positive energy that when empaths are around it, they start to feel better.” Make it a point to spend time in the woods or a park regularly–as opposed to a busy city.

Water is also healing for empaths, adds Dr. Orloff. “They get very replenished in a bath, shower, or hot springs,” she says. “Besides just cleaning off dirt, water cleanses your energy fields so you feel like a different person afterwards.”

Source: Mind and Body

The Ladies of SNL Welcome You 'to Hell' with Anti-Sexual Harassment Music Video

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This article originally appeared on People.com.

 

In the past few months, a slew of powerful men — from Harvey Weinstein to Matt Lauer — have been outed as sexual predators. Though many may be shocked, the ladies of Saturday Night Live are here to tell you that this kind of bad behavior is nothing new.

Set in a Candy Land-like setting, host Saoirse Ronan and castmembers Aidy Bryant, Cecily Strong and Kate McKinnon posed as pop princesses to say “Welcome to Hell.”

“Hey there, boys. We know the last couple months have been frickin’ insane,” said Strong before Bryant chimed in, “All these big, cool, powerful guys are turning out to be — what’s the word —habitual predators?”

The catchy tune let guys in on a “secret that every girl knows” and addressed the harsh realities of navigating the world as a woman. As Bryant pointed out, “This ain’t a girl group. We just travel in a group for safety.”

The ladies also showed how women have been suppressed through history, featuring flashbacks to the Salem witch trials, the suffragette movement and the ’60s sexual revolution.

Leslie Jones then jumped in to remind everyone that “it’s like a million times worse for a woman of color,” to which they all agreed without hesitation.

“Now House of Cards is ruined, and that really sucks,” sang Ronan, referring to allegations against Kevin Spacey that led to the cancellation of his hit Netflix show. “Well here’s a list of stuff that’s ruined for us: parking, and walking, and Uber, and ponytails, and bathrobes, and night time, and drinking, and hotels, and vans.”

RELATED: Everything We Know About the Allegations Against Matt Lauer

SNL wasn’t done with the new wave of sexual harassment allegations. Later, on “Weekend Update,” Colin Jost briefly touched on Lauer, who was fired by the sketch comedy show’s network on Wednesday following sexual misconduct allegations.

“A new survey finds that four out of five Americans believe sexual harassment is happening in the workplace. While one out of five couldn’t respond because their boss’ penis was blocking the keyboard,” joked Jost. “I almost forgot about this week’s batch of predators. It’s just a whole segment of the news now. I’ve just got to announce the names every week like Powerball numbers.”

RELATED VIDEO: Matt Lauer Frequently Pinched Katie Couric’s Butt & Once Told Meredith Vieira to ‘Keep Bending Over’

In the background, Lauer was shown alongside Russell Simmons and Garrison Keillor, both of whom faced their own sexual misconduct allegations over the last several days.

Focusing in on Lauer and his famously contentious relationship with former Today co-host Ann Curry, Jost joked, “On Wednesday, the Rockefeller Christmas tree was lit and so was Ann Curry.”

 

 

Source: Mind and Body

Doctors Unsure if They Should Save Patient with 'Do Not Resuscitate' Tattoo

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This article originally appeared on People.com.

Emergency room doctors faced a confusing ethical dilemma when an unconscious man was wheeled into a University of Miami hospital with a “Do Not Resuscitate” tattoo.

The 70-year-old man, who was inebriated when he arrived, had a history of lung and heart diseases. Unable to reach his family as his heart pressure dropped, the medical staff started to attempt to revive him despite his tattoo, according to a case study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“We initially decided not to honor the tattoo, invoking the principle of not choosing an irreversible path when faced with uncertainty,” wrote Drs. Gregory E. Holt, Bianca Sarmento, Daniel Kett and Kenneth W. Goodman. “This decision left us conflicted owing to the patient’s extraordinary effort to make his presumed advance directive known; therefore, an ethics consultation was requested.”

But after going over his case, ethics consultants told the doctors that they should follow the orders on his tattoo, which included what was presumably his signature.

“They suggested that it was most reasonable to infer that the tattoo expressed an authentic preference, that what might be seen as caution could also be seen as standing on ceremony, and that the law is sometimes not nimble enough to support patient-centered care and respect for patients’ best interests,” the doctors write.

The doctors stopped his care, and the man died later that night. But they were still concerned that the tattoo is not a legally binding contract like a true, signed Do Not Resuscitate order, and that the tattoo might just be a joke, or as the doctors put it, “permanent reminders of regretted decisions made while the person was intoxicated.”

Thankfully, their decision not to continue care was confirmed as correct when they found the patient’s written Do Not Resuscitate order.

“Despite the well-known difficulties that patients have in making their end-of-life wishes known, this case report neither supports nor opposes the use of tattoos to express end-of-life wishes when the person is incapacitated,” the doctors write.

Source: Mind and Body

When to See December's Cold Moon, Which Is Also a Supermoon

This article originally appeared on TravelAndLeisure.com.

Have you ever seen a Supermoon rise above the eastern horizon at dusk? It's one of the most spectacular natural wonders of all, and it will happen for the only time in 2017 at dusk on Sunday, December 3.

When our natural satellite rises fully illuminated in December it's usually referred to as the Cold Moon. The falling temperatures in the northern hemisphere can make this full moon a challenge to observe, but this year it will be worth the effort.

A full moon occurs every month (once every 27.3 days, to be exact) when it's on the opposite side of Earth as the sun, but some are more special than others. The moon orbits Earth in an elliptical path, so it has a furthest point (called lunar apogee, which occurred in June) and a closest point (perigee). It's the latter that happens close to December 3, resulting in a disc that will look slightly larger than usual as it rises: also known as a Supermoon.

When is the Cold Moon in December?

The last full moon of 2017 will occur at precisely 15:47 Universal Time (UTC). At that exact time Earth will be directly between the sun and moon. That's 10:47 Eastern Standard Time (EST) in the United States, and even earlier in the day heading west. However, to catch a glimpse of the beautifully pale orange Cold Moon rising, all you need to do — wherever you are — is to look east at dusk as the sun sets in the west.

Why is it called the Cold Moon?

December's Full Moon has in the past been called the Cold Moon, and sometimes the Frost Moon, by Native American tribes for rather obvious reasons: It's the onset of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. The lengthening nights and its timing just before the winter solstice have also led it to be called the Full Long Nights Moon.

Related: Where to Find the Darkest Skies in the U.S. for Serious Stargazing

When is the next Full Moon?

The next New Moon is on Monday, December 18, so look out for a beautiful Crescent Moon for a few days afterwards. However, precisely 27.3 days after the Cold Moon comes the next Full Moon on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. Known as the Full Wolf Moon by some Native American tribes, it's also a Supermoon. In fact, the Full Wolf Moon is actually even closer to Earth than the Cold Moon, so it should appear even larger. It should be a fine sight to ring in the new year.

Source: Mind and Body