I was watching Dr. Phil this morning. The show featured an Anorexic lady whose family were trying to get her help.
To show her what could happen, if she continued down the path she was on. The show had on the mother of another anorexic girl who had taken a seizure and ended up severely brain damaged! Purely because of the effects this dreadful illness had on her body.
It was terrible to see what that mother now had to go through on a daily basis because of it, and, to see a promising young life ruined.
It got me thinking.
From the minute Little Miss OMG was born all the comments about her relate to looks.
“Oh she’s beautiful” “Look at her gorgeous red hair” “She is going to break hearts”
I myself was guilty of this too. I would often pick her up and say “Who’s Daddy’s pretty girl?” Dress her in a new outfit and immediately comment “Look at you in your pretty clothes”
I never did this with her brother. It was always “Who’s Daddy’s big boy” “How’s my little man?” “You’re a superstar” now its just “My little Buddy”
Nothing related to looks at all.
In this modern world women and impressionable young girls have enough to contend with without thinking success is based on looks. Yet there I was Little Miss OMG was not even 6 months old yet and most of the positive comments related to looks.
Even Disney have a lot to answer to in relation to this. Snow White is wanted dead by the evil queen because she is prettier than her. Cinderella is kept as a slave by her “ugly” stepsisters, I’m pretty certain this is because she is prettier than them.
TV shows are the same, the bigger girls are always funny, the best friend, the shoulder to cry on, the nerd. Never the lead, the object of desire.
I want Little Miss OMG to be happy just the way she is. Not worried because she doesn’t look like an airbrushed model in a magazine. Constantly weighing herself, wondering will boys want to go out with her because she doesn’t think she is pretty enough.
So, I don’t be call her “My pretty girl” anymore! She gets compliments from me, just not ones based on looks.
What can we do as parents to fight against advertising, marketing and Hollywood? Who tell us and our daughters that to be happy and successful they must be pretty!
We are still fighting against the three “M’s” (Movies, Magazines and MTV) These are still the biggest influence on girls body image.
With it being January our TV’s are awash with advertisements on weight loss, slimming plans and diets. Many women are making resolutions to lose weight, planning for summer holidays and aspiring to that impossible (for most) perfect bikini body.
Thankfully I’ve a few years before I have to worry a great deal about these messages, but as Little Miss OMG is paying a lot more attention to the world around her. I’m sure she will be taking these messages in soon enough, even if she isn’t aware of them!
photo credit: Charlotte Astrid Body Image. The subjective concept of one’s physical appearance based on self-observation and the reactions of others. via photopin (license)