This wonderful editorial on Jezebel beautifully illustrates how the seeds of a negative body image are planted in the minds of young girls from an early age. The prevalence of extreme fad diets is well documented on websites directed at young and adult women, but the concept of a diet for young girls is relatively foreign. Apparently, diets have now been extended to children as young as seven. Young bodies still in the process of development are called fat and forced into change to accommodate the aesthetic sensibilities of our society.
The points discussed in this article promote the healthy mentality that seems to be lacking in most mainstream publications and websites. The author says about her daughter:
“Seriously, her body is incredible. Her heart pumps blood. Her lungs oxygenate that blood. Her fingernails and toenails grow and her hair is thick and the synapses in her brain are doing these unbelievable miracles 24 hours a day that help her develop language and reasoning skills and spacial recognition and so much more. She can feel pain and build muscle and grow. Her tiny little bones are strong enough to support her body, and she can twist and curl and bounce and hop. All of our bodies are these amazing things, even when they don’t work perfectly, and I want her to be excited about the fact that she has a body that transports her from place to place so that she can interact with the world and with people in a vivid and intense way. That’s what our bodies are for–to take us into and help us experience the world–and that’s why we should celebrate them. They also happen to be really beautiful. If I can help instill into her the kind of love and respect for her body that I have for mine, she’ll have a better chance of having a healthy attitude toward that body, no matter what she weighs.”
This is what we need to be saying to our daughters, mothers, friends, and neighbors.