Monday, June 2, 2014

Stop: The Top 10

I had to laugh (only because the other option was to cry, and who wants to do that?) when I saw my stats this morning. Normally, they're pretty good and I won't complain, although it would be nice to have a blog as popular as some of the ones that are out there. But when I saw that 2 people--yes, TWO--had checked out my blog this morning, it was quite a shock.

Thank you to the two people who read this morning. Hats off to you.

Moving on.

Did you know that mothers have the most influence when it comes to shaping their daughters? And that's not all. According to this pbs.com article, friends of moms have just as important a role to play when it comes to shaping and molding our future female generation.

This bothers me.

It bothers me because sometimes I am just as insecure as I felt the first day of sixth grade, when all I could think about what whether my hair looked okay and did my outfit match okay and man, I wish I didn't have to wear these pink plastic-framed glasses. I can look at my body in the mirror and see all the flaws but none of the strengths, and it will bother me for days when I take something someone says as an offense. When I look at a Cosmo or Women's Health and compare myself to the desperately thin and perfect models, I'm showing my daughter that the standard is impossibly high, and that she shouldn't be content with how she looks, but should strive for unrealistic beauty goals.

That's me on the far right with the purple sweater and stripey jeans.
Who rocks her pink plastic frames?

And now I read that my daughter's friends see these tendencies in me, too.

Did you just utter a deep sigh, too?

I've noticed that when it comes to their own daughter, mothers have a lot to say. Especially about how their daughters look.

Can we stop focusing on this? I'm afraid that it's giving them the wrong impression. I'm afraid that even though we mean well and truly want the very best for our daughters, we are telling them that how they look should be their number one priority, through what we say and how we act.

I'll never forget seeing a sick young lady on The Today Show a couple of years ago. She was so cute.

She was anorexic.

And she was six.

Her reasoning behind her refusal to eat, so said she, was because everyone would tell her that she looked just like her mother. But her mother would peer into her mirror everyday and comment on how fat she was. And this little girl reasoned that if she looked like her mother, and her mother believed she was fat, then she must be fat, too.

Six.

But it's not that far off from where we are, is it?

So I'm challenging you (and me) today to let it go for a week. Watch what you say and how you say it. And before you speak, think about how it might be impacting your little girl.

Stop: The Top 10 (according to me)

1. Commenting on how fat/gross/untoned/ugly you look.
2. Commenting on your daughter's current weight.
3. Commenting on other people's daughters weight and/or height.
4. Comparing your daughter to her friends, with respect to weight and/or height.
5. Comparing the size of your clothes/shoes/bras/shirts to the size of your daughter's clothes/shoes/bras/shirts, etc.
6. Comparing your daughter's friends clothing size to your daughter's clothing size.
7. Comparing your height, your husbands height, your grandmother's height to your daughter's height. Sometimes, it doesn't make her feel good to know she's almost as tall as/as big as __________. It just makes her feel big.
8. Comparing how small you were when you were her age/height (or when you were older than her but remember yourself to be much smaller--please) to her current weight/height.
9. Commenting on how she looks in certain attire (i.e. bathing suits, short skirts, etc).
10. Commenting on how big she's gotten and how tall you think she's going to be. Especially when it's someone else's daughter.

Look, our girls have it hard enough with boys and peer pressure and the influence of the media without us giving them the impression that beauty and weight is all that should matter to a woman.

You think I'm that far off? I've had several conversations within the last week that would say otherwise. And people are constantly commenting on my own daughter's height--and not necessarily how heavy she is, but how big she's gotten. And I'll tell you right now, it doesn't make her feel good.  She's already unhappy with certain aspects of the way she looks, and I take some of the responsibility for that. I've been incredibly focused for the entirety of her years on how I look, and can be extremely critical of myself. But we all have to stop thinking that the comments we make don't matter, because they do, and they have a lasting impact on our girls.



4 comments:

  1. I agree and remember things my mom said (not unkindly) that undoubtedly affected my self image even now. Thanks for a good article.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Even the kindest words can still hurt. Thanks for reading!

      Delete
  2. The comparing to others is always painful. I never feel so fat as when I'm around someone tiny, but I'm trying to remember that everyone has a different shape and wanting to be that small is futile for me. The other thing is no matter how big or small or pretty or ugly, there's always someone bigger, smaller, prettier, uglier, whatever.
    It's hard when it's so ingrained, but if we don't protect the little girls in our lives, who will?? Everyone can be beautiful and unique, but of course, society wants us to conform to one standard of beauty and most of us can't reach it...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Sharon!
      Thanks for reading :)
      I get where you're coming from, and I agree. It's our job to protect our kids, because if we don't, then who will? Thankfully, we have God in our corner, fighting for us and redefining what it means to truly be beautiful.

      Delete