4.02.2013

Real sized...

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.  




18 comments:

  1. Wow, it amazes me that some girls think things like that. Both you and your daughter look great. Beauty isn't about the shape of your body but your attitude. What most attracts me to a woman is how they act and carry themselves. And that translates into everything else, from the style of clothing they wear to all of those other things that make a person interesting. At the end of the day, physical beauty will fade. But a person that is comfortable in their own skin and confident about who they are give off a radiance that transcends age and looks. I think you've acheived that and hopefully you can convince your daughter of the same.

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    1. Thank you, Vince. I agree with you. It really is about who you are on the inside and the confidence and beauty that radiates outward from that!

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  2. What a great post and you are a beautiful lady. I am a 12-14 and always have been except when I took diet pills that I shouldn't have and only went to an 8. I just need to get out and move more and now that it is warm I will be. I hate that girls are brainwashed into thinking skeletal bodies is the norm. If they would look way back to the art work in places like the Sistine Chapel the ladies were quite curvy.

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    1. Exactly! We need more Sistine chapel girls on the covers of magazines :) I think we have all done the diet pill/starvation thing. This was hard for me to admit and post pictures of myself, but if I am going to commit to changing perceptions it has to begin with my own.

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  3. I hadn't heard about the "real sized" mannequins, but it's about time!! I'm with you, we all need to concentrate on being the best healthy weight and not about "thin". Having two grown daughters myself we've been thru this over and over, and you're right, we as moms play a big role, another reason why we as adult women need to be secure in ourselves. Thanks for sharing a great post. I hope you'll link up to Be Inspired this week, I'd love to share this as a feature.

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  4. I can do without the size 2, not a fan of bones and ribs.

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  5. we are so on the same page and I am sooo glad you posted about this! Good for you! Those skinny models look sick, it's gross. And, you're daughter is NOT fat! Tell her I said so! :)

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    1. Melaine- I know, it is sad what we are holding up as a standard of beauty instead of focusing on healthy! I will tell her you said that ;)

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  6. I'm 43 and have struggled all my life with body image issues. I have struggled with food and eating disorders for over half of my life and it wasn't until this year that something clicked. I am finally at peace with myself. I can finally look in the mirror and be happy.
    What a great post and what an awesome mom you are for writing about this. Your daughter is beautiful and should be proud of how active and healthy she is.
    Not only do we need to teach girls about body image but boys need to know that what society holds as a standard is not a reality. Someone who is confident in themselves is more attractive then someone who is always trying to make themselves look like those sickly looking models. It has taken me a long time to realize this but I think I finally got it!

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    1. Michelle- Thank you so much for sharing that. You are absolutely right about it not only being about educating the girls, but the boys need a lesson in standards as well! We had that discussion with our oldest son starting when he was 14. I think it had a huge impact on how he views women as well as expectations in a relationship.
      Being in our 40's I think we do get the benefit of being content and accepting our bodies for how it is instead of focusing on what it is not! :)

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  7. Amen! My own teenage daughter is in the same mindset as your daughter..who is in no way fat (nor is my daughter.) I agree we need to preach the beauty of all sizes, and I also agree with Michele above that the sons need to hear the same thing. Unfortunately, it is society with the louder voice, and the only way to stop that is to stop buying the things that promote it. How long did it take us to go from the beauty of Marilyn Monroe's build to what we are seeing today I wonder. At least history and fashion do tend to repeat themselves.

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    1. I always joke that I have the body of a 1940's pin up girl, but in the Twiggy decade!

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  8. Thanks so much for sharing your heart...its definitely something we as women have to speak out more about and AFFIRM each other in the beauty God gave us...JUST by being women!!! You mentioned regretting sharing your body image with your daughter, but hopefully it encourages you that she is TALKING to you! That she is open enough with you to mention the "thigh gap" comment is remarkable...so kudos for you for being open and honest with her enough for her to feel confortable and safe sharing with you!

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  9. I wish I was fat like your daughter (like she's not Fat) I'd be in hog heaven and so would the family and doctor. You and your daughter are beautiful.

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    1. Carla- Thank you, we tell her that, but you know how teens are!

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Thanks so much for popping in. I appreciate all of your lovely comments...Tricia