Category Archives: Talk-Beauty-To-Me Tuesday

EspressYourself doesn’t buy into all that basic beauty bullshit you see smacked across the covers of fashion magazines. We don’t believe you have to slim down to be sexy or flatten your belly to be beautiful. We believe beauty comes in any color, shape and size. You don’t have to conform to society’s norms to be beautiful. Tune in every Tuesday on E.Y. to challenge and diversify your definition of what beauty means to you.

Weight Up A Minute

Last week, I posted this letter on the back of the espresso machine at Summit Coffee, for my customers. But even if you’re not a customer at Summit Coffee, this letter holds true for you, too. Much love.Letter

To All the Fine-Ass Residents of Redwood City Trying to Lose Weight,

I just want you to know how sexy you already are, and how surprised I am when you cut the cream and sugar and switch to black, or “skinny” lattes instead of regular. Light cream cheese on your bagel… Why?

If the fat upsets your stomach, I completely understand. By all means. (I clean the bathroom.) Medical condition, fully justified. Your health should be a high priority.

But when you tell me you’re “trying to get your summer body back,” as if your winter body wasn’t good enough, you’re trippin. Your fine and fully capable winter body carried you into Summit Coffee every day. Your winter body brought a smile to my face. Your winter body probably did everything your summer body promises to do, except your winter body dignified you all the cream and sugar you deserve.

So take it from your barista, who sees you every day, before you’ve had your coffee, naturally, at your worst / most disgusting. You’re beautiful. Every day. I know it, and I just hope that you do, too.

Love,

Your Friendly Neighborhood Barista

Beautiful New Year

The raccoon is you. The cotton candy is 2015, and the puddle of water is the Happy New Year, which came too soon, as usual. I don’t know about you, but I’m mourning the passing of 2015. 2016 has enormous shoes to fill. It was a good year for personal reasons, but also a pivotal point, and dare I say a year of triumph, for a heap of outgroups who in prior years have been deprived the visibility and recognition they deserve. Vogue declared 2015 “The Year of Trans Visibility.” The Daily Dot dubbed it “A Good Year for Body Positivity,” and Bustle identifies 2015 as “The Year the Movement Went Mainstream.” Similarly, 2015 was the first year a movement of women dared to publicly speak up about their abortions.

Reflecting back on last year, 2015 was a year of victory and courage. Those who were outcast to the margins in the past are finally shining in the spotlight. Last year, (some of) the disempowered were empowered. They were seen and heard louder, further and wider than ever. New and more diverse idols have pervaded entertainment. The spike in media appearances of these “other” categories starts the conversation. Social media spreads it.

Friends share stories. Spread ideas. Challenge norms. People who used to be primarily excluded from the conversation are now being exposed to bodies that resemble their own, people who suffer the same abuse, discrimination, exclusion, shame, and pain as they do. People are relating. We’re finally learning to see other people as people. Accepting them. Supporting them.

Not all of us, obviously, but a lot of us. Enough of us to change the context. The same large bodies that were formerly confined to before pictures are suddenly strutting down the runways, landing headlines and magazine covers. Succeeding. Transgender individuals, the former “freaks,” are now being cast as leading roles. Succeeding. The “others” now have an audience who love them.

And although the fight for equal acceptance continues and may never truly end, more and more battles for beauty are being won. More and more people are accepting, opening up and tuning in. These movements are gaining momentum with no sign of slowing down. Who knows how far 2016 might take us. We have the hashtag to thank for this.

#EffYourBeautyStandards

#BlackIsBeautiful

#TransIsBeautiful

#FatGirlsCan

#LoveYourBody

#LoveYourLines

#ShoutYourAbortion

    The list goes on. Millions of individuals, united under one hashtag. Social media, as much as it distances us, also connects us. It shows us what we have in common. Just look at the progress it’s empowered, and how rapidly it’s spreading. We the people demand more diversity in our media feed, and we got it. Slowly but surely, it’s being supplied. Conventional beauties are making room on the stage for real bodies. Body-positive movements have spiked awareness, inspired acceptance and driven an undeniable societal shift, the very societal shift body-positive-activist Jes Baker predicted.

To me, this progress is validating, because it means my words might actually have some impact on the handful of people that actually read them. People have the power to change, and to be changed, and we have the body positive cause to prove it. So phasing out of body-love’s best year so far, at full speed, and with no sign of slowing down, all I can say is: Bring it, 2016. And make it beautiful.

Open Letter to Men with Little Dicks

Dear Dudes with Little Dicks,

I know it may seem like you drew the short straw regarding your dick. Indeed, you did. You may feel resentful of your less-than-average sized penis. You may fear your small cock handicaps your sex life. You might worry your dick will be inadequate, a disappointment, unable to satisfy. To some, it will be, but not to me. Whether your dick is a disappointment remains to be seen, just the same as any man with any dick of any size. All I want from your cock is a quality performance.

That is, assuming I want your cock at all. I may not, for reasons that have nothing to do with the size of your dick. But if I’m interested in you, and I’ve invested time getting to know you, and if I decide I want your dick, the dimensions of your dick won’t change my mind. Your small dick is not deal-breaker. How you use it might be. How you talk to me might be. How you treat me might be. Any number of things might be the reason I decide never to see you again, but your dick-size won’t be one of them.

Sure, it may kill your boner and ruin your night when you reveal your dick to someone new for the first time and they make some insensitive comment, like “Yours is so much more…manageable than the other guys I hook up with,” or they suddenly come up with some excuse and bail, never to be seen again. But ultimately that just means you dodged a bullet. Little dicks only scare the shallow ones away, and you don’t want them anyway. The world is full of dudes with little dicks, and full of chicks and dudes who “don’t do” little dicks. It’s also full of people who don’t give a fuck. Find those people, and fuck them. And fuck them well. If your dick is little and you suck at using it, you’re shit out of luck.

Ultimately, you won’t perform well with someone who makes you feel insecure and inadequate. Find someone who loves your little dick. Give them a reason to love it. You might think your little dick has a disadvantage, because it has big shoes to fill, quite literally. Big dicks stuff holes better. True. But there is such a thing as too big, too. And little dicks have more mobility. Little dicks can do tricks bigger dicks can’t do. Anyone who thinks they’re too good for your dick, who discriminates based on the size of your prize, who denies you the chance to prove your worth, doesn’t know what they’re missing and never will. As it should be. They don’t deserve it.

All I’m trying to say is you’re not a vehicle for your cock, and the size of your dick doesn’t determine your worth or potential. You are just as valuable and capable as any man, and your cock is just as capable as any cock. So next time you want to bitch and moan and criticize your dick, consider your dick’s perspective. Love your dick, and be thankful you have one at all. May your cock go places no big cock has gone before.

Sincerely,

Smallest Tits in San Francisco

To Each Their Oprah

“With great power comes great responsibility,” Uncle Ben famously said to Peter Parker. Indeed, this fictional wisdom rings true in the real world, too. We may not have Spiderman, but we have Oprah, a superhero of her own variety, a strong, resilient, self-made success story and inspiration to many. As a result, Oprah possesses enormous power, and with it comes responsibility. Everything she does and says has a ripple effect and massive influence on her fans and followers, who are swift to adopt her ideas. Which is why women everywhere are kicking off 2016 digging for the thin woman hiding inside them.

Oprah’s Weight Watchers campaign left viewers with what might be heard as words of hope and encouragement, the push they need to shed that extra weight. But underneath the “You-can-do-it!” is the implication that you absolutely have to. Whether Oprah’s words come from a place of physical insecurity or profit-incentive, Oprah’s message reinforces beauty standards that serve only to hold women back. Women are disproportionately targeted regarding weight. Oprah singles women out. She addresses us directly, “Inside every overweight woman is the woman she knows she can be.” Men are simply not addressed, as if to suggest men are immune to body fat. They’re not. As many men are overweight as women. The only distinction is, where men have weight, women have weight problems. Men are not exempt from body fat; they’re exempt from the stigma attached to it, to which women remain disproportionately bound. Oprah’s message is the glue that binds us.

Not to say Oprah is single-handedly responsible for society’s long-standing double-standards. Not in the least. If anything, she is the victim of this pressure. But Oprah is a singular source of enormous influence, and after a year of enormous progress toward the cause of body positivity, in the space of sixty seconds, Oprah’s ad undoes the cause’s effort. After empowering so many women, especially women of color, to achieve, aspire and succeed; Oprah disempowers us by suggesting a woman’s success is conditional on her physical appearance.

In an open letter to Oprah regarding her Weight Watchers campaign, Melissa Harris-Perry calls Oprah out on her bullshit by kindly reminding her and the rest of the world, “There is not one thing that you have done that would have been more extraordinary if you had done it with a 25-inch waist.” Perry goes on to say, “I worry, as a mom, about the messages our daughters receive if they think a woman as phenomenal as you is still not enough unless she is thin.” So when Oprah describes women as “Lost [and] buried in the weight that [we] carry,” she’s blaming the weight of our bodies for holding us back, when in fact, the same women are lost, buried and held back by the weight of social pressure to be fit and beautiful.

This means women everywhere are focusing on slimming down instead of focusing on coming up. The time we could be spending studying, creating, discovering, pursuing, aspiring, achieving will instead be spent exercising, dieting, perspiring, mirror-gazing, criticizing, measuring, counting calories and inches.

I don’t think sending this negative message was Oprah’s intention. I don’t blame Oprah for succumbing to the pressure of our superficial world. It’s not Oprah’s fault her fans are so receptive to celebrity endorsements. And although I think Oprah should be mindful of her fan’s blind trust in her stamp of approval, we can’t hold Oprah accountable for the actions of thousands of fans. The success of her campaign reflects our reluctance to think for ourselves.

Just because Oprah decides to lose weight doesn’t mean that you should too. When Oprah says, “I feel that way, and I know billions of other people feel that way,” too, that has nothing to do with you. If Oprah felt like plummeting to her death off the edge of a cliff, would you do that, too? When Oprah says, “If not now, when?” maybe the question you should really be asking is “Why? If not for me, for who?” And don’t let Oprah be your answer. If you want to do something, do it for you.

Scam Bam

Scrolling through my Facebook news feed earlier today, I landed on an ad for weight-loss supplements. This happens all the time. Facebook must really want me to lose weight. But this ad stood out to me because it claimed to be the secret to Adele’s new, slim figure. I clicked the ad, something I rarely do, but only because I knew it had to be riddled with photoshop and fallacies. It was.

ScamBamA quick Google search revealed this sort of scam is pretty common. According to DailyMailUK, “An internet celebrity diet scam which uses fake endorsements from famous names such as Adele… is raking in millions of pounds” (Poulter). (Translation to all my American friends, pounds refers to the currency, not the unit of weight. I can see how this might be confusing in the given context.) Said scam occurred over two years ago under the guise of a different drug, or at least a different name, and resurfaced today on my Facebook news feed. A sacrilegious blow to #TalkBeautyToMeTuesday, so naturally, I took this as a personal attack, against Adele, myself, and women everywhere.

I admire Adele for many things—her voice, obviously, her intelligence, her elegance and class—but mostly because she doesn’t give a fuck about what people think about her body. So when confronted with this highly suspect claim against Adele, I didn’t buy it for a second. But, sadly, a lot of people probably did.

In my gut, I knew the claim couldn’t be true, simply out of love and admiration for Adele, but the detective in me wanted to properly and publicly debunk this myth. So the investigation persisted. Did Adele flip the script on women everywhere? Adele would never… But that got me thinking, even if she did endorse this drug, why is her endorsement buying this operation so much business? What difference does it make to the average consumer what Adele does with her weight?

There’s no use exposing these scams and shutting them down. They just resurface under different names, different made up celebrity endorsements, different photoshopped before and after pictures showing different fake results. There’s no stopping the scheme because the formula is foolproof. It plays to people’s fears and insecurities. The problem isn’t the scam itself; the problem is our receptiveness. It may not have worked on me, but many people fall into this trap. Why do they buy it?

They buy it because they love and admire Adele as much as I do. And it’s sad, but true: Monkey see, monkey do. If Adele can’t accept her body, why should you? The ad alleges that, “Adele expressed in an interview how she always felt insecure about being the ‘fat singer,’” and that, “One of her producers went as far to say that ‘Her weight was getting a little out of hand.’” Thus, not only did Adele consider her body inadequate, her producer deemed it unacceptable. Now Adele’s career is at stake.

Adele supposedly goes on to say, “I don’t know what was more rewarding, my amazing weight loss transformation or seeing the look on those producers faces!” And voila, Adele’s slim new figure secures her future happiness and musical success. All thanks to this weight loss supplement dream drug.

The beauty industry profits off our insecurities, however, as Jes Baker once boldly told us, “Self-loathing is an advertising hoax.” The insecurities this industry relies on in its customers were planted and enforced by them, the beauty industry. Not you. You weren’t born hating your body. You learned to hate it. You were taught to hate your body. They tell us to correct our imperfections, and they sell us everything we need to fix them. They supply the products, and we buy them, but who’s the one creating the demand? They’re selling us beauty as if we don’t already have it, and it’s up to you if you believe them. I’d venture so far as to say the beauty industry in its entirety is as much a sham as this scam is, built on the myth that we’re not beautiful enough, and I don’t buy it. Do you?

Adele doesn’t buy into that beauty bullshit either, but even if she did, celebrities succumb to this kind of pressure constantly. That doesn’t mean that you should too. The things that other people do with their bodies, and the way others feel about your body has nothing to do with you. Next time an impulse beauty purchase finds you, next time you catch yourself about to buy, ask yourself why.

Behind the Bars of Beautiful

A friend shared this image on Facebook, and I’m sharing it today because it’s true, and it’s #TalkBeautyToMeTuesday.AudreyHepburn

Audrey Hepburn was a lot of things, but mostly, we know her for her beauty. Beauty is something women consider themselves lucky to have, and unlucky not to. Beauty is something women are conditioned to strive for. Beauty is something any woman would be #blessed to have, but beauty is a burden of it’s own.

Physical beauty blinds people to the beauty that lies beneath. The beauty we wear on the outside only takes a moment to notice, but our accomplishments, intelligence and wit are hidden deep under our skin, and generally the investigation only extends as far as that first glance. Many women are shrugged off as just another bangin’ body, just another pretty face.

And sure I want to be beautiful too, but when the credits roll at the end of this show, I want to be remembered for a legacy of art and poetry and music and perspective, and this website, and contributions to my community, accomplishments, achievements that I leave behind, not a legacy of sexy images.

In its own way, beauty is just another brick in the wall standing between women and the recognition we deserve. Our external beauty steals all the thunder from the wonder underneath, and we, the women living in these bodies, remain invisible. Worse yet, women who aren’t considered obviously beautiful aren’t seen at all.

So next time you see a pretty woman, or any woman for that matter, take the time and make the effort to find out who that woman really is. She isn’t just a pretty face, she is a person, with passion and aspirations. When you describe a woman, don’t define her by her physical appearance, define her by her actions and beliefs.

Same goes for sexy gentlemen, and not-so-sexy gentlemen, and any other gender in between. Make sure you see beyond their skin. All of us have diamond minds trapped deep inside our bodies, and they take some digging to find, so damnit, dig.

Beauty isn’t an accomplishment, it’s a physical condition. Don’t let your beauty be the bars you hide behind.

Featuring Samantha Mitchell @selismitch (left), and Dakota Snow @codabun (right)
Featuring @selismitch (left), and Dakota Snow @codabun (right)

You’re Beautiful

Has someone told you that you’re beautiful today? A lover? A father / a mother? A sister / a brother? A creepy stranger? A not-so-creepy stranger? Try as we might and want as we do to be beautiful, and even to be seen at all, we don’t hear it enough because people don’t say it enough. But Shae Glover does—she told a heap of people at her high school how beautiful they are, and recorded their reactions in this video you’ve probably already seen.

I fucking love this because it shows 1) how easy it is to tell someone they’re beautiful without coming onto them in a nasty way, and 2) it shows how much you could be making someone’s day. It also shows how reluctant, embarrassed and even offended some people might be to accept your recognition of their beauty. Maybe this is due to our insecurities and doubts about our beauty. If we don’t believe we’re beautiful, then how can someone else? But they do, and we are. So tell someone how fucking beautiful they are (and don’t be creepy). Create the same moment Shae Glover captures in her video.

PS. You’re beautiful.

Fuck It

A lot of us are insecure about our bodies, even the ones with figures the rest of us consider perfect. Physical imperfection, as we perceive it, is universal to us all, and nobody’s immune to the resulting insecurities. We all have a voice that tells us we’re not beautiful enough, not toned enough, not tan enough, not defined enough, not tight enough. But the volume we give that voice varies from person to person, and rises and falls dramatically throughout our lives. Some days the voice is a whisper in the back of our minds, and other times, it rings so loud we’re deaf to any other noise. And maybe we can never mute that voice completely, but we can sure talk back to it. But what to say, you ask? Two words.

“Fuck it.”

Let “fuck it” become your mirror-gazing mantra. Next time your shoulder demon takes the mic, you have every right to boo that little bitch back off the stage. You call the shots in your own mental open mic. So find your inner-child and cover your ears and scream, “La-la-la-la I can’t hear you,” or try the trending, “Look at all the fucks I give.” (Zero.) Your fucks are precious, and you only have so many to disperse, so don’t waste your fucks hating your body. Save your fucks for lovers, family and friends (not those kind of fucks, you nasty bastard), your education, your passion, the world you live on, the obstacles you conquer, the things you create and the thoughts you espress.

The best thing about “Fuck-it” is it instantaneously foils any argument. It’s foolproof. Whether the criticism comes from you or someone else, your refusal to give a fuck renders any such criticism irrelevant. Not applicable. “Fuck-it” allows you not to be affected by body-negativity, whether internal or external. So say it. “Fuck it. I don’t give a fuck.” Embrace it. Save your fucks for something worth your while.

And if you’re wondering what “Fuck it” looks like and how to apply it to your life, this brave young woman dares to show you how it’s done.

Your turn.

PC Haley Snyder
PC Haley Snyder

Open Letter to My Body

PC Haley Snyder
PC Haley Snyder

Dear Body,

These are hard times for a girl who wants to be beautiful. Just look at all our competition. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are dripping with sexy women, teaming with images of women’s bodies that are sexier than mine. Barbies. It’s hard not to compare with tits and asses everywhere. I remember when my sister, one and a half years my senior, sprouted C-cups in fourth grade. I couldn’t wait for my turn to get mine. It’s been fifteen years since then and I’m still waiting.

But you wrote to me last week, and you sounded upset. And you were right to call me out. You may not have given me my sister’s perfect tits, but you gave me mine. You give me everything I need. You’ve given me the hands of an artist. You’ve given me the feet of a Hobbit. And it’s okay that you didn’t give me a dancer’s hips or Einstein’s brain because you gave me my brain, which as anyone can clearly see is a gem of its own. Just look at this website. It’s shittin.

So for all the times I bitch and moan about my tits and ass, or lack thereof, and muffintop and tummy, and breakouts, and bad haircuts that I have only myself to blame for, this is just to say I’m sorry. I was wrong. My judgment and criticism of you was misplaced. And even though you’re no Victoria’s Secret Angel, you’re fucking sexy. Whoever may have the privilege of getting their hands on you should consider themselves lucky just to be in your presence. I do. You’re perfect just as you are, and I consider myself lucky to live in you. I fucking love you.

Yours truly,

Dakota Snow

I don't know about you, but I'm a huge fan of my body
I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge fan of my body