I saw an ad on one of the sites I write for. The before and after pictures were of two extremely skinny peoplewith barely any clothes on. One was rail thin and one was rail thin with her back arched so it looked like she had a slight curve to her stomach. I suppose if I had to guess what size they were, one might have been a size 0 and one a size 2. The size 2 was apparently supposed to lose weight with one of these unhealthy diet plans. Luckily, with complaints, the site is removing the ad.
When my daughter was 8 (She is now 12.), she told me that she was fat. I was stunned that she even thought that. She is very slender and leggy and at 8 she was even more slender. After telling her she was fine however she was, I also emphatically told her that by no stretch of the imagination was she fat. But then I asked her why she thought that.
She said, “Mommy, when I bend in the middle, I have rolls.”
“You don’t have rolls. That is a bend line. If you didn’t have that bend line, you would be in trouble, because that would mean you couldn’t bend in the middle.Your skin has to stretch where you bend, just like at your elbows.See you have lines there too.” I said as I bent my arm. Then I showed her what it would be like to try to do things if she couldn’t bend.
She got the point. But it bothered me a lot. I asked her,”Where did you ever get the idea that you were fat? I’m fat. You aren’t, not by any standards.”
Her answer was,” From all those ads that say we need to lose weight. I thought that line on my tummy meant I was fat.”
I patted her very flat stomach and said. “Honey, I wish I had your metabolism but I am what I am and you are what you are. Be thankful for whatever you are because that is the way you were made.”
We had a long talk about weight, image, proper eating and so forth after that. I was appalled. I was angry at the advertising world. My skinny lanky little kid was worrying about being fat at 8 years old. At that moment she should have been worrying about whether to go dig holes in the back yard, ride her bike or play with her dolls, not the line on her stomach because of what some idiotic ads said.
She eats like a horse, and even more so right before another growth spurt. She is thin by genetics, exercise and a good metabolism, not by dangerous fad diets and pills or by starving herself. But would I care if she was fat? Except for health reasons, no. She has a lot of weight to gain before that ever would become an issue. It is a moot point right now.
Not only does this skinny obsessed industry promote unrealistic images, it enocurages generations of women and apparently young girls to have horrible self-images to sell products, when in actuality they have nothing to be ashamed of to begin with.
Personally, I would rather not be built like a 8 year old girl. I have hips and thighs. I have a bust and a butt, boy do I. I am not anywhere near rail thin. But I am a woman. Hallelujiah! Oh and I have more than one bend in my middle, but to those who mean something to me, I am beautiful and that’s what matters. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, not in the fashion, advertising and diet industries. That should never be a gauge and shame on us for falling for that tripe.