Self portrait by lucrezia senserini on Flickr.Loving this

Self portrait by lucrezia senserini on Flickr.

Loving this

Thru the window of a #Montauk souvenir shop. Spelled “Shoppe” so you know they’re classy. 
#Hamptons #wine #women #men #drinking

Thru the window of a #Montauk souvenir shop. Spelled “Shoppe” so you know they’re classy. #Hamptons #wine #women #men #drinking

"Hey, chicas, what’s up," he says. "Fuck off," says the brunette on the left.

#streetphotography #urbanphotography #urban #streetlife #streetart #citylife #urbanism

"Hey, chicas, what’s up," he says. "Fuck off," says the brunette on the left. #streetphotography #urbanphotography #urban #streetlife #streetart #citylife #urbanism

#skater girls 

#streetphotography #urbanphotography #urban #streetlife #streetart #citylife #urbanism

#skater girls #streetphotography #urbanphotography #urban #streetlife #streetart #citylife #urbanism

The Complicated Causes of Childhood Obesity


I recently wrote a piece about the new #StopTheBeautyMadness campaign. I thought it was an important message to talk about, aimed at women with the goal of starting a conversation about how we all view beauty and the impossible standards we tend to inflict upon ourselves.

There was certainly nothing controversial about the piece. I hoped it would get women thinking and talking, but I never imagined it would bring forth negativity or judgment.

Until it did.

You see, accompanying the article was a picture from the campaign itself. This picture featured a heavy little girl, captioned by the words that had been thrown her way over the years.

Fat.

Pig.

Porker.

Subhuman.

Disgusting.

Why not just kill yourself?

Most people would view that image and feel nothing but sadness and compassion. One commenter, however, didn’t see it that way – leaving the following diatribe in response to what she had mistakenly assumed was a piece about childhood obesity: 

 



I think I may get screamed at for saying this…. however, it needs to be said. I personally don’t feel as though there is any reason for a child to be obese extremely over weight (unless there is a medical condition). Children do not buy their own groceries or cook the food… parents do this!! Parents are making their children fat. We need to teach our children how to eat healthy and in moderation and while its ok to indulge every once in awhile its not an every meal kind of thing! I am not going to teach my daughter its ok to be fat… because its not ok, its not healthy and it wont make her feel good about herself. (I don’t care what anyone says theres not one fat woman in the world who loves being fat! There is just not!!!!!!) I’m not going to teach her to be a toothpick either, but I am going to teach her she needs to eat right and exercise and take care of her body. To take pride in herself and pay attention to her well being and love herself. If she wants to obsess over makeup and fancy clothes go ahead…..

This was a woman who saw a picture of a heavy little girl and decided that it was her opportunity to impart her superior knowledge of childhood obesity upon the world.

Unfortunately, she didn’t actually impart any knowledge. Nothing she said was constructive or helpful. Forget the fact that it wasn’t even relevant to the subject at hand and that she clearly hadn’t even bothered to read the original article, simply chomping at the bit to spew her judgment to such an extreme that it didn’t occur to her to look more closely at what she was commenting on. The real problem is that even if childhood obesity had been the topic of discussion – her comment still would have been off base and laced with ignorance.

And the sadder part of the equation is that she certainly isn’t alone in that ignorance.

Blaming childhood obesity solely on the parents of those children misses a huge piece of the puzzle though. It oversimplifies a problem that is so much more complex than parents teaching their kids it is “OK to be fat.”

Obesity, in general, is more complicated than the judgment some feel justified to while in the presence of people who are overweight. There are a myriad of medical conditions that can lead to weight gain problems, some of which are even experienced in childhood. The Doctors recently featured a little girl who gained 150 pounds after a brain surgery complication. But even when there are no medical causes for obesity, there can be other underlying factors.

Our foods today are heavily over-processed. The average weight in this country continues to rise as a result of what we are thoughtlessly putting into our mouths. Our meat and dairy products are laced with hormones that can disrupt the way our bodies process food and even interfere with our natural metabolism. And activity levels are at an all time low, with kids being expected to spend entire days in their desks at school, moving less and less each year. A recent “Play 60” campaign highlights that issue – imploring parents and teachers to get kids moving at least 60 minutes a day.

Sixty minutes.

I remember being a kid and running nonstop from morning until night. But now 60 minutes is the gold standard?

Our society is changing in ways that aren’t necessarily for the better, and children and adults alike are suffering when it comes to health and weight. Yes, there are absolutely instances where parents are playing a large role in the health problems their children are experiencing (including obesity). But even then, there is often a need for education and compassion over judgment and disgust.  

We have all contributed to an unhealthy cultural relationship with food and laziness, and there is no way to look at a child or overweight adult and pinpoint automatically who or what is to blame for their weight issues. Looking at a picture of a heavy little girl meant to depict the bullying she has experienced, and deciding that is the perfect opportunity to elevate yourself publically above parents of overweight children, just falls so very flat.

We can all agree that anyone who starts a comment with “I may get screamed at for saying this,” is looking to stir the pot – desperate for some kind of interaction and attention they otherwise aren’t getting. But the greater point remains that there are no simple solutions to the growing problem of obesity in this country.

Which is not to say that we should throw our hands in the air and cease caring. But rather that it is important to go into those discussions with an open mind and a compassionate heart, ready and willing to accept that the problem isn’t simple.

And there isn’t always just one person to blame. 

About the author: Leah Campbell has traveled the world and written extensively on topics relating to women’s health, adoption and societal issues. Her first book was released in April of 2013 and she is always looking for the next great adventure. 


Man just chillin with his music

Man just chillin with his music

Woman Swears Off Makeup; Media Goes Nuts


Last week, splashed across newsfeeds of women everywhere, was a viral story that likely never should have been a story at all. It was the tale of Annie Garau, a pretty 21-year old college student who did the unthinkable.

She opted to skip wearing makeup for an entire year.

<cue collective gasp>

Wait a minute. Seriously? That was newsworthy? A pretty girl deciding not to wear makeup warranted her being interviewed by all kinds of media and her story spreading like wildfire?

I don’t get it. I really don’t. I don’t understand why the choice not to wear makeup has the media dubbing this girl as “brave”. And I find it mildly concerning that we have become such a beauty-focused culture that something like this would even make waves at all.



But I guess that was partially Garau’s point. She woke up one day and realized that she and her friends were far too focused on their looks, and she wanted to change that. She wanted to embrace something other than physical beauty. So she challenged herself to forgo makeup for a year and to focus on other points of interest in her life.

Did she expect to get media attention as a result of that choice? Probably not. But then again, the fact that this would even be newsworthy at all likely serves her point.

Still, I can’t help but think of the tens of thousands of women who forgo makeup every single day without even thinking about it. It isn’t a movement or even a choice for most – it’s a lack of caring or a deep enough confidence to face the world without a mask.

For me, it’s usually a combination of both. I tend to go makeup free more days than not, knowing it’s always there in my drawer if I feel the need to spruce up my face, but not really deeming most days worthy of the extra effort.

No ones interviewing me about how “brave” I am though.

I wonder if it’s because she is a pretty young girl, so our expectation is that she should be trying to enhance and display that beauty to the best of her ability. Would this still be newsworthy if she had a less appealing smile? Or if she was heavy set? Or in her 30’s? Would anyone care that she was choosing not to wear makeup if she wasn’t already so naturally beautiful?

I applaud Garau for thinking outside the box and choosing to step away from societal expectations of beauty. I appreciate her message that we are all too beauty focused and her desire to get women to embrace what they have to offer without forever worrying about how to change or fix whatever that is. And based on all her interviews, I think she seems like a very sweet and thoughtful girl who has just as much inner beauty as she does outer.

My issue isn’t with her.

It’s with this expectation that women, particularly pretty women, should place such a priority on their own looks, to the extent that if one doesn’t – she warrants a slew of media interviews and is given the title of “brave”.

All because she decided not to wear makeup for a year.

In my world, that’s not an experiment – it’s a rushed morning where coffee seems more important than mascara.

And it’s not a brave choice; it’s a standard one.

One that shouldn’t even warrant a second glance from most people.

So how on earth did this become news? And what does it say about us as a society that it did? 

About the author: Leah Campbell has traveled the world and written extensively on topics relating to women’s health, adoption and societal issues. Her first book was released in April of 2013 and she is always looking for the next great adventure. 



Last night things got a little murky. Urban surreptitious photography at it’s sneakiest.

Last night things got a little murky. Urban surreptitious photography at it’s sneakiest.

superdames:

Jill Trent invented a bulletproof suit. Then she made a guy wear it while she shot at him to test it. NO HALF MEASURES.
This was the last Jill Trent story and it was kind of insane.
—”Jill Trent, Science Sleuth” in Wonder Comics #20 (1948), writer &amp; artist uncredited

Some girls prefer .32s. Others, knives. A judgment call, really.

superdames:

Jill Trent invented a bulletproof suit. Then she made a guy wear it while she shot at him to test it. NO HALF MEASURES.

This was the last Jill Trent story and it was kind of insane.

—”Jill Trent, Science Sleuth” in Wonder Comics #20 (1948), writer & artist uncredited

Some girls prefer .32s. Others, knives. A judgment call, really.

Broadway Protests NYPD Over Death of Eric Garner

Hundreds of Broadway actors of all races gathered in front of the NYPD station in Times Square to perform the poem I Can’t Breathe. It was an act of elegant dissent that showed support for Eric Garner, the 43-year-old Staten Island father killed by police officers on July 17 after being placed in a chokehold that has been banned within the NYPD for two decades. The New York Medical Examiner’s office ruled Garner died of compression of the neck and chest.   



Eric Garner was restrained by police and accused of illegally selling untaxed cigarettes. Despite repeatedly gasping “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,” the officers continued to press him to the ground with their body weight while administering the banned hold. 


Wanderer of the world,
student of humankind's darker side,
expert in my own darker side. www.thecruelty.net

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