Alicia Keys, YogaJournal, and Curves
Full confession: If the song “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys is on in a room I have the urge to dance….even if I hear it during Mountain Pose in a yoga class ( just ask the man standing next to me yesterday when I started bopping up and down…it was subtle but it happened. ) Certain songs have that effect on me and that is one of them. The song isn’t on my MP3 player and I don’t hear it often but I like it. The first time I heard it was at a zumba class and the instructor played it every week as the last song for “cool down”. She said she thought of it as a girl power song. Listening to the lyrics I don’t know how exactly to interpret the meaning but now I also associate it with empowerment for some reason. I usually only hear it when I am doing physical activity and it always makes me smile and get all “I am woman, hear me roar” about myself. That’s a good thing. It should happen more often. Exercise and physical activities are the places where it happens for me the most. Yoga classes are a place where I always feel empowered even if I am not having the best day. There is always a moment where I am so proud of myself for coming to the mat in the first place.
Yoga Journal recently came under fire on the yoga “blogosphere” for the September issue of their magazine. In particular an article entitled “Love Your Curves”. The title sounds like a wonderful idea. Yes, love yourself and your body. Yet, the article is basically a fashion spread of clothes that you should wear to cover up waistlines, curvy areas, and cellulite. They talk about how yoga isn’t about the perfect body it’s for “every body” and then proceed to talk about concealing butt dimples and wearing horizontal stripes to draw attention away from the stomach. To be fair, I saw the article and didn’t give it much thought until I started seeing references to it on yoga blogs that I look at. I took it as a fashion spread much like what you would see in Glamour magazine or Cosmo. And it is exactly that, except with expensive athletic gear not dresses and accessories. I used to look at Fashion Magazines all the time. I stopped buying them mostly because they are overpriced and full of ads… but they certainly send horrible messages to women about their bodies by only having size two models wear their clothes. Does Yoga Journal have a responsibility to its readers not to fall into the same category? I realize that they are trying to sell a line of clothing but I think they could go about it in a different way.
I struggle with body issues. Most women that I know do. I want to lose weight. I don’t necessarily think there is anything wrong with that goal. I strive to be a healthier person. I have made changes to my lifestyle that has put me in a better position to do that. I am getting there. I am proud of myself for getting there. I also constantly criticize myself for the things that I still have to do. It is a constant struggle. Magazines, commercials and the internet are constantly shoving ideas about how women should look in our faces. It is so constant that sometimes I don’t even realize it is happening. I didn’t think much of the YJ article at first because It was something that I see every day. It is almost ingrained in me that I am supposed to see that on a daily basis. This is disheartening. I don’t know that it will ever change. I hope it does. I think that YJ being criticized is good. It opens up a conversation. Yoga Journal has recently revamped it website and is making changes to its magazine. With any luck, they will be positive changes. As women we owe it to ourselves to build each other up and not pettily criticize each other’s bodies. In order to be part of the solution you can’t contribute to the problem. In my life I am striving to turn off the negative voice in my head that tells me all they ways that I should be better than I am right now. We are all works in progress. That is part of the beauty of life 🙂