My daughter was born smack dab in the middle of what I call “The Photoshop Era”. As a photographer, more specifically a woman’s photographer I am no stranger to the over edited and painfully airbrushed faces we put in the media. We’re shown these women every day…magazines, commercials, books, movies…etc. As adults we’re exposed to as much as 5,000 advertisements per day (more if you’re always on your phone) and so many of them are geared towards women because, ladies…we’re the buyers in this world now. This isn’t about advertising- sex sells, we all know that but how much is too much for our daughters to see? Is it too much for them to compare themselves to women that are completely altered?
- By age 6, children are aware of dieting and may have tried it;
- 26 percent of 5-year-olds recommend dieting as a solution for a person who has gained weight;
- by the time kids reach age 7, one in four has engaged in some kind of dieting behavior; and,
- between 1999 and 2006, hospitalizations for eating disorders among children below the age of 12 spiked 112 percent.
I want you to know that your daughter is watching and she’s listening…to the tv, the magazine covers, movies and everywhere else. Most importantly, your daughter is watching and listening to you. Every time you say you’re “fat” or that you need to diet or when you sigh at the fact that your favorite pants don’t fit right anymore you have a little girl that is growing and learning about her own body and what she should think of it. When I decided that I needed to love myself not just for me but for the benefit of my daughter who will one day inevitably encounter things that make her feel negatively about her body, my whole life changed.
It’s not that hard to love your body, we’re just conditioned to scrutinize every single roll and line and wrinkle but we have every ability to change how we feel! Loving yourself is as simple as waking up every morning, looking in the mirror and smiling at the body you have. It could be as easy as indulging in some “me” time so you feel refreshed and ready to take on the world. If we love ourselves and teach our little girls to love themselves the world would be a much better and happier place.
My daughter is only 3 but there are certain words we do not use around her because she is well aware already of the meanings of these words. Try eliminating or replacing these words and phrases from your household:
- I’m fat. She’s fat. I feel fat. That food will make me fat. Don’t eat that unless you want to be fat.
- Look at that belly (after she’s eaten).
- Chunky, chubby
We replace certain phrases as well:
- Instead of “you’re so pretty” all the time we more often tell her she’s smart, clever or funny.
- Instead of “give so and so a hug” we say “would you like to give so and so a hug goodbye?”
- Instead of “that toy is for boys, you don’t want that” we let her pick what she wants
- Instead of “i need to eat better so i lose weight” I say “i have so much more energy when I eat better”
Those are just a FEW of the examples of small changes you can make to ensure that your daughter grows up to have a healthy and positive body image! Remember, she’s watching! =]
Author: Christina Koop
Christina is a fun loving, trend oriented millennial with an eye for trend spotting and digital marketing. In her spare time, she is usually found with friends, reading the next marketing tech book, or simply with her husband relaxing and enjoying all that life has to offer her in NC.