Body Image: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
One thing I did not realize as a parent is how soon children become self-aware about how they look in comparison to their friends. I spent the better half of last year trying to explain to my daughter that her hair can’t just be worn down like her friends nor can it flop around in the wind in one big pony tail, like her other friends. One little boy even thought the reason for my daughter’s darker skin complexion was because she spent too much time at the beach. Yes, really!
I grew up overseas and in predominately white neighborhoods and I still remember the questions people would ask about my own hair. But hearing the frustration in my daughter’s voice really affected me. She wanted her hair long and straight and it’s hard to get her to understand her hair is just different.
In kindergarten she really discovered that she wasn’t like all her friends, her skin was darker and her hair had a little more texture. We had to constantly remind her that she’s just as beautiful as the girl next door.
But skin and hair issues won’t be the only things we have to battle as she grows up. She and so many other girls will have to combat body image issues. As parents we have an uphill battle, explaining the difference between what’s real, what’s healthy and what’s smart. With so many ultra skinny models on the covers of magazines and so many stars’ waist lines shrinking, are we setting up our girls for disappointment and failure?
If our girls are looking at the photos of models and actors as inspiration and a true measure of beauty, then we are indeed setting them up for a huge fail. Wouldn’t it make sense to stop editing pictures to the point of perfection and really embrace what true beauty is?
Did you know about one of every 250 girls will suffer from some form of anorexia and out of those girls 10-25% will die from the disorder. Did you know that 80% of women and 92% of girls are dissatisfied with their bodies? Heck, I’m one of them.
Why are so many women and girls so frustrated with their body image? The answer is right in front of our eyes as we stand in line at the grocery store or sit in front of the television.
In America why can’t we follow Spain’s lead and start encouraging good body image by barring models and actors with a body mass index of lower than 18 (the World Health Organization defines a BMI below 18.5 as “underweight”) from the cat walks, magazine covers and television screens.
As a society we should stop pressuring actresses to lose all the baby weight in a mere three months just so we can plaster their new body images all over magazines and tabloids. What kind of example are we setting for young girls?
Don't miss the unscripted series "Starving Secrets With Tracey Gold" Friday nights at 11pm/10c.