As a mother of two girls and a previous self-conscious teen; the subject of weight and body image is nothing new.
We are at a strange place in society, we are pushing healthy body images while a sizeable portion of our youth suffers from obesity. How did we get here? Convenience? Possibly. I am not going to publicize my theories but I do want to voice my frustrations.
I am petite, to say the least, and Audra tends to have the same structure and body shape that I do. Genevieve on the other hand is already taller than me at 11 years old (I am 5’4, so not an Oompa Loompa). She also weighs more than I do and carries a different body structure, I always had to fight the doctors about her weight, even as a toddler. We have been sent to specialists, weight loss clinics, and dieticians; the latter of which really pissed me off. I am not ashamed to say I am a health food nut, we do not eat processed foods, fried foods, non-organic meat, and my kids know how to properly read nutritional labels. We do this not to be “skinny’ but to make sure we do not develop preventable disease and illness.
Now back to how this ties into my title. We went to the Toledo Zoo back in April, great zoo by the way, and decided to partake in a fun little feature where you step on a scale and it compare your weight to that of a monkey species. The kids all stepped on and then forced me to do so, in that instance, Genevieve and I realized that she weighs 12 pounds more than I do. It was like my heart had been ripped out, I know that weight is not that big of a deal but to an 11 year old it is everything and it made me feel like I destroyed a part of her self-esteem. I know that sounds dramatic but think like a tween for a moment.
So, after that day, Genevieve has been obsessed with her size and weight and I hate it. She has great books that talk about this and I am very open and supportive but you can see where it does not help. School is not a helpful place either; she is the tallest and thickest child in her class but she is not fat she is one helluva solid kid, you can’t pinch fat on her. All of her friends are petite and thin and I know she looks at that as the epitome of beauty. She also watches her friends inhale the most unhealthy of foods with no recourse, I try to get her to understand that these kids just have not enjoyed the start of puberty yet.
I am just frustrated, frustrated at society, frustrated that my child has to feel this inadequate (although I am sure when she thins out and is a long legged bronzed vixen she will feel different), and just frustrated in general. We need the Disney channel to have a show where the star is a full figured actress, not the bumbling idiot best friend like they do now. I,e, Good Luck Charlie, Austin & Ally. Notice that the best friend is always a plus sized actress but not very intelligent? Have you noticed that Justice Brand clothes have half sizes in the store yet zero half sized models? Inclusion is a strange thing when it comes to body image.
Taking it one day at a time.