Body Image and Little Girls
Zoe has talked to me many times about being fat. I tell her she isn't fat but I am. She says "grandma, you aren't fat"................but I am. It's how she see things that is the issue. She talks to me about her fat thighs too, and I tell her that all women have big thighs and that's a good thing. She hates it though.
I hate it that she is so aware of this issue now at her tender age. I've fought this my entire adult life, and it hurts to see a 6 year old facing it so early.
I think all you can do is keep reinforcing positive things about herself. I think she basically is very secure in her beauty and self image, but one or two insensitive kids can ruin it all. Moms make the biggest impact, as you know Rachel. If my mother hadn't made weight such an issue I probably would be more accepting of myself too. Recently I said something to Mom about my weight and she said "You are just wonderful...............Please don't ever talk about yourself like that anymore". I wish she had said those things to me years ago. I'm trying but years of self image issues make a big impact.
I wish I had good news to report, but it generally doesn't get better with age. The comments made can be brutal and the pressure to be "perfect" and "thin" only more intense, especially during the middle school years. Peers yield a mighty sword in this area.
Someone made a comment that those celebrities and models are "really" thin because the camera adds 10 pounds. That may have been true at one time, but not anymore. With the advent of computers, photos are easily brush and models "thinned". I saw an interview with a model that revealed that her photos were altered regularly, with the area of her waist being a place that was easily made smaller with computer software. Apparently, our daughters are trying to live up to something that even the models, themselves, cannot live up to.
Even the cameras on television fool the eye. Did you ever notice that celebrities rarely have any lines on their faces. Diane Sawyer, who is nearly 60, doesn't have a line on her face thanks to the camera lenses used. They even have TV camera lenses that "elongate" them so that they will appear thinner and taller.
It would be great if just turning off the TV would stop this but in all reality,,,it is everywhere. There are magazines,,,,,TV as mentioned,,,,there is the internet. Even if there were no "media" type of influences.....there is always peer pressure.
Very true. Girls' body image/consciousness has never been more under siege. I try to tell my five-year-old every single day how pretty she is, how much I like the outfit she has on, how smart she is. I figure it will take a constant stream of reassurances like that to combat what the media constantly crams down our throats as to what's "beautiful."
I too can relate to what has been said in regards to young girls and body image. I remember being a young girl (not as young as Zoe) and comparing myself w/other girls around me. I don't believe I received the affirmations of confidence from my parents about my looks when my insecurities would arise. Now I look back on old pictures and wonder what was I thinking? I have a 13 yr old daughter, Andrea. Andrea has always been a bigger girl-taller and weighed more than most girls her age. Those of you that know me and eyegirl know that "petiteness" isn't in our genetics! lol Andrea would compare herself to the girls in her class. She would be so upset at how she looked. I showered her w/compliments, affirmations and pointed out the things in her life that she could really grasp confidently to help her self esteeem. We went thru bouts of ups and downs. I rode them thru it w/her while keeping a watchful eye on her. She excelled in school and in sports. Andrea is VERY athletic. She has now surpassed me in height and is HOPING to reach 6 feet tall like Auntie (eyegirl)! She use to compare herself to other girls in regards to shape and weight, now she compares herself to them in regards to atheletic ability, and it is so wonderful to see her comfortable in her own skin. She told me the other night that she was happy w/the way she. I think she uses it to her advantage. The hardest part though was riding through those times when it broke my heart as a mom to see so sad and feeling bad about herself. I think Mulan hit it right on the head. "Reinforce positive things".
Yer cracking me up again - LOL.
You would have to go to a deserted island not to have your child heavily influenced about their outward appearance,,,,,it is just the way our society is right now.......and it is very desturbing but a fact.
I'm sorry to report that it's even a problem on my wee deserted island!
LOL @ Little Toe,,,,,,,,well there ya go......seems like there is no escape from this kind of thing as long as there are two people together , human nature will usually throw in a measure of even friendly competition.
Like Teejay said, he is constantly telling his young daughter how beautiful AND smart she is, and always working on helping her build a good self image even at her young age.
It is soooooooo important IMO, for father's especially to tell their daughters everyday that they are the little precious princesses' that they are. As a girl growns up her self image is strongly affected by the way her father , or other significant male figure treats her.
My neice's father has nothing at all to do with her because he is the scum of the earth,,,,,,and she is always looking for acceptance because of it...especially with men. I don't mean at all that she is promisciuos , but she allows her boyfriend to treat her harshly. She was raised by mostly women , and she is strong when it comes to us.........lol,,,,,but when it comes to a significant male in her life, she is afraid to go agaisnt his ideas for fear he will leave her as her father did. That is so sad, to me because I hate to watch her being treated this way,, but in time her Grandmother ,Mother and me hopefully will help her to see that she can find a good guy out there who will treat her right,,,but it is a work in progress.
So, my point is if parents, especially the Fathers or other significant male figures in a young girls life make her feel worthy in everyway, including her outward appearance she will have a better chance at developing a good body image. BUT.........even if a girl has the best support group growing up, there is still the chance they could develope an eating disorder,,,,,,so working on helping your children to be balanced in this society is a challenge.
Thanks for all your thoughts on this issue. I know it's a very common thing but I was just very surprised at how early it started these days.
Nina, we have gone though "my tummy is so big" too. I gave her a similar reason as your doctor. She doesn't really worry about it anymore.
Zoe is a really confident girl for the most part. She is very athletic so I try to emphasize that and encourage her regularly. It's one of the reasons Steve and I stay so active with cycling events and running races. I want the kids to see that we set goals for ourselves and work hard to reach them and they get to watch us cross the finish line. One of the best moments of my life was when I approached the finish line of the marathon and my kids ran out to cross the finish line with me.
What a great society. Maybe turning the TV off would be a good step.She doesn't watch it much. We limit TV, computers and gaming to one hour a day total. She rarely watches it unless it's raining, otherwise she's tearing up the neighborhood on her bike with friends. I've never had a weight problem so she hasn't heard any complaints from me about my body. From the looks of it, she isn't going to have any struggles with her weight from a normal standpoint. I'll just be keeping a close eye on her to make sure. It's funny, I don't have a weight problem and I run ungodly distances regularly but my own body image is distorted. I'm always amazed when I see myself in pictures because I never see myself as thin as I am. That's not brought on by impossible pictures in magazines. I have a bit of disordered imaging myself and I'm always puzzled by it. Six, my mother in law would be so happy about the home schooling but she would disapprove of the tie dye for sure. C'mon Ross, your "wee island" isn't deserted unless you've gone ashore. Thanks again for all your comments and experiences. I read them all with interest and there are some really good suggestions. Rachel
What a great society. Maybe turning the TV off would be a good step
. Missed this one. (Must have been when I turned my back to watch the TV) The fact is western culture mostly basis a female's value on the way she looks. That includes Britain. You guys are not immune. Careful, Simon, I understand that nosebleeds on common when one sits a top such a tall horse And, yes, a loving supportive family can be important when a little girl is developing her self image. However, her peers are a thousand times more powerful and one negative comment can erase a thousand compliments from family.
:However, her peers are a thousand times more powerful and one negative comment can erase a thousand compliments from family.
Oh horse poo-poo. You don't even believe that, and I know it!
However, her peers are a thousand times more powerful and one negative comment can erase a thousand compliments from family.
I believe it..
..in fact, I know it..