Out & About Today Nashville Channel 5
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Womanhood is a minefield. You're expected to juggle friendship, family, love, sex, and work, while remaining beautiful, sexy, and thin. You need to balance a sea of contradictory expectations gracefully. The pressure of living up to society's impossibly high standards can take a massive toll on self-esteem.
A study conducted by researcher Wiebke Bleidorn and her colleagues found that men have higher self-esteem than women worldwide. This gap begins in adolescence and continues into adulthood. This difference is even more pronounced in individualist countries like the U.S.
If culture has such a significant impact on self-confidence, how does LGBTQ culture measure up? I asked five LGBTQ women some questions about their body image and self-esteem.
Lo R. expressed that constantly seeing skinny girls in the media has been a major contributing factor to her disordered eating and body image issues. The saturation of 'perfect' bodies, whether they're skinny or thick, in the media is a major trigger for eating disorders.
The National Eating Disorders Association says that at as early as age 12 gay, lesbian and bisexual children "may be at a higher risk of binge-eating and purging than their heterosexual peers." LGBTQ people are at a higher risk of body image issues and eating disorders partly because of a lack of representation. Popular media teaches us how the world works and where we fit in it. If people have access to representation, they're less likely to feel that there's something inherently wrong with them.
Even LGBTQ media still has a long way to go as far as body positivity. Ray V. brought up Boo from Orange is the New Black. She wanted to like her: she's a fat butch lesbian after all. But it turns out she's predatory. Additionally, Lo R. explained that in the book Love, Simon Leah was fat, but she was played by a thin actress in the movie.
Instead of looking to our media for representation, we can look inward. Accepting who you are can significantly improve your confidence. You are more than the sum of your body parts. Instead of focusing on your physical features, remember that you are a unique individual with a range of special characteristics.
Personally, embracing my lesbianism has been incredibly freeing. I felt a massive set of expectation lifted from my shoulders. I no longer felt the need to fit into the extremely narrow mold of womanhood that is presented in our heteronormative society. Everybody I spoke with felt that embracing their gender and sexuality has affected their self-esteem in one way or another.
Embracing her identity as a femme lesbian has made Lo R. less worried about her body shape and more focused on her style. Jordan L. thinks that excepting their sexuality has positively affected their self-esteem, while their embracing gender is more of a mixed bag because " I'm non-binary and sometimes parts of my body contribute to dysphoria.” Ray V. said that "there is something to be said for seeing the physical qualities you see in yourself in someone else and finding them attractive."
Having a support system is an important aspect of maintaining your self-confidence, and where better to look for this support than within our own community? Karen Heffernan's 1996 study, "Eating Disorders and Weight Concern Among Lesbians," found that lesbians are not immune "from the effects of not meeting societal ideals of thinness."
Don't worry! There is good news!
She did find that the more active lesbians were within the LGBTQ community, the less concerned they were about their weight. Likewise, involvement in the LGBTQ community has had a positive impact on the self-esteem of everyone I spoke to.
Abi B said that more she's gotten involved in the LGBTQ community, the more her body image and self-esteem have improved. Jordan L. thinks that their involvement "helps put body image into perspective, especially hearing from other LGBT people, particularly trans people, how their body image affects them." Ray V expressed that fat women ("especially fat women of color who have always been the most radical champions of body acceptance") taught her that she was worthy of existing and being loved.
Accepting your body is a deeply personal experience. There is no one-size-fits-all formula for body confidence. However, we can always learn from others' experiences. I asked the people I interviewed to share their methods on curating and maintaining a positive body image.
"My advice would be to not be so hard on yourself. Have a support group of people that will help boost your confidence and empower you."
-Tori H. (she/her)
"For me, it's been finding value in myself that doesn't come from what I look like, as well as valuing my body for keeping me alive rather than being nice to look at."
-Lo R (she/her)
"Learning to listen to yourself is important. Whether it's "I'm hungry, and this is what I want," or "this is what I want to wear even if it's 'unflattering.'"
-Ray V. (she/her)
"Make a list of all the things you like about yourself. Practice talking yourself, even if you don't believe the things you're saying, you soon will."
-Jordan L. (they/them)
"My main tip is to try to love what makes you unique because likely that's the stuff that's not being represented, so it's really important that you love those things yourself."
-Abi B. (she/her)
My final thought is that there are some basic things we can do to further free ourselves from societal norms and improve self-esteem: uninstall FaceTune, eat that piece of cake, wear what you want, take that selfie, and just go hang out with your LGBTQ friends.
For those with a thirst to celebrate, Red Bull Unlocked is the key. In city after city, the most exciting bars, clubs, mixologists, performing artists, and more take over a local landmark building to showcase their signature ambiance while also collaborating for a must-see mashup. And now it's Music City’s turn to seize the spotlight, as the event brings 10 bars together in East Nashville’s Five Points neighborhood.
Fueled by the best of Nashville’s thriving music scene, Red Bull Unlocked has curated an eclectic night of show-stopping entertainment performances including a pop-up Whiskey Jam show, DJ sets, musicians, and more. The full lineup is here:
- Whiskey Jam (feat. Dozzi, Willie Shaw, and Johnny Hayes)
- A.B. Eastwood
- Daisha / Rap Girl
- Boom Bap (DJ Collective feat. DJ-Rate, Case Bloom)
- Whiskey Disco (DJ Collective feat. Coach, Jim O'Shea)
- Old Crow Medicine Show’s Jerry Pentercost (DJ Set)
- DJ Stretch
- DJ Griffin Green
- The Play Mates (Drag Show feat. Sasha, Vanity, Deception, Aura Mayari, Corlis Todd, and Carmin Triple C)
Counting down to the epic celebration, Daisha shares, “I never thought I’d have the opportunity to perform in so many of Nashville’s top spots all in the same night. Fans can expect a lot of bops and high energy. I want people to dance and have a good time.”
Ward Guenther, Whiskey Jam Founder, adds, “Red Bull has been enjoyed at Whiskey Jam since the very first night, so it's only fitting Whiskey Jam is enjoyed at Nashville's first Red Bull Unlocked. Looking forward to this!”
Red Bull Unlocked Istanbul
Photo courtesy of Red Bull
Local favorites including Pearl Diver, Tin Roof, Lipstick Lounge, White Limozeen, and more will join forces for one epic night. Full list of bars and partners below:
- The Dive Motel
- Lipstick Lounge
- Pearl Diver
- Play Dance Bar
- Rosemary & Beauty Queen
- The Stage
- Tin Roof
- Whiskey Jam
- White Limozeen
- Woolworth Theatre – Opening Fall 2022!
- Eleven Eleven - Opening 2023!
Date: August 21, 2022
Time: 6 PM – 11PM CT
Location: 1102 Forrest Ave, Nashville, TN 37206
Entrance: Ticked event
Rumble Boxing, the boxing-inspired group fitness studio, opened its doors for the first time in Nashville on June 20 at 609 Overton St, Nashville, TN. The hottest workout on the block is hosting its official grand opening from August 4th-7th with daily classes, membership specials, and prizes from local vendors. The new Rumble Boxing studio is currently offering a buy one class, get one free promotion for the Nashville community.
Rumble Boxing delivers 45-minute, 10-round, strength and conditioning group workouts, crafted around teardrop-style aqua boxing bags and high-intensity strength training circuits. This brings all fitness levels together to experience what Rumble is known for: combining the sweet science of boxing with high energy and positive vibes.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
This boutique fitness brand offers serious benefits like increased stamina and strength, with cardio that’s actually fun. The seasoned trainers at the new studio are thrilled to serve their local community while offering this fun, new modern approach to boxing and welcome members of all fitness levels to the Rumble family.
The new Rumble Boxing studio is owned and operated by Blake Baskin and Antonio Compton. With their background in the fitness industry, this dynamic duo is excited to bring their passion for boxing and group fitness to Nashville. As business and life partners, Blake and Antonio aim to create a strong community within their new Rumble Boxing studio and share their message of non-apologetic inclusivity.
Black and Gay-Owned Business
Rumble Boxing Store with Dolly Parton Mural
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“We own who we are, and this brand aligns with that perfectly,” said Antonio. “This is what we want to create and bring to this community: a fitness class that is designed for anyone and a place for people to be who they are. As a Black and gay-owned business, we want to help lower the division we see in the world right now. Our goal is to bring people together through Rumble, set everything aside, and have fun.”
To echo their message of acceptance and inclusion, Blake and Antonio commissioned a local Nashville artist to paint an 11 X 6-ft. mural of Nashville icon and philanthropist, Dolly Parton. The massive portrait features the country star in Rumble Boxing gear in the lobby of the studio.
The excitement and buzz around Rumble allowed Blake and Antonio to recruit top-tier trainers to head up the new studio, including Head Trainer Oronde Jones, a well-known celebrity trainer in the Nashville market.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“Compared to other fitness classes, Rumble is a class you can truly get lost in for 45 minutes. With the dark room, you don’t have to worry if anyone is paying attention to you. The music is awesome and inspiring, and the beat drops right when you need it the most. Also, with boxing being a sport you can never truly master, you’re always improving and crafting your skill. On the floor, you’re consistently doing something new, which prevents you from ever hitting a plateau.” Said Oronde Jones about his favorite part of Rumble.
Rumble has massive brand loyalty and widespread appeal, partly thanks to attracting top names like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Jason Derulo, David Beckham, and Kevin Hart to its studios.
About Rumble Boxing
Founded in New York City in 2017, Rumble is a group fitness concept delivering a mix (or combination) of boxing-inspired circuits and the transformative power of resistance training. Pro and amateur fighters glove up together, no matter their fitness level or skill, to reveal their inner fighter. The experience is a 45-minute, 10-round, full-body cardio and strength workout crafted around specially designed water-filled, teardrop-style boxing bags. Rumble was founded by Noah Neiman (former Barry’s Bootcamp Master Trainer, and cast member of Bravo’s Work Out New York), Eugene Remm (Co-Founder of Catch Hospitality Group (Catch Restaurants, CATCH STEAK, Lexington Brass), Andy Stenzler (Co-Founder Cosí, Kidville), and Anthony DiMarco (13-time IRONMAN, former Managing Director, Google).
Who would have thought that we would have to get through a pandemic in order to appreciate the small things we have, such as the ability to simply pack our bags and hit the road?
For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:
A Gay Cruise
One of the best options to have in mind when all of this passes is a good, nice and long (pun intended) gay cruise. Or cruise in general, for that matter. Bear in mind, social distancing will still be a thing in the post-COVID world. But COVID-19 likely doesn’t mean that cruises will cease to exist. On the contrary, though cruise ships will probably keep the number of passengers smaller than before, it is believed that they will become an even bigger hit in the following period, especially because they are all going to go a lot more environmentally-friendly. On the bright side, is there any better way of celebrating the end of the pandemic than by cruising around some magnificent seas, stopping by at great cities and having romantic dinner nights at nice restaurants?
A getaway in nature
On the other hand, there is always the option of stepping away from the hustle and bustle of large cities, and spending some time in a place that’s not only healthy, but also beautiful. Some of the destinations that plenty of people will look for are the ones that can cater for both peace of mind and amazing things to see or do. One such destination is New Zealand, one of the greenest countries on Earth right now. Not only will you be visiting the magnificent country that gave us the beautiful Shire from Lord of the Rings; this is also a destination that’s excellent for everyone who prefers relaxing to partying. If you’re up for some partying, you will be able to hit Auckland, while if you’re for something calmer, there’s plenty of amazing places that you can see and visit.
Dancing Around at Pride
Pride parades are also events that you want to have in mind for the post-COVID world. Such events have always been quite important, but it seems that they are now more important than ever. The virus has canceled more than 75 Pride parades all around the world, which is one of the reasons why we must support the ones that will see the light of day once the pandemic stops. Truth be told, the upcoming Prides will perhaps be the best Prides ever organized. Give the gays a couple of weeks of quarantine, then let them outside and see what kind of party they are able to throw!
A road trip
If you’re, as well, waiting for the day to wake up and say “long gone are the days when we were not allowed to go wherever we wanted?”, and if staying at one place gave you a lot to think about, then your first post-COVID travel experience should definitely be a nice road trip. You can practically choose which country you want to tour, and you can either take your own car (you have probably missed it so much), or rent one at your destination. Australia is an amazing country for this, though, as it offers the possibility of seeing the Great Ocean Road, which is an amazing thing to see and experience. On the other hand, if you do not want or cannot leave your country, you can also choose to go on a domestic road trip – there are amazing things to see in your vicinity as well.
Holiday for a single guy
If you’re single, or you’re traveling someplace with another single friend, then you should definitely organize a nice vacation for yourself or for you and your single friend, and hit one of the best European cities. Europe has been greatly affected by the virus, which means that now it’s time to pay it back and get it back on its feet by traveling there and seeing all the amazing things it offers. Any city you choose in Europe – you will not make a mistake. Apart from being able to see great landmarks, you will also have the chance to have a drink at great gay clubs and pubs, and join unforgettable gay parties. And if the gay scenery is not your forte, worry not, as Europe indeed has to offer so many different and magnificent things.