A Beef with Women...

10.10.2012

It’s a form of violence in the way that we look at women and how we expect them to look and be, for… what’s sake? Not health, not survival, not enjoyment of life, but just so that you can look ‘pretty’. I’m constantly telling girls all the time, “everything’s airbrushed, everything’s retouched, to the point of just that it’s never even asked, and none of us look like that.” --Rosario Dawson

I have a little bone to pick. Yesterday- and this wasn't the first time this has happened- a woman was telling me how pretty Marlo is. Thank you, I said. It's always nice to hear because of course I think she's beautiful but she's mine and I'm biased and obsessed with her. Why couldn't she just stop there? She couldn't. She then began to comment on how thin she is and how lucky she'll be if she stays that way through adulthood.

I immediately wanted to punch her in the face. Instead, I did the ladylike think and smiled politely and went on our way. I hate doing the ladylike thing. 

I really, really wanted to punch her. Or just shake her. Not for calling my baby skinny- she isn't by the way, she's just in the 90th percentile for height and has legs for days- but, rather, for making such an insensitive comment about women and young girls in general, for being one of those women who think that there is only one type of beautiful, and for already starting the dialogue that I fear so much Marlo having to deal with. 

This is probably my biggest parental anxiety: how do I protect her from the noise? How do I teach her that there are a million different types of beautiful? How do I convince her that she should only worry about living and enjoying the life and body she was given instead of worrying about her weight and what other people think about her? How do I let her know that she's beautiful without constantly telling her so? How do I tell her to eat the damn cupcake?

A lot of people want to blame men and the media for women's endless strive for an unrealistic and unattainable ideal of perfection. It isn't all their fault. It's ours. Women. Our own kind. It's shameful that we do this to each other and ourselves and our daughters and friends. We compare, we compromise, we think that we'll be our best self if we were only five pounds lighter. We damage ourselves by thinking like that. And we damage our daughters and the next generation. 

I can't do that to my girl. I will not do that to her.

So there are new rules in my house. No fat talk, no condescending or self-deprecating jabs at myself or my body. I will not comment on another woman's weight and appearance. No "gotta run a little more tomorrow because I ate the damn cupcake" talk. I will enjoy eating the damn cupcake. I will exercise because it feels good, not to burn calories. I grew and birthed a human after all, my body deserves a little more credit than I've typically given it. 

Lead by example....

And by punching random women in the face. That should work, right?


4 comments:

Kaitlin said...

Well said!! Couldn't agree more. Every girl should appreciate their body for all it can do not just how much it weighs or how thin it appears etc.

Rosie said...

Oh, so powerfully said, Christine. Bravo, mama! That you are being so deliberate about them is such a gift to your girl.

katie starnes said...

Thank you, Christie. I was trying in clothes today and was unhappy with what I saw. Things like, "If I hadn't ate all that damn money bread" and "If I would only work out every once and a while" we're running through my head. So thank you for reminding me that beauty is more than just one size or color. Because you have already identified this issue, she is more likely to grow up strong, beautiful and confident. Keep up the good work and you will be Mama of the year.

katie starnes said...

Thank you, Christie. I was trying in clothes today and was unhappy with what I saw. Things like, "If I hadn't ate all that damn money bread" and "If I would only work out every once and a while" we're running through my head. So thank you for reminding me that beauty is more than just one size or color. Because you have already identified this issue, she is more likely to grow up strong, beautiful and confident. Keep up the good work and you will be Mama of the year.

 

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