A few weeks ago, a coworker told me that her six-year-old daughter said she wanted to work out because she was “fat.” SIX. I can’t imagine she came up with that herself.
I find it disheartening that instead of enjoying their childhood, babies are worried about their appearances. What kind of message are we sending? That being thin is the more important than being kind or curious? That weight determines your worth? But I also find it disheartening that instead of enjoying our lives, we’re worried about our appearances. We’re worried about how we look on the beach, or in the gym, or in front of our significant others. We worry about our cellulite or jiggly arms and cover up when it’s 100 degrees outside.
I worry about it, too. I purchased a new swimsuit bottom this summer and was embarrassed to wear it at my parents’ pool because it cut too high and didn’t cover my hips. But you know what? No one cared. My parents didn’t care. My sister didn’t care. J didn’t care. My niece didn’t care. She wanted me to play “I Spy”. My weight did not affect her day. We played and ate snacks and I didn’t waste another minute thinking about my thighs.
It may always be a struggle. When stories like this lovely woman wearing a bikini for the first time – for just doing something women do every.single.day – aren’t news, then maybe we’re making some headway. When we stop calling Amy Schumer plus-size (and good Lord with the name) and calling Christina Hendricks fat and claiming Jennifer Aniston is pregnant because she’s comfortable and vulnerable and not sucking in her belly or turning down designing a dress for Leslie Jones and making sizes smaller and shoving weight-loss pills and wraps and juice cleanses down each others throats, then maybe we’re getting somewhere.
We have a long way to go… But it’s time to banish the “f” word. We need to set the tone. Be kind when you talk to yourself. Be kind when you talk about yourself in front of your children. Be kind when you talk to others. Be kind when you talk about others. Because our brains have muscle memory: they’ll never let you forget the times you were called fat or ugly or stupid or unworthy.
What are your thoughts on this? Anything we can do?