It’s easy to merely place blame for our own perceptions of what is beautiful on media, society and industries such as acting and modelling that view attractive women as women who are thin and not overweight. We as women are taught to look up to and base our appearance on thin movie stars and models such as Jennifer Aniston, Heidi Klum and Jessica Alba. In very few places in Hollywood and the modelling industry are women with curves who look like your average every day gurl.
Nothing proves this point more than the blog When Your Mother Says She’s Fat by Kasey Edwards. The poignant and amazing story in this blog talks about a little gurl who never realized her mother was fat until her mother called herself fat:
“I was 7 when I discovered you were fat, ugly and horrible … one night, we were dressed up for a party, and you said to me, ‘Look at you – so thin, beautiful and lovely. And look at me – fat, ugly and horrible.’”
What is especially important about this moment in this gurl’s life is that it teaches her to spend her life believing that she is also fat. She blames her mother for this until she realizes that her mother, just like all women today are part of “a long and rich lineage of women who were taught to loathe themselves.” Her grandmother told her mother when she was a young gurl that she was fat and as a result, her mother came to believe that she was fat too. Now the little gurl grows up believing that she is fat too because her mother was taught this by her grandmother.
Kasey explains that women are taught to believe that their value and beauty is based on their weight. It doesn’t matter what else they do in their lives and if they are fat like the mother in the story, they don’t deserve food or sympathy. This is not the standard we should be setting for women or gurls. What’s more, the story in the blog leads the little gurl – now a woman – to some other important realizations that I think are vital to women everywhere.
Kasey writes: “Now I understand what it’s like to grow up in a society that tells women that their beauty matters most, and at the same time defines a standard of beauty that is perpetually out of our reach. I also know the pain of internalizing these messages. We have become our own jailors and we inflict our own punishments for failing to measure up. No one is [crueler] to us than we are to ourselves.”
Women themselves have become their own worst enemy when it comes to judging their bodies and weight. What’s worse is that we are still passing this message of self-loathing onto to gurls younger than us. Kasey suggests that this has got to stop and immediately! We as women need to be better role models by teaching gurls to love their bodies and that a healthy body is what they should strive for instead of a thin one. We need to let weight as an issue drop by loving and embracing the bodies we have.
It’s imperative that we teach our daughter’s that personality, intelligence and having a big heart is what matters most. We also need to remember that our little gurls are following our example and when they look up to us all they see is beautiful. Let’s stop expressing hatred towards our bodies in front of our daughters and instead show them how much we love them so they too will love their bodies.
For more on this topic, check out Kasey Edwards’s blog!