BEAUTY IN THE FRIDGE

The Beauty of Not Talking Sh*t about Yourself

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Katie Sturino

You might mistake Katie Sturino’s new book, Body Talk, for a brilliant, hilarious, adorably illustrated book for women over size 12. Instead, it’s a brilliant, hilarious, adorably illustrated book for pretty
much anyone with a body in our society. “I don’t think we realize how often
we’re bombarded by negative messaging about our bodies,” writes the
Megababe founder and Instagram star, noting later: “Recognize junk food
messaging for what it is: crap.”

The book, much like Megababe—Sturino’s chic, wildly effective, obsessed-over-at-goop clean beauty line—flips the bird squarely at shame. “Megababe makes solutions for bodily problems I used to find embarrassing, like thigh chafing,” she writes. “I wanted to make a tangible extension of my body acceptance message to help remove shame around things we don’t need to be ashamed of. I figured if they were problems I had, others might have them, too. (No matter your weight, shape, or size, if you’re a person with skin that rubs against skin, you know about chafing.) Shedding my shame, building up my self-esteem, learning that I was worthy of love and success and cool clothes—these realizations changed my life.”

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If the products are physical ways to take the shame out of being in your body (particularly a nonmale one in this culture), the book spells out how to approach removing that shame from your mind. It’s hard to zero on our favorite Sturino-ism, but the title for part three of the book, “You’ve Got Your Brain Space Back! Now What Will You Do with It?” points to the enormous benefits that come from accepting and loving ourselves as we are.

Here, some more brilliant Sturino wisdom from the book (along with one beauty tip—see below—that’s not from the book but that we loved nonetheless). Body Talk is still on our nightstands, even after we’ve finished it—it’s one of those keep-coming-back, more-support books that you can open to just about any page and find something you’re glad you read again.

Tip: Try Vitamin C

“I got the goop vitamin C serum because Jean Godfrey-June told me it was something that was going to make my face visibly brighter. And it does!” says Sturino. “I love it.”

Speak about shame

“The more comfortable I got talking about my body shame, the more I started to overcome it. I began to understand that everything I’d ever felt body-shameful about was nothing to actually be ashamed of. The perfect body, I was starting to learn, wasn’t real. It was a societally created illusion,” writes Sturino. “With every post I put up that highlighted my formerly self-perceived flaws, I began to feel my own power rising up from within. It was like heartburn, if heartburn felt good.”

Say “nope” to negative thoughts

“Your negative thoughts will become less aggressive…but, guaranteed, they will still appear. Sometimes new ones pop up out of nowhere! Don’t freak out when this happens. Just yell ‘NOPE!’ at them inside your brain.”

“Brave” is bullsh*t

“Firefighters are brave. People who catch and release spiders are brave…. But when I wear a two-piece swimsuit to the hot-AF beach and/or post a picture of myself in that two-piece on the internet, I am not being brave,” writes Sturino. “When people use the word ‘brave’ in this context, it’s as though what they’re actually saying is, ‘Your body is embarrassing. You should be ashamed of it. But because you’re not ashamed—even though we’re all a little horrified that your ass and flub are out and we would never do such a thing if we were you—well, that takes a lotta guts!’”

Build boundaries (actual ones)

Sturino quotes a friend who told her this: “The window of my corner office looks directly out onto a billboard that equates the removal of ‘unsightly acne scars’ with an inevitable promotion: ‘Put your best face forward and get the job of your dreams!’ So, I blocked that part of the view with a giant vase of my favorite flowers, and reminded myself that my acne-scarred face and I have a big fancy corner office and a parking spot with our name on it.”

Katie Sturino

Date with full transparency

Now married, Sturino went through both divorce and dating in New York City as she woke up to the power of body acceptance. “On my dating app profile, I showed my body!” she writes. “I let the people know what was up. Either they were going to be attracted to me or they weren’t. Not my problem either way. I put it all out there from the get-go, which helped me cut right through the bullshit.”

Don’t expect “flaws” to disappear

“The ultimate goal is not to fall madly in love with your every self-determined flaw,” writes Sturino. “The goal is to stop equating your VALUE with these flaws.”

Fight for true inclusion

“Narrow beauty standards very much exist within the world of body positivity,” writes Sturino. “There is still a monolithic kind of ‘aspirational fat’ that proliferates, a singular type of woman who gets featured, designed for, photographed, uplifted, and celebrated in the media. She is almost always white, cisgendered, able-bodied, and a size 14. (This is me. Hello. I am clear-eyed about the fact that I have benefited, for sure, from the associated privileges, and it is part of my work to uplift and shout-out to others who do not!)… If this were a drive-through window where I could order anything I wanted, I’d ask for every brand, publication, billboard, and runway to hire, celebrate, feature, and make products for a diverse representation of races, ages, abilities, gender orientations, sexual orientations, and more—as well as celebrate different body shapes, weights, and sizes. Can you help make this a reality? Yes! By joining the body positivity and body acceptance movement. The more of us, the better.”

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