By Culley Schultz

Culley Schultz is a senior at Glen Ridge High School, outside of New York City.  She is the vice-president of the GRHS Girls Learn International (GLI) Chapter as well as the Secretary of the GLI Junior Board.  Last year, Culley created a short documentary and commentary on the portrayal of women and girls in the media for the Women’s Media Center.  It was through these organizations that Culley’s interest in the sexualization of women and girls was generated.  As a result of her activism, she was led to SPARK where she is thrilled to be helping the movement to take sexy back!

Once a year, holiday party invitations are issued and women pull out their best dresses and heels.  They brave the frightful wind and snow to reach places filled with warmth, friends and holiday cheer.  They also indulge in cookies, cheeses and nuts that are served at the parties.  Then, many of those women go home in strife, suffering not from the cold and ice, but from remorse for eating those holiday goodies.  Where does this regret come from?  The holiday headlines of magazines.

A woman was standing in line at the grocery store purchasing the Brie and crackers she was going to take to a party.  While she waited behind the man purchasing his egg-nog, she browsed the magazine racks.  Alongside the features of the best party dresses of the season and pictures of glowing celebrities at various winter galas were headers like “Bust that Holiday Season Gut!” “How to Avoid Those Holiday Pounds,” and “Beat Christmas Bloat!” She was bombarded with ways not to enjoy the holidays, but to worry about after effects.  Suddenly, that Brie gained twenty pounds in her hands and she broke into a cold sweat.  As soon as she got home, she rushed to try on her party dress, frantically making sure the cookie she sampled at the grocery store had not caused her to gain 3 inches on her waist.  Though perhaps slightly exaggerated, this may be a recognizable scenario to many.

Women’s magazines this time of year seem to negate the good with the bad.  Many fashion magazines do show dresses for all sizes and make-up for parties at the office or parties at your neighbor’s house.  There is no doubt that they embrace the holiday season as a time to list perfect gifts for family and friends that send their publications flying off the shelves.  However, they lower the level of cheer by invariably featuring an article or two about how to avoid that holiday weight gain.  Headlines derail the enjoyment.  Why can’t the holidays be about enjoying friends and family and food?  ‘Tis the season.  It comes once a year, and it should be enjoyed by everyone!