Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Image… It’s Everything

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Have you given much thought recently to the examples of what a “healthy” or “perfect” body is? Is a healthy body the model whose ribs are showing through her skin? Is someone who has a “perfect” body the girl who wears a size “0”? How about almost any woman in a fashion magazine?

Just recently in the news, Keira Knightley refused to let her photos be enhanced to give her a bigger bustline and women all over the world are cheering. I’ve always been aware of the fact that models in magazines are usually way too skinny for their health and anything that is slightly imperfect has been photoshopped out or enhanced anyway – but are our daughters aware of this? Do they look at women like Nichole Richie or Paris Hilton and think, “I want to look just like her”? I’m not talking about women who are just naturally petite or who have such figures naturally, these people are healthy and the way nature meant for them to be – but most of us do not fall into such a category.

The fact that society is placing an unattainable goal upon most girls nowadays became very real to me a few weeks ago when the girls and I were in Target. We were in the Misses/Juniors section looking for an outfit for Collette when we came upon a cropped cardigan sweater that little miss Lauren absolutely fell in love with. Because she is my resident fashion diva, she eyed that sweater extolling the virtues of it – how many of her other wardrobe pieces it would go with. I explained to her that we were in the “grownup” section of the store and we could shop in the girl’s section (she usually wears a size 6x) when we were done there. She would not give up and insisted that she be allowed to try on that sweater… so I chose a size “Small” and took it off from the hanger for her to try, expecting it to hang on her like an oversize grocery sack – would you believe it actually fit her (and quite nicely too!). Now, the fact that my very fit, very athletic six year old would be able to fit into a misses size “Small” sweater only proved to me that maybe the expectation of exactly who should fit into a size misses “Small” sweater is not exactly realistic. Should we expect every woman who wears a size “Small” to be as small as a First grader? I’m guessing that’s obviously what society thinks.

It’s time we get those ideas of what is “perfect” out of our heads and our daughter’s heads. Being healthy and active, eating the right kinds of foods is what is important, not what the number on the tag says they wear. We should also make sure our Sons are aware that these women on television and in magazines are not “real”, they starve themselves or eat what they want and then throw it up just so they can keep their jobs. The men of tomorrow need to know this so they don’t expect their girlfriends or wives to be like the women that so many hold up on pedestals (I actually have a friend, whose husband left her for a while, because he thought she was too “fat” – she wears like, a size 10 and is quite tall!).

So, the next time you’re out shopping and the size you choose doesn’t fit the way you’d like it to, just remember that you’re bigger than a First grader and you don’t have to feel defeated if you need a bigger size. As long as you’re living a healthy lifestyle, the number on the tag is just that – a number that no one but you will see anyway.

Turning Lemons into Pink Lemonade!

Posted by Liz of Pink Lemonade

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Anonymous said...

You hit the nail on the head. My 6 year old is too obsessed with fashion, Hannah Montana and the likes, and has attitude to boot. I think she needs to stop watching the Disney Channel cause she prances around singing and dancing like a little sexpot.
She has always been a stick and my middle child is a little chunkier and I have had to get upset with my hubby for making remarks about our middle child's body frame. He has since stopped (thankfully)--our 2 year old cannot help her size and I don't want her growing up feeling poorly about herself because she isn't tall and skinny like her sister.

We are all different and beautiful in our own ways!

Frantic Home Cook said...

Hurrah for making the point that parents of boys can help by teaching their sons that these model women aren't accurate. It doesn't matter how much I drill body confidence into my daughter's head before puberty if the boy she is in love with expects her to be an artificially enhanced (surgically and Photoshopped) Playmate.