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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Our Flawed Body Image

A couple weeks ago, Emma looked at me and said "Momma, you need to lose some weight."  It was a statement, completely out of the blue.  It also threw me completely off balance.

Emma is only 7 years old.  Even at such a young age, society has had an impact on what a person should look like.  Emma is not a heavy girl.  In fact, she is very tall and slender.  Statements like this worry me.   Does she worry about getting "fat"?  I hope not.  I am more worried about her being a healthy weight for her height.

I am not heavy.  Actually, I'm pretty happy with my size and weight.  I'm 5 1/2 feet tall and wear a size 6/7.  Not bad for a mom of four children.  I do have a mommy pouch.  It's not something I will go around showing off in a bikini, but it is there.

Children today, even young children, are being bombarded with "image" pressure.  Everyone should have a flat belly and be thin with perfect proportions.  Their skin tone should be even and smooth.  Everything should be perfect.  And, if it isn't?  Then, they need to change it.  That is what are little girls are learning.  We need to teach our children that there really are lots of different body types and that our bodies change over time.  I am not just talking about puberty but the changes that also occur as we get older.

Little girls know that one day they will grow up and develop.  Our society, however, has this idea that women should always retain that late teen, early 20's shape.  In reality, very few women retain much of a semblance to that shape throughout their lives.

I want my girls to be healthy.  I also want them to be happy with who they are and their individual body shapes.  They may grow up to be slender, or they may be a little more solid in build, but if they are happy and healthy, that is really what counts.