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I have had the privilege of taking Jade Beall's yoga and dance classes in the desert and was thrilled to see the popularity of her A Beautiful Body Project touching the central nerve of so many women. As a media consultant and television producer, I could instantly see why so much attention was paid to such a simple and obvious message. I believe that so much of the content we put out in the media directs women to be something that they aren't: "Be skinnier", "Be a loving, unconditional wife all the time", "Be a Better Parent (or your children will end up messed up)", "Have a cleaner home (or your neighbors will notice)", "Don't eat this (or you'll be fat)." Being confronted with all these messages on a daily basis, I believe Jade Beall's photography showed women that it was simply perfect to be exactly as we are...and that is already beautiful! What a relief in that message. What an absolute exhale.
"It's dangerous that women are fed on comparison instead of acceptance," says New York Times Bestselling Co-Author of Taming Your Alpha Bitch," Christy Whitman, "Her photo exposé, which boldly redefines our culture's concept of 'beauty,' rings out in defiance against the message perpetually drilled into our heads by pop culture and Madison Avenue; a message so pervasive that many women have internalized it as if it were the truth. That message, simply stated, is that who we are is not enough."
Professionally, I produce media content for a living, and Jade Beall hit a tipping point with hits on the Today Show, BBC, The Guardian, and numerous other outlets worldwide which started here on The Huffington Post. In order for a news story to hit with that kind of press with extended momentum, it usually has to be centered on a tragedy, and yet this was simply a beautiful message, a turnaround in terms of media interest. I think women are simply tired of being told what to do and who to be.
"We commit a form of suicide. As long as we use our economic power to buy into messages, without realizing it, this 'if only' mentally has become the lens through which many of us view ourselves," says Christy Whitman, founder of the Enlightened Kid Program and mother of two boys. "Happiness, peace, and contentment live 'out there' somewhere, just outside our reach, and the more feverishly we seek the next quick fix, the less able we are to see, enjoy and appreciate everything that is working perfectly, right now, in this moment. When we are operating under the false belief that we are not enough, we temporarily lose our connection with our essence the inner presence that lights up our eyes and breathes meaning to all our outer experiences."
"One of the things I find the most damaging is the idea that there is a one-size-fits-all mentality about women," says Gina Cloud, Founder of GinaCology, who believes that a woman's physical distortions start in their teenage years. "That our bodies and psyches must conform to what someone else has decided we should be; that anyone outside of us defines what beauty is."
So far, the media ate the story up. Naked perfectly imperfect perfect women. The Daily Mail wrote on June 25, "Jade Beall, a mother-of-one from Tucson, Arizona, began by publishing a series of semi-nude self-portraits on Facebook, revealing all the scars and imperfections that came with pregnancy and the birth of her son, Sequoia." Hundreds of women around the world reached out to Beall asking for their portrait to be taken. Maybe the shift here is that finally the media took notice of reflecting who women are instead of telling them who they need to be.
Why do "We the People" keep electing and re-electing untreated sex addicts into political office? I am simply astonished at the shelf life of the fact that, us as U.S. Citizens, keep giving them their jobs back instead of sending them into treatment or back into the private sector.
If the sexual behavior of public system school teachers were remotely as scandalous as our elected Government Officials - we would chant to hang the teachers. They would be considered "monsters." Not that a sex addict is a monster, but we have far less patience for that type of behavior in any other public service sector. Yet, with government elected officials, we are so participatory, as if we really believe, what they do in their private time, has no effect on how they do their jobs.
Is this addictive behavior? According to Dr. Gayani DeSilva, Psychiatrist at St. Joseph's Hospital in Orange, "Continuing to engage in sexting even when your life is falling apart is a clear example of sex addiction. Sex addiction is akin to alcoholismaddicts cannot stop despite their best intentions. Anthony Weiner may want to stop sexting women, and may want his marriage to Huma Abedin to succeed, but unless he commits to abstinence every moment of every day, he is powerless to his addiction and will continue to engage in sexting."
It gets even more complicated when the wives defend their husbands instead of admitting that there is a problem. According to Eve Michaels, Author of Dress Code: Ending Fashion Anarchy, "You think we would learn to pay attention to allegations of sexual misconduct. Remember when Arnold Schwarzenegger had to defend himself against allegations while he was running for office, yet his dutiful wife, Maria Shriver, held steadfast until the evidence was of the utmost overwhelming? It's the same thing here with Anthony Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin."
Having been a news producer at the time of the Monica Lewinsky/Bill Clinton Scandal, I was fascinated at the media feeding frenzy and the political machinations that overtook that story, but that type of behavior is absolutely not a political career buster.
So why does society protect and reward men who are in the heat of their sexual predilections - where the line between power and sex is blurred? Gina Cloud, Author of W.O.M.A.N says that, "Society protects the idea of devaluing sex, or treating it as a form of exorcism - expelling their own demons. Sex is sport, and is not an expression of deeper intimacy or connection between two people. Society embraces and thereby encourages this kind of behavior by 'normalizing' it. 'Everybody does it, everybody is doing it, so it must be ok.'"
Century City whistleblower attorney Mychal Wilson says that, "Anthony Weiner should have at least learned his lesson from former NFL Star Brett Favre who was allegedly caught sexting phallic photos of himself after a NY Jet employee blew the whistle on him." Brett Favre didn't lose his job either, but the shaming he took was a pretty bad beating for his image by football fans who have a large threshold of intolerable behavior. "Sadly, maybe Mr. Weiner's addiction is so self-consuming that it may have blinded him from believing the photos would be kept private. And, currently, there really isn't any reasonable expectation of privacy whether communicating by phone or email. Just go ask Eric Snowden and the NSA" says Wilson.
Why in politics is this okay, socially acceptable and rewarded with further employment? "Those words, 'that's just the way it is,' inflame me!" says Gina Cloud, Founder of GinaCology!, "We get involved in the gossip, shake our heads, but don't stop to reflect how we contribute to the status quo. What we buy, what we watch, contributes to our acceptance of these norms that are damaging all of society: women, men and children."
Maybe we're just addicted to the drama of our fellow Politicians.
A very expensive lesson in linguistics for Paula Deen. Literally being haunted by words that hurt. I expect to see more of this in times ahead with all of the technology advances, smart phones, video files, digital pictures. It is going to be a lot more difficult to take back behaviors, actions, and words that are said in the moment, and are now recorded for perpetuity. Media has been a much more controlled medium when technology and its distribution were not accessible to every citizen, man, woman, and child. Watching Paula Deen's self-destructive media demise has been painful to all who work in the entertainment industry. It was like wanting to scream, "Shut up, you've said enough already."
When Tiger Woods lost his lucrative endorsement deals, he at least slept with tons of women, at least grounds for divorce. It was, however, the written word in text, that ruined his squeaky clean multimillion dollar brand image. Charlie Sheen and Alec Baldwin are not selling us squeaky clean, they get away with saying anything that is homophobic, racial, and sexist. In fact, on some level, it is seen as humorous because, after all, they are the bad boys.
As in the macro, so in the micro, the rest of us civilians may not have multimillion dollar brand deals at stake; however, our livelihood is at the mercy of our spoken or written word and behavior, and the record of it to be mindful of for years to come. Getting caught in the act today is different than it ever was because we are literally living the reality show. Now, isn't Rob Lowe grateful that most are now too young to remember?
Jacquie has produced countless TV shows and been involved in booking, or producing 10,000+ television guests. Jacquie also works with exciting new experts and celebrity clients on their branding, promotion, marketing and development, as well as on-camera skills.
Needed Hot Topics:
* Substance and spending addictions
* The healing and transformations of communities
* the Dangers of Business Loan Fraud
* How to handle adult kids living at home
* Fire extinguishers in the home (Demo Segment)
11/19: Christy Whitman interview on Beauty Inside Out
11/23: Olympia LePoint speaking at TED
11/25: Kathy Gruver on The Book Beat
12/7: TVGuestpert On Camera Training
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