High Expectations for Women in Media: News Anchor Susan Kim Told She Looks Pregnant

There’s no denying the pressure put on women to be thin. A simple flip through a mainstream fashion magazine is enough to get the message across: society has a set ideal image for beauty. Just today, we discovered an intense weight loss app in Japan and many more seem to be hitting the market.

And what about women on television? Are they expected to look a certain way just because they are seen by the public? Apparently so. Milwaukee anchor Susan Kim constantly faces those expectations.

Recently, Kim revealed that a viewer sent her a message on facebook to tell her that she looked pregnant in a certain dress.

“Here’s the thing. At first I laughed, no big deal, I wasn’t offended and thanked her for her feedback,” Kim responded on her facebook. “But the more I think about it, the more those comments make me feel bad for women… in general.”

Kim’s response makes it clear that the different expectations between men and women in media is unreasonably different. Read the entire post here:

A viewer messaged me on Facebook during the show this morning to tell me I look pregnant in this dress, especially when I hold my scripts below my belly. She said she was just trying to be honest and then… apologized that maybe she shouldn’t have said anything. Here’s the thing. At first I laughed, no big deal, I wasn’t offended and thanked her for her feedback. After all, we share our mornings on television… together… and I do appreciate that! But the more I think about it, the more those comments make me feel bad for women… in general. I’ve had three kids and gained 50-60 pounds with each. I was considered high risk…so much so that with my second… I had to take a lot of steroids and will forever have a big flap of skin because of the weight gain. And now, I’m in my late 40′s. Is it not OK for women with that kind of history to still have a ‘tummy?’ Do we have to be so perfect… even if we’re on TV… that we have to have a flat stomach… and if we don’t… the observation is made that we look pregnant? I’m not looking for compliments. I’m just wondering if that’s really how women are viewed. If yes, that makes me sad. She also told me to tell Vince, “great tie.” I passed the message on.

 

 

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Yet Another Japanese Weight Loss App: Get Slim & Your Virtual Girlfriend Will Too

In Japan, the pressure to be slim continues to grow. In fact, a body figure which is considered average in America may be considered chubby in Japan. For instance, a new idol group was introduced in Japan called Chubbiness. As you may have guessed from their name, their angle is their “chubby figures.” The thought of an idol group who embraces their heavy figure sounds nice, but many people are bothered by the fact that the women in Chubbiness are hardly considered overweight at all.

Unfortunately, it seems as if many of Japan’s efforts to be accepting of heaviness have backfired. They have tried to introduce the term “marshmallow girls” to describe chubby women in hopes of associating chubbiness with cuteness. Instead, many have found the term insulting. Even worse, one television show said it was alright to be fat, but there are “right and wrong ways to be a fat woman.

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As expected, these efforts to be accepting of larger body figures cannot compare to the overwhelming pressure to be thin. Japan has just about everyone and everything encouraging weight loss. One B&B has rent price dependent on how much weight the tenant loses or gains. Then there’s a weight-loss app which has virtual men insult you until you lose weight.

But now a new app has decided to take this concept one step further.

The “Diet with Your Girlfriend” app is just what it sounds like. You are given a virtual girlfriend (which has gotten quite popular in Japan these days) and the more you diet, the more she does. The virtual girlfriend gets noticeably more attractive as she loses weight.

The problems with this sort of weight-loss app seems endless. Is this app suggesting that only slim women are attractive? What if a man prefers heavier women?

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Problematic Image of The Day: Japanese Show Claims There Are Right & Wrong Ways To Be A Fat Woman

In the United States, the pressure for a woman to be thin is undeniable. Nearly $35 billion a year is spent on weight loss products such as pills, machines and supplements. Everyday advertisements remind us that society has an ideal body weight and we are pressured to try every method to obtain this ideal body image.

This is precisely why it’s striking to discover that Japan places even more pressure on Japanese women. Japan goes to extreme lengths to make sure their citizens are maintaining a slim physique.

Last year, a B&B in Osaka called Lady Share House had the rent of their rooms dependent on the tenant’s weight. The rent would increase with every pound gained and decrease with every pound lost. We can already see the problems which may arise from this tactic. What if someone is in the position of financial hardship and is willing to go to extreme and unhealthy measures  to decrease their rent price?

A week later, a Japanese weight loss app was released which had  “attractive” anime men encourage the user to lose weight. By encourage, I mean these anime characters would say verbally abusive things to the user like, “Fat girl, do some more exercise, okay fattie?”

Every now and then, some Japanese citizens show resistance towards this insane amount of pressure, but these methods can quickly backfire. For instance, La Farfa, a magazine which features only plus-size women, has started to advocate for the term “marshmallow girl.” The aim of the new nickname is to associate chubbiness with cuteness instead of the negative connotations of a nickname like “fatty.” Unfortunately, many readers seemed to dislike the idea of chubby women being associated to food of any kind. One Audrey reader simply stated that they would rather be called fat.

Clearly, good intentions may still be very negative and problematic. This seems to be the case with a Japanese television show pointing out the “right and wrong ways to be a fat girl.”

According to RocketNews24, a Japanese twitter user posted a chart which they saw on a morning television show. The chart distinguished the traits between “OK Chubby” girls and “NG (No Good) Chubby” Girls.


According to the RocketNews24 translation of the chart, the following are considered traits of “OK Chubby” girls:
-Charming and bright smile.
-A big eater.
-Makes an effort an effort to look cute and doesn’t worry about showing skin.
-Clothes are brightly colored.
-Hairstyle and make up is carefully done.

The following are considered traits of “NG (No Good) Chubby” Girls:
-Expressionless and always alone.
-A small eater.
-Clothes are not revealing and attempt to hide figure.
-Only chooses dark clothing.
-Dress like they don’t care or just gave up.


Where to begin? Let’s start with the very big fact that there is no right or wrong way to be chubby. The chart not only makes broad assumptions about women, it’s just plain insulting. How is a woman a “No Good Chubby” simply because she wears dark clothing?

We’re not sure if the chart was trying to be helpful, but it definitely missed its mark. There is no information about the television show which featured the chart, but we certainly hope this was poor taste in humor instead of actual opinion.

 

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Japan Introduces Term “Marshmallow Girls” To Combat Fat-Shaming

It’s no secret that the pressure to be thin is one faced by many woman. A simple flip through your average Vogue is enough to get the point across: society tells us skinny is pretty and fat is not.

Even worse, any woman in Japan will tell you that their pressure is far greater. Apparently a chubby figure (much smaller than what we consider obese here in the U.S.) is not acceptable.

As a result, some in Japan have tried to counter this perception of chubby girls. A magazine called La Farfa was created and features only plus-sized women. It is an effort to show Japan and the world that plus-sized girls are beautiful as well.

Recently, the magazine called one of its models, Goto Seina, a “marshmallow girl.” The magazine has since been advocating for the term and claims that it hopes the nickname will change the general perspective on chubby girls.

The aim of the new nickname is to associate chubbiness with cuteness instead of the negative connotations of a nickname like “fatty.”

While the new term inches its way towards viral popularity, netizens seem torn on the issue. Some claim that the term is much more user-friendly and “you’re a marshmallow girl” creates a much cuter image than harsh terms like “you’re a fatty” or “you’re a pig.”

Others claim that its association to food is problematic. One commented on JapanCrush.com, “How about just calling them “pizza girls”?”

Some netizens want nothing to do with the confusing issue and refuse to recognize the issue at all. They simply say women should just lose weight and that’s that.

Let us know what you think. Will “marshmallow girls” be a productive method of combating fat-shaming?

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Controversial Fitness Mom Opens Up About Her Struggle With Bulimia

Most readers have made it loud and clear that they are tired of hearing about Maria Kang, the 32-year-old mother of three who caused a social media uproar when she posted a photo of her toned body on to Facebook captioned “What’s your excuse?”

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Half the readers are tired about Kang’s inability to “get over herself.” The other half  seem tired hearing about how upset everyone is over her “inspirational success.” Whether you support her or not, Kang has made it clear that she is not ready to leave the spotlight and yearns to tell both her controversial success story and her story of struggle.

Recently Kang opened up to MailOnline about the other side of her story: her struggle with bulimia. Kang has been called a bully for being insensitive about the struggles that other women have to endure, but Kang argues that her weight-loss journey was a battle as well.

Kang claims that she was always considered “chunky” and often compared herself to her leaner sisters and supermodels in magazines. In her early 20′s, the self-conscious Kang suffered from Bulimia. Her weight fluctuated dramatically and at one point, her 5ft 4in frame weighed 152lbs. Kang admits to binging and purging on sweets two to three times almost every day of the week.
“I used disordered eating to fill an empty void,” Kang explains. “It was worse when I was feeling anxious. People often call bulimia the “good girl drug” because we don’t do drugs or drink alcohol we just abuse food.”

I felt like I had no control over my  mind and I had such self-defeating thoughts. I felt a variety of emotions, sadness, guilt, emptiness.”

Kang’s life finally took a turn for the better when she made the conscious decision to “start loving herself.” Additionally, the entrance of her husband, David Casler, into her life truly pushed her to take care of her health. When she became pregnant with her first son, she found her new motivation.

“I had to let go of being perfect,” she said. ‘When I became pregnant with my first child I was like “Wow this is what my body is really made for.”

After promising to eat in a more healthy manner, Kang was able to slim down to 125lbs after birth. She was able to get back into shape after two more children. She attributes this to having a toned foundation and advises other women to be fit before pregnancy so that losing weight becomes more manageable.

To maintain her current body, she does 30 to 60 minutes of strength training and cardio a day. Additionally, she likes to eat protein and carbohydrates at each meal.

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Fitness Mom Under Heat AGAIN, Suspended From Facebook for ‘Hate Speech’

I’m sure you all remember the fitness mom, Maria Kang, who faced a lot of heat for putting up a photo of her impressively fit body alongside her three children. Of course this wasn’t the problem. The controversy was about the caption that came along with the picture: “What’s your excuse?”

The 32-year-old, half Malaysian Chinese and Filipina mother of three was bombarded with negative reactions saying that she was bullying others. These people felt that the comment made it seem like others were making excuses for weight gain. They argued that there are various reasons for weight gain and by not being sensitive to those issues, Kang was being obnoxious and pretentious.

Her photo caught so much attention that she soon found as many, if not more, supporters. A countless number of people flocked to her aid and commented that her hard work was inspiring.

Now, Kang is back in the hotseat, but for an entirely different reason. Kang stumbled upon an online article which featured plus sized women posing in lingerie. Kang then felt the need to publicize her thoughts on facebook and wrote the following:

The popular and unrelenting support received to those who are borderline obese (not just 30-40lbs overweight) frustrates me as a fitness advocate who intimately understands how poor health negatively effects a family, a community and a nation. While I think it’s important to love and accept your body, I was a little peeved because I think that we’re normalizing obesity in our society.

 

Facebook removed the post and shut down Kang’s account claiming the post was a “hate speech.”

After News10 reached out to Facebook, they claimed that the suspension was a mistake and reactivated Kang’s account. However, they did not restore Kang’s post. As a result, Kang has voiced that her freedom of speech was taken away.

Yet again, Kang finds herself with a number of haters and supporters. Those who agree with her claim that people should be allowed to post their opinion on facebook and by taking down her post, they have taken away her freedom of speech. Others who supported Kang in the past do not agree with her actions this time around.

“I feel like that’s bullying other people,”says Jayana Hinkle. “She can celebrate her success story, but when other people are trying to accept themselves, she just totally shoots that down. I don’t think that’s fair.”

Facebook pointed out that Kang is welcome to repost her comment, but Kang argues that Facebook should repost the comment, not her. Kang remains strong on her opinion.

“It’s never my intention to say someone should look a certain way.” Kang said. “But I am not going to stand here and say being obesity is okay and we should accept that as the norm.”

 


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Breaking The Asian Myth | “Asians Don’t Get Fat”

Earlier, we wrote Breaking The Asian Myth | Asian Hair to address the very incorrect myth that all Asians have the same kind of hair. According to the stereotype, being Asian automatically means straight, sleek, black hair. As we all know, these myths are often over-generalizations. This is especially true when using the giant umbrella term “Asian” despite the various types of Asians.

We’ve even seen this over-generalization affect Asian women when it comes to breast cancer. The myth is that Asians do not need to worry since we have the lowest rate of breast cancer. The reality is that Japanese American women have the highest rate of breast cancer among Asian Americans and this type of cancer is the leading cause of death for Filipino women. Obviously, there are important differences between the various ethnicities which categorize under Asian.

And now, we’ve come to a myth that many of us have heard since childhood:
You’re lucky you’re Asian. Asians don’t get fat.”

This is the part where we all let out a collective sigh. Deconstructing that phrase on a very surface level alone shows a number of problems. Asians are human and fully capable of putting on weight. Sure, this stereotype holds some ground. Many Asians are indeed fairly thin or petite, but by no means is this the case for all Asians. Setting the boundary that Asians don’t get overweight can create quite a few problems for our community.
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Take Maria Kang (above) for example. Controversial photo aside, it is clear that this mother of three had to work hard to get the impressively fit body that she has now. Among the negative comments shot at her, there were a number of people saying that her achievements are nothing to boast about because she’s Asian and “Asians are naturally thin.” Suddenly, hard work of any sort is simply waved off as nothing.

There are certainly Asians on the heavier side. Now imagine how a heavy-set Asian feels in the midst of such high expectations? What does a woman do when society makes her believe that her culture is genetically engineered to be thin, but she is not? Now more than ever, Asian women are turning to surgery to fit these high beauty standards. With the ideal weight for Asian women getting smaller and smaller everyday, we began to wonder just how true this stereotype is. Lucky for us, we weren’t the only ones who saw flaws in the idea that “Asians don’t get fat.”

NBC recently took a closer look at where Asian Americans rank on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and noted two very big problems which would lead to incorrect results.

It is true that according to the survey, obesity does not appear to be an issue with the Asian American community, but it is important to take note of their definition of obese. In order to judge obesity, the NHANES looks at body mass index (BMI). A BMI above 25 is considered overweight and a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese. By these standard, only 10.8 % of Asians are obese compared to the 33% of white, 42% of Hispanics, and 48% of blacks.

The problem? The BMI of an Asian is not an accurate indicator of whether or not that person suffers from the health risks related to obesity. For instance, Asian Americans are at risk for diabetes with a BMI of just 24 and at risk for cardiovascular disease with a BMI of 19. By the NHANES standards, these BMI’s are not even considered overweight and yet it is enough to bring the complications of obesity to Asian Americans.

The second major problem is the giant umbrella term “Asian.”  NBC notes that this term “is defined the same way the 2010 U.S. Census defined the term: Americans with descendants from the Far East, Southeast Asia or the Indian subcontinent — that includes Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand and Vietnam.” By categorizing so many types of Asians into the same field, it is easy to overlook the results of the individual ethnicities.

According to a CDC report in 2008, Filipinos are 70% more likely to be obese compared to the other Asian Americans while a number of Vietnamese and Korean adults are underweight. Clearly, obesity issues vary amongst the different types of Asians. Scott Chan, the program director for the Asian Pacific Islander Obesity Prevention Alliance, points out, “Combined together, it looks like we don’t have a problem. It kind of propagates that ‘model minority’ myth — that Asians are healthier, we’re skinny, we’re fine.”

So as much as we buy into the idea that Asians are naturally thin, it is quite a danger to our community. Do some Asians get fat? Yes. Should we worry about the health risks associated with obesity? Absolutely.


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Asian Mother Refuses to Apologize for Controversial Photo

Mother of three and fitness enthusiast Maria Kang posted a picture of herself and her children on facebook last year. The 32-year-old, half Malaysian Chinese and Filipina mother brought attention to her body in the picture. The inclusion of her sons emphasized that even after giving birth, this mom is fit. Wearing only a sports bra, she revealed her incredibly toned abs and trimmed figure.

The former pageant queen, fitness competitor and founder of the nonprofit Fitness Without Borders, achieved her look by working out five to six days a week. She structured her time to allow for consistent work-outs between raising three kids and keeping her job. Clearly, this hard work deserves some applause, but her controversial photo made the public view her in a different light.

It wasn’t the children or the abs which caused the public controversy. It was the caption above her head which said “What’s your excuse?” that caused the downpour of both positive and negative comments.

Some people considered her an inspiration and applauded her for being proud of what she worked hard to achieve. Others felt that the comment rudely assumed that people make excuses for weight gain. They argued that there are various reasons for weight gain and by not being sensitive to those issues, Kang was being obnoxious and pretentious.

A year after posting her controversial photo, Kang noticed that it was going viral once again and this time, many more negative comments were being thrown her way. She decided to re-post the picture with an “apology,” but admits that it’s actually a “non-apology.”

“I’m sorry you took an image and resonated with it in such a negative way,” she wrote. “I won’t go into details that I struggled with my genetics, had an eating disorder, work full time owning two businesses, have no nanny, am not naturally skinny and do not work as a personal trainer,” she wrote, in part. “What I WILL say is this. What you interpret is not MY fault. It’s yours. The first step in owning your life, your body and your destiny is to OWN the thoughts that come out of your own head. I didn’t create them. You created them. So if you want to continue ‘hating’ this image, get used to hating many other things for the rest of your life.”

As expected, she was showered with even more negative comments than before. The picture, which has been shared over 13,000 times and has nearly 18,000 comments, was swarmed with angry comments for her “non-apology.”

Yahoo reports, “That post brought a frenzy of negative responses, including, “Those precious little things need their mommy more than they need you to have glamour muscles,” “Not that I *NEED* an excuse for not working out, but here’s mine you self-righteous idiot … fibromyalgia,” “You are part of the body shaming problem that is going on in North America and other parts of the world,” and “You are a bully with a super inflated sense of your own self.”

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Others have been rising to her defense and claim that she has no reason to say sorry anyway.

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Kang doesn’t seem to be phased by any of this. “I wanted to inspire people,” she explains, “I wanted to say, ‘I know you think you don’t have time if you have kids. But if I can do it, you can do it, too.’”

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Problematic Weight-Loss App: Men Insult You Until You Lose Weight

Last week, we were stunned to discover a residential facility where the cost of rent was dependent on how much the tenant weighed. The facility would deduct a certain amount from the tenants’ rent for weight loss or increase the rent for weight gain.

Intense? Yeah, we thought so too. That was, of course, before we discovered a Japanese weight loss app that blows the residential facility out of the park. Nenshou! For Girls is an app which will have “attractive” anime men encourage you to lose weight. And by encourage I mean these anime men will say verbally abusive things about you like, “Fat girl, do some more exercise, okay fattie?”

As much as we wish we were joking, we’re not.  RocketNews24 writes, “In “Nenshou! For Girls” three gorgeous guys will give you the old carrot-and-stick treatment to encourage you on your weight loss journey. While you exercise, you can also enjoy a burgeoning relationship with one of the cast of ikemen (hot guys) who has been so romantically insulting you.”

We’re not entirely sure why anyone would want to be verbally insulted by a fictional anime character that could potentially “start a relationship” with you if you lose weight, but apparently there is so much faith in this app that veteran voice actors Daisuke Namikawa (Mobile Suit Gundam 00), Ryouhei Kimura (Eden of the East), and Katsuyuki Konishi (Bleach, Hetalia) were asked to voice the “romantically insulting” men.

And if you think this is bad, it gets even worse. The app is based on Nenshou! which is a similar app, but aimed towards men. “Attractive” anime women encourage men to lose weight, but heres the catch: they actually use words of encouragement and compliment the app user.

Because that makes sense, right? The way to get men to lose weight is through encouragement and affirmation and the way to get women to lose weight is through insults. Because as women, we don’t already have enough pressure to be thin, right?

With more and more problematic approaches to weight loss, we can only hope that more people don’t fall into the already terrifying amount of women who will go through drastic measures to lose weight.

Tell us what you think about this phone app below.

 

Problematic Idea of The Day: The Price of Your Rent Depends On Your Weight

From the time that we are born, we are taught that slim is in. We are given the belief as women that thin is beautiful and we must strive to get to or maintain that image. In the United States alone, nearly $35 billion a year is spent on weight loss products. Our obsession to be thin has become so extreme that companies have been thriving in the weight loss industry. There have been pills, workout machines, smoothies, and just about everything you can think of that focuses on weight loss.

In Japan, they’ve taken the idea of weight loss to an entirely new level. In what Huffington Post refers to as “one of the most unique weight-loss schemes of all”, the Lady Share House B&B in Osaka offers discounted rent price dependent on the tenants weight loss. The residential facility will deduct 1,000 yen (roughly $10) for every 2.2 pounds lost and inversely, the rent will increase for increased weight.

The goal of the residential facility, apparently, is to create an environment which supports and facilitates healthy living. In their defense, no one can say that Lady Share House B&B isn’t trying. In fact, their efforts are clearly done with good intentions. The building offers an exercise studio and even lecture on weight management. None the less, the building has still stirred quite the debate. The B&B was questioned for its unlimited snacks and sugary drinks offered to the tenants. Are these snacks really offered to encourage health living or was it a scheme to increase the tenants’ weight? They defended this act by claiming that the availability of the snacks was an effort to help their tenants learn to resist temptation. Questionable? Certainly.

While we are in full support of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, there are a number of problems that may arise from this rent tactic. In an effort to decrease rent, especially if one is in the position of financial hardship, one may go to extreme measures  to decrease their rent price. This added pressure may simply add on to the unhealthy obsession to be thin.

Additionally, with further research into the facility, it was discovered that the B&B was attracting many women who were not overweight at all. Will this B&B simply encourage women to be even thinner? Will this aid in the already problematic obsession of weight loss? Tell us what you think below.

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