I found this post by Carissa Moore about a year ago and forgot to post it then. Her blog is fun and generally light hearted, but in this post from January 2010 she openly discusses her ongoing issue with her weight, after she wrote, “my father was the first to say something. It was hard to have the one man in my life who is suppose to always think I’m beautiful no matter what say, ‘Riss have you stepped on the scale lately?’ Of course my dad says those things because he wants the best for me but I have gotten in the tendency of only hearing the negative and that he is dissatisfied.”
When I read that post I felt so ashamed that she, one of the most amazing female surfers on the planet, feels the oppressive standards of beauty in our culture. She absolutely should not have to think about this. Sure, she is an athlete, it is normal to work on fine-tuning the body to suit one’s craft. Carissa is a tall, athletically built woman with an amazingly talented body. To read her write things like “Here’s the hardest part: I love food. I love eating” is crushing and is only further display of the need for more realistic female imagery in surf culture (as well as our western culture at large).
That is, so the young, bright, promising super stars of our culture don’t have to be distracted by the idea of not looking like the people in the ads, so that they can fully focus on their crafts and not on trying to meet the unrealistic expectations of trying to fit into someone else’s physical mould. In reality, surfing tends not to create the super thin body type that most companies find culturally acceptable for modeling.
I admire that Carissa was brave enough to talk about her insecurities publicly, showing what a beautiful role model she is for other young women. You can read her entire post Here
The most surprising thing about reading this article was finding the response by Surfing Magazine blogger Stuart Cornuelle, which is one of the most loving and understanding perspectives on women’s surf culture that I’ve read from the surfing media:
“Carissa Moore, who lives on Oahu, who blogs on carissamoore.com, who surfs on her own Moorean level, is by all accounts a Powerpuff Girl. She is of sugar and spice and everything nice, and then an ounce of that Chemical X that lets her do airs and throw-tails and make the World Tour at 18. She certainly has superpowers, but even the super are human.
Carissa recently spoke to SURFING for our Girl page in the Hawaii Issue, and while it wasnt exactly pulling teeth, she – like most girls we try to interview – took pains to remain the smiley, sunny surf angel we all expect. Not a hair, nor an opinion, out of place. Which is why her latest blog work has us so thrilled – or not thrilled, perhaps, for the topics are of a heavy (no pun) and personal nature – but glad that Carissa is emerging from the halo and keeping it real. And real she keeps it.
This is how real she kept it on January 26, 2010:
Until now I have talked about surface things by highlighting only the positives that take place, afraid of what other people may think if they actually read what I think about and feel. So from now on this is me, all of me.
And this is how real she kept it on January 28, two days later:
Two years ago I started gaining weight and was doing the exact same thing, ignoring it and hoping that no one would notice. My father was the first to say something. It was hard to have the one man in my life who is suppose to always think Im beautiful no matter what say, Riss have you stepped on the scale lately? Of course my dad says those things because he wants the best for me but I have gotten in the tendency of only hearing the negative and that he is dissatisfied.
And she continued to keep it real with regard to diet and exercise:
I was given this really horrible, not fun diet of strict protein water, salad, plain oatmeal, and lean meat. It lasted for about a day and a half before I indulged in a tub of frozen yogurt. I was also told to do cardio for at least 40 minutes everyday and I hate hate hate cardio.
We hate hate hate that our girls are saddled with the burden of a skinny is beautiful ethos and that the anxiety gobbles them up (no pun). We also hate hate hate cardio. But we love that Carissa seems to be joining the human race, we love her honesty, and we love that her revelations may help keep other girls from being consumed (no pun) by the false idol of thinness. Carissa, we love.”
You can see the article Here.
To read more about how amazing Carissa is, check out this article about her donating all of the prize money from her 2nd ASP win to a local boardriders club in New Zealand.