Thursday, April 26, 2007

I'm a Thinking Blogger

My blogging buddy Dr. Sharna recently tagged me for the Thinking Blogger meme. I am extremely flattered and I have spent the last few days composing an appropriate response.

Being tagged with the honorable title of Thinking Blogger has inherent responsibilities, which I take quite seriously. If at any time I am unable to perform the duties of a thinking blogger…well, I’ll let you know.

The origins of this award: the thinking blog / fuel by ilker yoldas

Congratulations, you won a Thinking Blogger Award!

Should you choose to participate, please make sure you pass this list of rules to the blogs you are tagging. I thought it would be appropriate to include them with the meme.

The participation rules are simple:
1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote.

That was that! Please, remember to tag blogs with real merits, i.e. relative content, and above all - blogs that really get you thinking! It is the first time I am starting something with my blog so I hope it doesn't come back to haunt me.

Happy link-love-sharing, whatever it is!

The Post Heard Around The World

ilkas goes on to say:

“I agree with Zoli when he said "links are good, but they are supposed to refer to content." So, I have decided not to join any memes in the future. My aim with this blog is to offer content that is interesting, informative and things that could really help my friends who are reading it. But how can I leave the world of blogging memes without starting one? =) This is the beginning of a new blog meme and, no, it is something more imaginative than the X list.”

So you see that I have an awesome task before me. I don't even know who Zoli is and I'm not on anyones X list but this...this moves me. If you are one of the faithful who has been checking this site every day looking for a new post I am sure that you can understand why this has taken so long. So many blogs – So little time.

Here is my list of my top five fave blogs that really make me think:

1. Junk Food Science By Sandy Szwarc, BSN, RN, CCP.

Smart. Amazingly smart. Ms. Szwarc does the world a great service by exposing the truth about health myths, which so often are accepted at face value as being true. She tirelessly traces back new reports on science and health to the original source. Very often she finds that the press releases by drug manufacturers and food company lobbyists are being repeated in the press as health facts and the news reports that we are being presented are very often direct quotes from those press releases. This means that we are being given marketing as actual news.

I am always grateful for her posts and thankful that she is doing this important research and making it available for free on the web.

2. Big Fat Deal By mo pie, anne and weetabix.

Clever, witty and always right on target.

3. Big Fat Blog By Paul.

Very well written blog about size acceptance. Always an inspiration.

4. The F-word -- Food, Fat, Feminism. By Rachel.

Rachel writes about the f word in media. She has a background as a reporter and is currently doing her graduate work about American food culture. She absolutely floors me with her uncanny eye for bias and bs. She tells it like it is with all the shock and dismay that I feel but it sounds so much better with her reporters voice.

5. PostSecret By Frank Warren.
A public art project spearheaded by Frank Warren in November 2004. He collected handmade postcards from mostly anonymous, average people bearing their most powerful revelations.

I know that this is a famous site and it's not like Frank needs my help to boost his stats but I must mention it nonetheless. A truly amazing project. Beautiful, sad, inspiring not only for the actual pieces of art that people create and send in but because withholding secrets can make a person depressed or even physically ill and this is a genius way for someone to be heard by millions and still feel safe. Now that the site is partnering with charities that help prevent suicide it's even more moving.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Mom, am I pretty?

Where does self-esteem come from and how do you get more? Can you feel better about yourself by thinking happy thoughts and is your low self-esteem your mother's fault?

Recently, Alison Lee posted a comment here saying " Good post! Women suffer from low self esteem due to how they look." Alison then went on to suggest that you, dear reader, visit her blog via the link so handily provided, where you will learn self-esteem by saying some of her affirmations and watching the movie The Secret.

While I appreciate anyone reading my blog and taking the time to comment and I am always happy to have the movie The Secret mentioned, I must say that I disagree with Alison's take on my post and it seems to me that she missed the point.

Perhaps it doesn't really matter if she understands what I am talking about here as it seems that she was just looking for a place to post a link back to her blog but I don't believe, as she said, that women suffer from low self esteem due to how they look. I believe that women are suffering with low self-esteem and poor body image issues because they are being brainwashed by the fashion and diet industries to believe that there is something wrong with the way that they look.

Women are the targets in a consumer driven war and self doubt is the weapon of choice. We are attacked every time we see a billboard, turn on the television, listen to the radio and go to the mall. Why must I be constantly told that I am the "before" picture every time I want to buy a shirt? It's because they want you to stop at the drug store and buy a protein shake for lunch and metabolism pills for dinner.

And about those "before" pictures...have you noticed that those women are getting thinner? Does it really make sense to brag that you used to be a size 10 and now you are a size 4? Does anyone else see that this is insanity? Remember, Marilyn Monroe weighed about 150 lbs and wore a size 14.

This is why I so strongly applaud Dove and their two current size positive and age positive campaigns -- yes, they are marketing their products but they are using real women in all their ads. The ads for The Campaign for Real Beauty and their line of Pro-Age products are using women of various heights, weights and skin color. These women have wide hips, round bellies, big smiles and all are beautiful. In the Pro Age ads they are using women over 50 with white hair, and they are naked! Without digital enhancement Dove is Celebrating every Curve.

Perfection is the inclusion of things, all experiences, all events in your life. Not the exclusion of those things of which you don't approve. Look at yourself in the mirror and praise everything you see that you can find approval for and do it for at least 10 minutes. Even if you are saying the same things over and over.

One day, not too long ago, I was feeling very unhappy about my physical appearance so I decided that to change the way I looked I would change the way I thought about myself. I stood in the mirror, looking myself in the eye and saying out loud what I thought was attractive. When I started I could only get as far as my eyebrows and my lips but I repeated "I like my eyebrows, I like the shape of my mouth, I like the outline of my lips," a few times and then I noticed that my hair looked great so I added "I like my hair." Then I noticed that my shoulders have a very appealing curve so I added "I like my shoulders." I had to move to the full-length mirror because there was so much that was great about me. I loved myself so much after 10 minutes that it was hard to leave the mirror.

So to answer my own questions from the first paragraph I would say that self-esteem comes from yourself and you have a limitless supply of more, thinking happy thoughts will absolutely make you feel happy and while it might be your mother's fault she really did do her best and she has issues of her own so give the gal some credit.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Letter sent to Eve Ensler / Vagina Monologues

I sent this e-mail today:

Dear V-Day,

I operate a blog where I write about women and body image. It is called A Celebration of Curves ( Every day I hear from women regarding their self image.

I am writing you today to tell you about a blogger who sent me a note telling me about a game her teenage daughter is playing in her high school. They call it the Vagina Movie game. You take a movie title and replace a key word in the title with the word vagina, for instance: The Day the Vagina Stood Still, or Dog Day Vagina or Teenage Mutant Ninja Vaginas.

I am thrilled about this! The fact that the word vagina is being used in high schools, by boys and girls, in such a casual if they were saying elbow, makes me very happy indeed. If teenage girls can talk about their bodies with such casual humor than perhaps they can also be comfortable discussing more serious matters regarding their bodies such as their self-image and sex.

Please visit Dr. Sharna

Thank you for everything you do to make the world a better place for my vagina.

Corinna Makris

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

maunderings from dissertation hell: Celebrating Curves

Hey everybody! I got my first fan mail! Woo hooo I am sooo excited. Not only because I got a shout out from another blogger but mostly because my ranting about plus size women Celebrating our Curves gave a curvy girl a self-esteem boost and that's what this is all about.

I very much enjoy reading Maunderings blog about her life written with an hilarious self-mocking tone. She also sells homemade soaps on Ebay - Dr. Sharna's Natural Soaps.

I felt much less afraid of her proclamations of love after realizing that she makes homemade soaps. After all, why would I be afraid of someone who lives on a remote Texas farm, sees very few people, writes a blog making reference to being from hell, spending her quiet days making soap....oh. Suddenly it sounds like a scene from Misery. hmmmm......

So Dr. Sharna is good for your funny bone, good for your skin and good for the environment! Send her some love people, I think she's I mean lonely.

Check it out.
maunderings from dissertation hell: Celebrating Curves

Saturday, April 14, 2007

I Celebrate My Every Curve

I Celebrate My Every Curve

This happened to me the other night
A guy in a bar wanted to fight
He gave me a look as if to say
That seeing me had ruined his day
That he would rather kiss a toad
Or lick the asphalt off the road
Than sit at the bar knee to knee
With a girl as fat as me.

He said that I would look so pretty
If only I were itty bitty
And did I not realize the fact
That even though I am truly stacked
No man would ever really want me
Because fat girls just aren't as sexy
As those other women with no hips
Whose flat bellies make him lick his lips.

I suppose I could have made a scene
Maybe kick his leg and say things mean
But then I thought that instead of spite
I'd consider his personal plight
A man might feel betrayed or hurt
Shocked by his own desire to flirt
With a buxom curvy beauty
Instead of a slender narrow cutie.

Bombarded on a daily basis
With images of smooth young faces
Certain the only shape he'd feel
Has rock hard abs and buns of steel
Although he might long for a bride
With cleavage deep and backside wide
Coping with ridicule and abuse
A single man might get the blues.

Every magazine he's read
Tells him to get me into bed
By finding some sort of common ground
And surely no woman wants to be round
So he thought he'd strike up a chat
About how terrible it is to be fat
And while his pickup line was lame
I refuse to walk the path of shame.

I've got no interest in diet fads
I change the channel on workout ads
I'd rather have delicious lunches
Than execute one hundred crunches
Country walks and chats by the fire
Glasses of wine with friends who inspire
I'll never agree to do without
Being hungry makes me pout.

I told him that he would be surprised
By the softness of my thighs
And yes I jiggle when I wiggle
My body shakes with every giggle
And when I sit around the house
I know you're looking down my blouse
So even though you've got some nerve
I celebrate my every curve.

Corinna Makris
February 5, 2007

Friday, April 13, 2007

Don Imus fired. Does anyone care?

I have imagined a powerful conversation that might have taken place in the Rutgers locker room that is very different from what I’ve been watching on the Today Show. I imagine Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer has heard that the Rutgers University Scarlet Knight basketball team, her team, is offended and hurt when they hear what Don Imus said. She calls all the young women together for a stern lecture. I imagine her saying, “I hear that some of you are whining about some dumb things that some guy on the radio said. Well cut it out. Some of you are even saying that this dumb cracker stole your joy the morning after your great accomplishment. Well that’s enough. There is no amount of ignorance that can take anything away from you. You are smart, talented, strong, independent, kind young women and you deserve to have it all. Be proud, hold your head up and know that this will not be the last time that this happens. If you fall apart every time someone says something derogatory then you will have to spend time building yourself back up, time better spent doing something you love. If you spend your present reliving the past then the past will dictate your future. Now get out there and play ball.”

I did not listen to the Don Imus show. I was never a fan and I thought him to be an unfunny prejudiced jerk and yet I ask: Will the firing of Don Imus promote literacy and intelligent, educational conversation? Yes, I do understand that words might hurt. The pain may be enormous. Ask any fat kid on the playground and they will tell you. I could tell you. But should Don Imus be fired? Furthermore, does anyone really care that Don Imus got fired or is this all just posturing in a world where being politically correct has destroyed any chance of having an honest conversation about issues that divide people?

I have been hoping that someone would see the humor in this, because surely I am not the only one who found it funny that an old white man would discuss young black women using slang made popular by young black men. It seemed a bit perverted. Such a silly old white man.

I wanted to hear a dialogue with the young women on the Rutgers team that showed how far we have come in terms of how we communicate on issues of race and gender. Yes, racism and sexism exist but are we still having the same argument between villain and victim, the same arguments about inequality between oppressors and oppressed? I hope that we will move beyond this viewpoint toward one where we stand on higher ground. Where is the personal responsibility?

This could have been an opportunity to rise above. In my opinion these young women have been misled to believe that other people have power over them. Unfortunately, they have been guided to cry about being victimized in the face of ignorance. They have been encouraged to meet with Mr. Imus in a grim encounter session where he was expected to grovel and beg forgiveness and they, in turn, told him their names and their educational goals. And how exactly is that going to create awareness on a global scale? Why was it so important to impress Don Imus with the human qualities of the Rutgers Women’s Basketball Team? Especially now if he won’t be allowed to use his impressive forum of millions of listeners to proselytize his new politically-correct sense of humor?

In my imagination they could have instead appeared in a sketch on Saturday Night Live, each of them brilliant, successful, beautiful and completely unaffected by a ridiculous buffoon who only sees their hair and skin – a commedia dell'arte idiot. In my imagination they would have appeared at a press conference and performed a number about how no one will be able to steal their joy or quiet their thunder. That is the lesson that I want our daughters of all races, ethnicities, and religion to learn.

Again I ask: Where is the personal responsibility? A parade of commentators portraying themselves as experts on race relations have flooded the media with cries of victimization when a white man repeats language used regularly in the black community. They are insisting that the record labels and radio stations be held accountable, both for the words of rappers and the market that exists for their product. Why are they not marching at the homes of Ludacris and Snoop Dogg holding them responsible for the prevalence of derogatory language about black women?

There is a strong voice is the size-positive movement to fight “sizeism” and the injustices against fat people perpetuated every day. Sizeism is the last acceptable prejudice in our society. I want all people to be seen as worthwhile and beautiful souls and I want A Celebration of Curves to play a role in that coming to be. And, I absolutely believe that whatever I push against will push back. I do not want to participate in an “anti-sizeist” revolution because I believe that a celebration of size acceptance evolution will create an organic shift in our culture that will last for generations.

There have been many times in my life when I felt really good about myself; because of an accomplishment, because I thought I looked good in a new outfit, because I just felt happy and someone has said to me, “now if only you lost some weight.” Yes, those words hurt. Yes, I have allowed those words to form my opinion about my self worth. I have spent years thinking that I was worthless if I was fat. And I am the only one responsible for that. I can not blame my feeling bad about myself on the guy in the bar who approached me by saying, “Hi, do you know how beautiful you would be if you lost some weight?”

I look in the mirror and I see a beautiful woman. I am responsible for feeling good about myself and the words and opinions of others can not take away my joy. Diet ads that try to convince me that I am the “before” picture can not alter that I am a beautiful, strong, kind and creative woman. I am responsible for my reputation and how others see me.

How about you?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Please read this very interesting and well-written post by Anastasia, my Hellenitha sister-blogger from Australia on 300 the Frank Miller adaptation film. My comments follow her post.

Personally, I loved this movie. Here are my comments that I posted on her blog Chaos Noir.

Anastasia καλημέρα,

I feel absolutely complete on this subject after reading your post. You said everything that I have been feeling about negative reviews of '300' yet you said it better than I would have.

I feel as you do about the cinematography, the historical context, the artistic interpretation, and I share with you my own utter dismay with the reviewer "Cervo."

I enjoyed the film. I found it to be emotionally charged, visually beautiful (even as their blood splattered and heads rolled), sensual and riveting.

I grew up being told stories about the history of each of the Greek city/states and also of the Spartans by my father (from Corfu) who spoke both about their fierceness and as he stressed, the equality of their women. I have read histories about Thermopylae and have always viewed the Spartans with some romantic idealism -- not as a society where I would want to grow up (I am certain I am too soft for that) but dreaming that I may carry some of that hot blood. My husband believes that I do!

Thank you for your insightful and very well written post.

Corinna Makris

Monday, April 9, 2007

The Shrinking Size of Airline Seats

I respond to a comment to yesterday's post:

jumpinglegacy said...

I just HAD to comment on this. I'm registered for a retreat in california this August, and haven't made flight arrangements because I'm in a huge predicament- I'm on a limited budget, and have hips that will not, no matter how hard we all try, fit into one of those frickin' tiny seats that are child-sized. Not even average-person sized. The last thing I want to do is be shoved in to one of those damned seats for that period of time, imposing upon my neighbour's space because I don't have enough of my own. Sitting in my office chair and looking down, I need at least 20 inches for my hips to be comfortable.
I am angry with rage at airlines who's main goal is to shove as many people in as small a cabin as possible. How am I going to get my plus sized hips to the retreat without going broke?

Dear jumpinlegacy:

I can totally relate to your concern. I do have some tips for you.

1) American Airlines seems to have the widest seats on their domestic economy flights with the deepest pitch. Pitch is the distance between the rows. Check Seat Guru for specifics.

2) Ask for the exit row. You will find the most room between the rows in the exit row, which means more leg room, which means more comfort.

3) The last time I flew I had a window seat and faked a cold. It's true, I did. I coughed and sputtered and blew my nose when someone sat in the middle seat. I apologized and then muttered something about infectious bronchitis. The woman stood up and asked the flight attendant for another seat. I lifted the armrest between our two seats and had a very comfortable flight.

4) Of course, the trick to having an empty seat next to you depends on the flight not being sold out. Before you book your flight call the airline and ask customer service for a recommendation on what flight may have a few empty seats.

5) Visit This Lush Life my size positive online mall. Click on the category called "Tickle" and use the up/down arrow to scroll through many discount travel sites. These sites all over similar itineraries for different prices. Comparison shop for your flights.

6) Be happy! Think about how much fun you will have on your trip. Stress an rage will make you miserable. Be happy just because it feels good. Have fun just to have fun. It's reason enough.

Let us know if any of this helped you have a more comfortable trip and thank you again for your thought provoking post.

Squeeze Me

Dear Reader,

Just as I was getting ready to write a rant about the shrinking size of airline seats, Glen Johnson over at Full Figure Plus posted his own just yesterday. Rather than re-invent the wheel I strongly recommend you read his thought-provoking post.

However, since I am trying to have more opinions (eh-hem) I do have a few things I want to add.

Glen mentions the shrinking size of airline seats on discount carriers. I agree whole-heartedly with him that the discount carriers have smaller seats and I want to add that they are not the only ones squeezing their passengers. I have not written any airline companies to ask them their standard seat pitch, width and depth nor asked them to comment on this issue (I'm a blogger not an investigative reporter) but I have made extensive use of Seat Guru and also, using my own patented method, which I call "TushyMetrics" I can tell you that it isn't only discount carriers that ask me to squeeze my derriere into an unreasonably narrow seat.

Years ago Virgin Airlines was the cool airline. They were known for having a fun flight crew, fun freebies and comfortable seats. The last time I flew Virgin the airline staff was far from fun (they were absolutely snotty and I felt as though my being on the plane was an imposition to their having a quiet flight) and since comfort is now a thing of the past with international economy seats at 17.5", it was no fun for me as a passenger. The computer keyboard I am using to write this is about 18" wide and my legs feel numb just thinking about those narrow seats.

If Richard Branson called me and asked me to please reconsider flying his airline I would first send him a detailed account of how unpleasant my last flight was (two flight attendants actually stood at the front of the cabin loudly complaining that there were too many people on the flight and discussed a detailed plan to ignore us...which they did!) and then I would tell him to widen those seats baby because these hips of mine aren't going anywhere anytime soon. Maybe he's lost a few brain cells spending too much time up in the thin atmosphere riding around in his hot air balloon? Who knows what will happen to the width of the seats when he goes into orbit?

Mr. Branson, I offer Virgin Airlines full and complete use of "TushyMetrics." Just drop me a line and I will gladly provide you with full measurements or even a plaster cast if you prefer, for your use in designing more comfortable, passenger friendly seats. Until then, American Airlines with a seat width of 18.5" is looking really good.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Celebrating a Life of Curves

When I celebrate curves it means more to me than being a plus size woman. I also celebrate the curves that life throws in my direction. I've been thinking about my life in terms of plans made and actual accomplishments. While I haven't always done the things that I set out to do I am often surprised and amazed by what has actually happened.

I am happy with my life and the things that I have done. I'm proud that I set-out to see the world and I have done quite a lot of traveling. I am proud of this website and the community that we are building. Often I think that where I am now is so much better than anything I imagined even though it’s very different than where I thought I was going.

You may have noticed that in the right-hand column I have a link to the website for the movie The Secret. As I was watching it for the first time about a year ago I thought to myself several times how much I agreed with what the teachers were saying and that their viewpoints were very much my own but that I had never bothered to articulate my personal life philosophy, mostly because it seems such a horrific, self-aggrandizing, snooty thing to do….god forbid I should be caught articulating my “personal life philosophy.” And yet….the more my husband and I watch the movie The Secret the more we are changing the ways that we think about what we want and how to go about getting there.

Last night we were talking about money, or more accurately Jim starting talking about our monthly expenses, our credit card debt, our mortgages and variable interest rates and….this is about the time when I fade out and stop hearing anything that Jim is saying. I just wander out of the room muttering something about “needing a snack” leaving him in mid-sentence feeling abandoned and left to handle our money on his own. This can often turn into an ugly fight.

But last night I hung in there. I didn’t bail. I didn’t fade out (well not for more than a minute or two). I praised Jim for taking great care of us and keeping track of our finances. And you know what? He smiled, said thanks, and then changed the subject. All this time and he just wanted to know that I appreciated him. I was amazed. I thought that he really needed me to understand variable interest rates and all he wanted was to let me know that he understood variable interest rates.

You just never know where you’ll end up.

Four years ago I believed that I would never be married because I was firmly opposed to having a license for your relationship. Honestly, it still seems a barbaric practice to me but here I am a married woman and I can’t imagine not being married to this wonderful man.

Four years ago I thought that I would never speak to my father again, the rift between us too wide to overcome and yet, not long after I met Jim (three years nine months one week and three days but who’s counting?) my father had a stroke and we moved him into our little house.

I never thought I would stop working and stay at home, but I spent a year being my father’s caretaker and it was the sweetest time of my life.

When I was a teenager I was determined to be a full-time actress, but over time I realized that my true passion is writing fiction and so my mind’s stage is where I now spend my most creative time.

Ten years ago I thought I would never move out of New York City and now I love our little lake house so much that I would never give up growing tomatoes for any excitement that can be found in the City.

I celebrate every curve that life has to offer and I am really enjoying the ride!

Corinna Makris
“Live the Life you Love and Love the Life you Live.”