Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Careful. He (or she) might hear you.


If you were asked where our young children are learning unrealistic and negative body image ideas,
what would you say?

I would immediately jump to the overwhelming and (mostly negative) impact of the media.

Then I would consider influence from school, classmates with older siblings or perhaps with parents
showing their kids different values to what I am trying to teach mine.

Then I would spout forth about how much consideration I give to my kids' self esteem at home.
That I wont let them put themselves down.
That I don't encourage emphasis being placed on external beauty
over that ideal of inner beauty.
That they don't see a mother standing at the mirror 30 minutes each morning,
preening and primping and refusing to leave the house without full makeup in place.

Today I learnt that apparently 97% of Australian women
will comment negatively about their body every single day.

That is a lot of women.

Though I am not happy with my body,
I would have said that I was in that 3% who don't air their body grievances on a daily basis.
But I am hesitating and thinking that I might be one of those 97%
if I really stop and think about it.
Then I start to think about my children hearing such self-deprecating remarks on a daily basis.

I am just going to shuffle down off my moral podium for a while
and think about it.

Are you in that 97%
or those 3 in a hundred who either don't have anything negative to say about their body
or at least keep it to themselves?


Tracy aka Mad Quilter said...

I'm in the 97%!

Posie Patchwork said...

Oh this is interesting. As a mother one teen girl & more to come, i am forever grateful that i started them off with the ulimate in healthy living from breastfeeding to homemade food - the other day my high schooler asked if she ever had a jar of anything, the answer was "no". Call it environmental, organic, whatever, it was bloody cheaper to make it at home & put in Tupperware if we were out or freeze in batches. They also won the genetic lottery that is my in-laws who are all tall & slim, no matter how many children, how old, how they live, they are programmed to be super slim. Then there is the natural athletes my children are, from running off long before they turned 1, they never EVER stopped moving (pregnancy was NOT comfortable).
As for blame, i think parents/ the enablers for obesity (yes, i'm THAT harsh) are to be blamed, not the media. Keep your children eating healthily & fit, it's AMAZING how they'll be distracted from body image & negativity.
I grew up with a sister who was a ballerina, i watched her torture herself while i was naturally leaner & athletic, it really annoyed her.
All up it's a combination of genetics, healthy choices & parents guiding their children towards better decisions, so when they come across glossy magazines with unrealistic images, they don't let it enter into their headspace they are anything other than natural, how they should be. Love Posie

Melanie Gray Augustin said...

It's an interesting one. I'm pretty sure that these days, I'm in the 3%, at least I try really hard to be. I know that since my little one is aware of what is being done and said around her, that I try to be more aware of how I treat and talk about myself. We've changed our eating habits for the better because I don't see that I should be eating food around her that I don't want her to eat.

I'm now in a funny place when it comes to body image. I spent much of my youth (undiagnosed coeliac) super thin - when it didn't matter what I ate/what exercise I did, I was underweight. Then (partly as a result) in early 30s my thyroid died and that went undiagnosed for over five years, so this time it didn't matter what I ate/how much I exercised, I couldn't lose any of the massive weight gain. Both conditions are now treated and for the first time in my life, at the age of 38, I can actually have control over my weight.

Both these conditions are genetic, we already know that she's coeliac, but she may or may not end up with thyroid problems (half the women on one side of the family have it). I really want her to grow up learning not only to not be hard on herself, but that it's really important not to judge people on their size, because you never really know what is going on in that person's life.

Dani Castley said...

I am probably part of the 97%, although I try very hard not to be. My approach to food when DD was born, was always very different to my own upbringing (ie: finish what is on your plate). We demand fed, not easy when bottle feeding, we allowed her to have food preferences, and we never insisted on eating after feeling full. As she got close to adolescence, I realised that my very slim (thank god for hubby's genes) control freak girl could develop an eating disorder purely based on my attitude to my weight. So I stopped punishing myself, stopped being so negative about my body, and focussed more on healthy eating and living. Now, while she is slim, she isn't image focussed and she has a sensible attitude to body image. So while I am probably in the 97%, I am trying very hard to be in the 3%.

Sally said...

I'm not happy with the bod. at the moment but I do very much try to keep it to myself. As best I can I try to model eating healthy and doing some excercise and try to focus on what I can do, what I do like rather than the negatives.
It's not always easy.

Mary said...

Trying to be in the 3 but know that I'm really in the 97%. Gives me something to work towards.