Girl, Accept Your Constructive Criticism

Being a woman in a patriarchal society is hard, but it doesn’t make you a feminist.

Let me say it louder for the people in the back.

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BEING A WOMAN IN A PATRIARCHAL SOCIETY IS HARD, BUT IT DOESN’T MAKE YOU A FEMINIST.

Feminism is about beliefs and actions aimed at dismantling the patriarchy, the systematic inequality that inhibits people of all genders. Feminism doesn’t mean that everything a woman does is good or feminist, that women can’t be called out (including by other women), that any criticism of a woman is an act of misogyny, that all women must lift up all other women all the time.

I would say it louder for the people in the back but I don’t want you to have to read a whole paragraph of capslock.

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Body Positive Yoga for Insta-Inspiration

I’ve been doing yoga regularly for about a year now, and as someone who is still relatively new to the practice I often look at Instagram for inspiration and motivation. For example, I’m currently doing a 14-day “yoga challenge on IG that led to me trying a headstand yesterday for the first time!

While it’s amazing and inspiring to see the backbends and inversions these ladies (because, despite yoga having been a practice that was closed to women for a very long time, these days on the internet and in most yoga classes, the practitioners are a majority female) do, it only takes a few minutes of scrolling before you can’t help but notice that the most popular posters are thin, white, female, and decked out in the latest leggings from Lululemon or Alo.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, and being a fairly thin, definitely white woman who is currently waiting on Fedex to deliver a Lululemon order, it’s not that I can’t relate to these graceful women even if I don’t have a body that could be confused for a model’s. But it doesn’t reflect the yoga enthusiasts I’ve encountered in real life. In the yoga classes I attend, none of us have six-pack abs. Many students are beyond their early-to-mid 20s (my mom has started attending yoga classes recently, for example). Some are black, some are asian, some are men, some are children. Some practice chair yoga or have limitations due to disabilities or sorenesses.

That’s why reading Jessamyn Stanley’s book Every Body Yoga was such a breath of fresh air. Part yoga guide and part memoir, she describes her own journey to body acceptance and how we can balance our desire to emulate the cool asanas we see on social media with a practice that is kind to and loving toward our own bodies. What I love about the book is that she doesn’t say “Practice in your most tattered gym shorts and don’t even look at Instagram or you’re not a real yogi.” She totally acknowledges that buying brightly-patterned leggings and taking photos of yourself in your best dancer pose can be fun and even helpful. It’s just that you don’t have to do that, and you don’t have to look a certain way, and that your practice is yours to grow and embrace.

If you like to look at athletes or yoga practitioners on Instagram, then Jessamyn (@mynameisjessamyn) is a must-follow.

Here are some other Instagram accounts that offer body positive inspiration for your yoga journey:

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Pinterest Peeves: The Worst of Pinterest Trends

I’ve used Pinterest on and off for the past few years, but only in the last couple of months has it, for the first time, become one of my daily-read websites. Forget Twitter: Pinterest is truly the alpha social media site of our attention-deficit world. Who needs to read words when you can scroll through page after page of pretty photos and only click to find out more if you really want to? Ideal.

Like any social media platform, Pinterest has its own popular trends. And like any social media platform, some of these trends are awful. Here are a few of the worst of the worst.

 

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Cauliflower Crust

What is with this? I’m not a low-carb-advocate, but I’m always up for finding a healthier way to continue eating copious amounts of my favorite junk food. So it’s a huge disappointment when I think I’m about to read an awesome, lighter pizza or tater tot or any-damn-food recipe and I find out the secret ingredient is… cauliflower. Not only is cauliflower the worst vegetable—it’s bland, tasteless, and looks like something has sucked the color out of perfectly good broccoli—but it is not bread. Don’t even pretend otherwise.

 

DIY-Wild Weddings

My best friend is engaged, and is therefore one of the only people I follow on Pinterest who has a wedding-themed pinboard and is actually anywhere near getting married. There’s obviously nothing wrong with a bit of fantasy (I’ve been known to pin a pretty, flowy, white Free People dress or two), but if you get your heart set on your Pinterest-inspired wedding being a 400-person Disney-but-also-rustic-country-affair where you DIY all the table settings, favors, bouquets, and bake your own wedding cake, your dream wedding is far more likely to become a nightmare than a reality.

 

Copycat Tats

I’m not one of those people who thinks that every tattoo has to have deep, eternal meaning. If you want an infinity symbol with the word “love” in it because you like it, it doesn’t matter how cliche it is. But on the flip side, just because somebody decided to post a picture of their designed-just-for-them, one-of-a-kind, intricate, elaborate, meaningful tattoo, it doesn’t mean you should pin it to your board with the comment “omg, totally getting this some day.” To be honest, I doubt most of these people are actually ever going to get a tattoo, let alone one copying someone else’s, but still. Not cool, and if your artist is decent they won’t do it anyway.

 

Five-Minute Fitness

While it’s true that “this one weird trick” click-bait posts are more prevalent on other forms of social media (Buzzfeed is practically social media these days, c’mon), there are still plenty of examples on Pinterest of short (think one or two moves), simple fitness routines that promise to have you bikini-ready in a week. But unless you’re combining it with a whole bunch of other short, simple fitness routines and a diet that does not include the fifteen brownie recipes you pinned immediately after, it’s not going to happen.

 

Too-Complicated Top Knots

I love top knots. They’re the ultimate lazy-girl look. And they’re so easy, although you wouldn’t know that to look at the hair tutorials on Pinterest. A 15-step guide on the perfect messy  bun? That’s about 13 steps too many. Here’s your perfect messy top knot tutorial:

  1. Pile all your hair haphazardly on the top of your head.
  2. Secure with an elastic (or with bobby pins if you’re feeling fancy).

There, done. I promise the only reason that instagram model’s hair looks better than yours is that she got a blowout before she put it up there, and if you’re going to go through all that effort, wouldn’t you want to show it off by leaving it down?

 

If you love carbs, cocktails, great workouts that you’ll probably never do, and Pinterest, you can follow me HERE.