I have been reading about all the fuss over the new "plus sized mannequins". I am not sure what the fuss is over, since the "plus" sized are really "real" sized for women. The average woman wears between a size 10 and a 14- not a 0-2 like the average mannequin.
Our 15 year old, Anne, has some serious body image issues. She thinks she is fat. This is a kid who has taken dance for 12 years, runs 3-4 times a week, ballroom dances and roller skates. She is healthy and her body weight is perfectly fine for her height.
A while back she asked me if it was true that to get a "thigh gap" you had to lose your virginity. I know. I about choked on whatever it was I was drinking at the time. I asked her who told her that and she replied, "lots of kids think that". Great. I have no idea why the thigh gap is suddenly an "in look" but apparently among the high school set, it is.
It is up to us as parents to inform our girls about appropriate diet, exercise, and the fact that people come in all shapes and sizes- and that is more than okay. I have a certain body type- always have, whether I was a size 2 or a size 12. (and yes, I've been both and every number in between!)
I think it is sad that in today's society we are still holding models up as a standard for our girls. They are being programmed to think that this is sexy:
When the reality is that most men and women find this beautiful:
Something needs to change. As parents we need to start speaking out and talking to our girls about this issue. It needs to start at home, and it is never too early. I will be the first to admit that I am guilty of feeding into this idea of the perfect "2". I was thin, too thin and by my own doing.
Truth was, at a size 2- I was starving. Nerves and a high stress job helped to keep me thin, but it was not a healthy thin.
My normal size is more like a 10-12.
This is me today. A happy, healthier version of myself. I eat when I'm hungry and I don't count calories or bites of food. I realize that my own body image issues contributed to my daughter's issues, and for that I am deeply regretful. But like anything else in life I can only do better now by what I now know.
It's time we start changing perceptions- beginning with our own.