This is a short one—more of a vent than anything else. Let me say for the record that I do not care about Kim Kardashian’s weight gain (See the In Touch article entitled something like: I’ll Never be Sexy again; Even my Armpits are Fat!), I don’t care which celeb’s beach butt cellulite it is under the cutesy “Guess Who?” label.
I am not interested in learning who the tabloids deem “scary skinny” or who’s had a recent plastic surgery debacle. And since I don’t care—not even when these magazines are under my nose at the A&P check out—I don’t read them. I scroll on my Blackberry if I have a long time to wait or else, check out the five hundred dollar nail clippers Oprah says I must have. Easy for me. But guess who is reading the tabloids? Who is turning to page thirty to match the dimpled derrieres on the cover page to the celebs sporting them? Who’s reading Kim K.’s lament about her pits? Getting the scoop on the new diet Kendra is swearing by?
My daughter, that’s who. My daughter and everyone else’s daughter who happens to be shopping with us. Despite our best efforts at raising them to think highly of themselves and their bodies—the way we avoid putting ourselves down, the way we choose accepting language if we must speak of different body types—our girls are bombarded with counterproductive, body-loathing messages all day long. Here are the questions I get, standing in line at the supermarket:
Mom, what’s cellulite?
Mom, is it bad to gain weight when you’re pregnant?
Mom what’s a boob job?
I answer everything simply and honestly:
Cellulite: the normal texture of your leg flesh when you get a little older.
Weight gain while pregnant = good thing. It’s how your baby gets big and healthy enough to grow and live outside of you one day.
A Boob job is when people want their breasts to be bigger or smaller and they get an operation. It hurts way, way more than a flu shot. ’Nuff said.
But my daughter is twelve, and these days, unlike the happy days of elementary school where my answers were the only ones she sought, I know she’s getting information elsewhere, from friends, from friends’ big sisters and cousins, from the internet, and even from teachers who may share too much personal information in order to be cool and liked by students. What I say—especially when I tell her that she is beautiful—is taken under advisement and often cast aside. I can still give her guidance, but my daughter is at an age where she’ll weigh it all and come to her own conclusions.
I hope, I pray, that her body image and self-concept come out on top.