Monday, April 26, 2010

Banned for being too big? - Lingerie ad heats up the controversy on body type

The blogosphere has been heating up this week with the controversy surrounding the new Cacique lingerie ad by Lane Bryant. The ad features plus-size model Ashley Graham walking through her apartment in various styles of lingerie offered by the company. Lane Bryant (LB) wanted the ad to air during the 8:00pm time slots while Dancing with the Stars and American Idol are aired. But their plans were quickly halted when both ABC and FOX networks initially refused to do so stating that “the Lane Bryant ad was too salacious for "family hour," a.k.a 8:00-9:00 pm” LB feels that this smacks of a double standard since according to them, Victoria’s Secret’s ad are running during that very same time-slot, a claim that FOX says is not true. According to Lane Bryant “ABC refused to show the commercial during “Dancing with the Stars” without restricting our airtime to the final moments of the show. Fox demanded excessive re-edits and rebuffed it three times before relenting to air it during the final 10 minutes of “American Idol,” but only after we threatened to pull the ad buy.” FOX has since relented and agreed to air the commercial during the last 10 minutes of Idol.

Both ABC and FOX feel that LB’s efforts are more for publicity than anything else and that there is no double-standard. But the damage has been done, the issue has taken center stage and the question has been asked of the public: “Is there a double standard in the industry when it comes to body size? Is it okay for smaller sized women to be viewed during “family hours” and not okay for larger women according to media standards to be shown?” The networks argued that it was the cleavage factor, on FOX’s Bill O’Reilly’s show, his Culture Warriors weighed in citing that with a larger woman you going to get more cleavage, if you have more you get more. Hmm… I beg to differ as that’s only part of the story considering the fact that a quick scan of television shows, magazine ads and commercials reveal in significant numbers women who are smaller in body size but whose cleavages have been enhanced either surgically or with the help of cleavage producing lingerie. Sorry Culture Warriors, but that statement is very weak.

This reminds me of the DOVE campaign a few years back that featured average sized women in their underwear encouraging women to accept themselves, and to love themselves for who they are underneath it all. Many felt that the ads were inappropriate and showed too much. My question then and now is “too much what?” Drawing the comparison then to the Victoria’s Secret’s ads I asked, so why is it okay for them and not okay for DOVE? What’s the difference? The truth, there was no difference other than the size of the women used in these ads. The ads with the larger women, garnered disdain, while the ad with the smaller sized women garnered admiration and acceptance. The interesting thing about this is that the women in the DOVE ad, just as the model in the Lane Bryant ad are curvaceous and healthy; their body types represent the average sized women, but yet by media standards they are “fat” and not “fit” for ads promoting swimwear or lingerie and consequently, are definitely not the ideal candidates for demonstrating to society what is truly ideal which is, recognition and acceptance that body types vary and the body in all of its forms are beautiful.

Lane Bryant Commercial:

Victoria's Secret "The Nakeds" Commercial:

Read the full article for more info:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Too Fat to Fight

Echoing the sentiments of First Lady Michelle Obama during her Let's Move campaign kick-off in February, a group of retired military generals and officers who form the group Mission Readiness are speaking out and saying that an alarming number of young people between the ages of 17 -24 are simply too fat to fight. The group cites that 9 million young adults, which is 27% of eligible enlistees, are medically ineligible for military duty because of their weight and this has become the leading medical reason why they are rejected. If these numbers do not change, this could ultimately become a threat to our National Security. The main culprit cited: School Lunches. The study provided by Mission Readiness highlighted research that indicates that students get up to 40% of their daily caloric intake at school. The study also showed that that 80% of individuals who were overweight at 10 to 15 years old were obese by 25.

This is not the first time that the military has worked with the Federal Government to change the quality of school lunches in order to improve the physical quality of future enlistees. Ironically during World War II, the military worked closely with the government to improve the nutritional value of school lunches to beef up potential enlistees as many of them proved to be severely undernourished and underweight. After the war, military leaders pushed Congress to establish the national school lunch program so that children would grow up healthier. The program was established in 1946, "as a measure of national security." Today however, though the request is similar, the current status is quite the opposite. Instead of beefing up candidates, we need to slim them down. Today’s school lunches are high in sodium, starches and sugar and in many cases are not balanced resulting in overweight young adults. Mission Readiness is urging Congress to eliminate junk food and high-calorie beverages from schools, put more money into the school lunch program and develop new strategies that help children develop healthier habits. The school lunch bill, currently awaiting a Senate vote, would establish healthier options for all foods in schools, including vending machine items.

For more information on Mission: Readiness - Military Leaders for Kids visit:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Improve Your Game, Improve Your Health - 5 Tips to getting your Golf game on this Spring

The Masters, the first of the four major championships in professional golf may have come and gone, but the energy of the event is still in the air. Whether rooting for Phil Mickelson playing in honour of his wife and mother who are both dealing with breast cancer, or for the much anticipated re-emergence of Tiger Woods back onto the public scene and the greens where he is most comfortable, people got back into the excitement of the game. As the temperatures warm many people are heading back outdoors and taking their golf clubs with them. But whether you’re a seasoned player or getting out there as a first-time golfer, here are some useful tips that you could employ to improve your game and overall health.

1. Warm-up and stretch before teeing off: just as with any activity, it’s necessary to warm up the muscles prior to getting started, this not only helps in reducing the risk of injury, but it helps to improve performance overall. A warmed and properly stretched muscle can go through a full range of motion better than a cold muscle therefore making your swing a lot more powerful and productive.

2. Walk instead of ride to get the added benefit of extra steps: 10,000 steps a day are recommended for general health. Although driving in the cart might be more fun, a walk on the golf course sans the cart will quickly add to those needed steps.

3. Start small; start out on a shorter course first: although not a rigorous activity as running, golf is activity nonetheless. If you’ve been sedentary most of the winter, start small on one of the shorter 9-hole courses and progressively work your way up to the 18 holes.

4. Professional help is a plus and a good investment: This is a two-parter

    a. Golf Pros to the rescue: Seek the help of a trained Golf Professional one who is recognized by the PGA or LPGA to help you develop good form, strong skills and a solid foundation. For those who are seasoned and have been golfing for a while, the occasional assistance from a Golf Professional can provide new techniques to help improve your game or can identify bad habits that may be hindering your performance.

   b. Fit for performance: Work with a trained Fitness Professional, one who has experience working with golfers, to help you develop a strength and conditioning program that will strengthen the muscles used during the game and who will also create a flexibility program to encourage the lengthening of tight muscles

5. Relax Release and Enjoy: One of the biggest attractions to the game of golf is that it allows you to be outdoors and to take advantage of beautiful weather. Although golf can be competitive, try to gain the “meditative” effects of the game by not focusing so much on the competition, but really enjoy being outdoors and the camaraderie of those around you

Here's a video from the Golf Channel's Golf Fitness Academy featuring Masters Champion Zach Johnson on lower body warm-ups:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

New DOT Policy is a Win with Cyclists

Last month Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced a recent policy change with regards to bicycles which is now beginning to encounter a few roadblocks along the way. According to the DOT, the intent of the policy change is to "reflect the Department’s support for the development of fully integrated active transportation networks, and that the establishment of well-connected walking and bicycling networks is an important component for livable communities" The policy goes onto recognize that walking and bicycling contribute to family-friendly communities, helps to reduce vehicle emissions and fuel use and also promotes physical activity and health. According to the Associated Press, the new policy is an extension of the Obama administration's livability initiative, which regards the creation of alternatives to driving – buses, streetcars, trolleys and trains, as well as biking and walking – as central to solving the nation's transportation woes.

Already opponents have balked at the idea calling the policy nonsensical, and a check of numerous blog posts reveal that many are concerned that this is  a replacement of motorized vehicles. But a quick review of the policy itself clearly states that is not the case, but that equal measure should be given to alternative means of transport. I applaud this effort. Driving through the many new subdivisions in Illinois and many new communities around the country, one thing that is noticed is that there are very few sidewalks along roads and very few bike paths if any at all. Walkers and cyclists are forced to battle for space with cars and trucks which in many times leads to not so safe encounters. Studies have shown that communities with sidewalks and biking paths show lower rates of obesity as people now have the option of walking if they so choose. I remember years ago in one suburban community where I lived, I had to get into the car to drive 2 minutes to the store because due to the lack of sidewalks, walking was not a safe option, and running outdoors outside of my complex grounds was simply out of the question.
Of course this brings up questions of funding and how to best manage that. Will bicycle licensing fees be imposed on cyclists as they are now applied to motorists? Who knows? Would that be fair? Why not? Whatever the case, many will agree with the policy’s stance that walking and bicycling should not be an afterthought when it comes to roadway design and that providing useful and safe means of transport for all is a good thing.

Check out the full article from the Associated Press:
Transportation's bicycle policy hits potholes