Social media challenges periodically take over our feeds, some leaving us feeling empowered and determined and some leaving us annoyed. Whether it is an ALS ice bucket contest or obtaining Kylie Jenner’s pout via suctioning glass, social media challenges are usually viral but short lived. The newest challenge is causing quite the media stir and instead of leaving followers feeling simply determined or annoyed, it is causing legitimate concern.

The latest trend, #A4waist, involves females (and some males) demonstrating how thin their waists are by covering it up with an A4 sheet paper. If concern didn’t jump out at you immediately, maybe knowing the width of this standard sized paper will.

A Note From The Editor: We’re nearing the end of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week and felt that this personal narrative, though one unique experience, helps to capture a sentiment we hope all women learn to embody just a little bit more: Perfection doesn’t equal satisfaction. Our bodies are miraculous, amazing, strong, and beautiful. Let’s love them as they are, and honor them in all the ways they can be.

One of the little details I love best about my life is that my parents still live in the house I grew up in. My room is practically untouched from the time I was a teenager, photographs and books stacked up on my desk from when I moved home my senior year of college. The box of sand dollars collected on the beaches of San Diego in 1995 are right where I left them, the magazine cut-outs of Broadway performers and Wendell Berry quotes from an early-200s O Magazine issue are still taped up to my walls and cabinet doors. The Beatles poster I got when I was 15 is torn and faded, but it still hangs to the side of my bed as a reminder of my classic rock roots.

My closet is also fairly unchanged.

With glossy magazines stocked at every supermarket checkout, the emergence of the digital supermodel (Gigi and Kendall), and trending hashtags like #fitspo devoted solely to fitness inspiration, it’s no surprise that women feel pressured to achieve what is portrayed as an ‘ideal’ body weight.

Prior to the days of social media, women were less likely to be constantly visually reminded of what society portrays as physically appealing. Today, unless you only follow your aunt Lucy and the account you made for your dog, your social media handles are likely bombarded with perfected selfies, inspirational hashtags and re-grams of perceived ideals.

Long under scrutiny for her unrealistic body proportions, Mattel recently announced that Barbie will now be available in three new body sizes: petite, curvy and tall. As a “…nod to growing up girl in our culture right now,” many are wondering why it took Mattel so long to finally address concerns that mothers (and women) have had for decades.

But is this change enough? Watch the below clip and let us know your thoughts in the comments. Are we still making too big of a deal over a woman’s — even a doll’s — body? Or is this finally a step in the right direction of breaking down impossible beauty ideals?

When was the last time you felt sexy?

Think back to that day, that interaction, that moment. Close your eyes and let your thoughts linger there. Was it something you wore? Maybe someone noticed something about you and affirmed it. Maybe you were doing something you love and it filled you with purpose, passion, conviction.

Perhaps you can’t think of the last time you felt sexy.

I went to my first Weight Watchers meeting at ten years old. I remember fantasizing about how different my life would be once I lost fifteen pounds. I dreamt of the cute boy giving me a Valentine, getting the lead in the school play and making the A-team in soccer.

Unfortunately, I was never the girl who could stick to a diet. For the next fifteen years I’d set reasonable goals and choose a diet, only to find myself in a threesome with Ben and Jerry just six hours into it.

My perfect life always felt thirty pounds away.

An obsession with the female form has existed for centuries across different cultures and geographic regions. An over-obsession with the female form without regard to personhood is self-objectification. Most of us are familiar with the idea of men seeing women as objects through behaviors such as catcalling or engaging in pornography, but what about women objectifying themselves, and even each other?

Two researchers define the matter as “regular exposure to objectifying experiences that socialize girls and women to engage in self-objectification, whereby they come to internalize this view of themselves as an object or collection of body parts” (Kroon & Perez).

In short, self-objectification is thinking of oneself as an object first and a person second.

A Note From The Editor: Seth Godin is known the world over for his astute marketing and business advice, and we find his writing so rich not just because he’s smart, but also because he has a way of tapping into cultural cues that better help us connect with society, and thus, create better products and provide better services. When we read one of his latest articles, we knew we had to share it with our audience, here. This short entry from his mailing list hits on why we are so passionate about what we do at Darling. We want all women to find their voice. We want all women to realize the lie that says “you are not enough” and to begin to take back the confidence that Photoshop and advertising have slowly won away. Read it and let us know what you think in the comments below.

Stop for a minute to consider those magazines that stack up like firewood at the doctor’s office, or that beckon you from the high-priced newsstand before you get on the airplane. The celebrity/gossip/self-improvement category.

Let’s face it. One of the best things about winter is indulging in hearty comfort food and snuggling up inside. But months of fondu and hot cocoa without access to the great outdoors can lead to a little softness – often conveniently shielded from judging eyes by equally soft and snuggly sweaters.

As the seasons change and sweaters yield to swimsuits, many of us get the itch to get back out there and exercise. Running! Swimming! Biking! Suddenly, so many activities are available to us again, but after months of lethargy it can be difficult to know where to start. Yet, building a workout routine, whether for the first time or just after a long time, doesn’t have to be daunting.

To get the 411 on getting fit, we asked fitness guru and creator of VIPE, Marlies Korijn, to share her motivational secrets. Check out Marlies’ simple suggestions for kick starting your fitness routine this season. Then, stop reading and get out there!

I recently returned home to the U.S. after spending two weeks in Ghana, West Africa. As the Director of Project Development for the Touch A Life Foundation, I have traveled to Ghana a dozen times, but each time I’m there, I’m captivated by the innate beauty of Ghanaian women.

They are gorgeous on the inside and out, to be sure, but what I observe and relish in each time is a different kind of a beauty, one that results from a culture that is less influenced by the media than my own.

Let me explain.

One in four. That’s the number of women who will be victims of domestic violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. For seven years, I was that one in four. As a result, my ex-husband was sent to prison for 29 years. In the last year, the media has been flooded with domestic violence stories. From a professional athlete attacking his wife in an elevator, to the increase of sexual violence on college campuses, this problem is not one that will go away quickly.

Rather than let my abusive past dictate the rest of my life, I chose to transform a set of extremely traumatic circumstances into a triumphant story. In 2007, I founded H.E.A.L.I.N.G, the first domestic violence ministry in San Diego, which has served nearly 7,000 men, women and children.

One of the most common questions I’m asked is, “How do I avoid entering another abusive relationship?”