“Are you Ready for bikini season?”
“Celebrity secrets to a hot body.”
“Get skinny in just one week.”
These are just a few of the sayings women hear on television, in magazines, and on social media. What makes these statements even more heart breaking is hearing them from the mouths of young girls. In this thought provoking commercial from Multi-Grain Cheerios, we are slapped in the face with the reality of how intense the pressure is for girls to look a certain way.
I first saw this commercial while watching television with my husband. He looked at me and said, “That commercial breaks my heart. I don’t want Avrey to ever feel that way.”
My first thought…I wish that for her too. But, sadly, she likely will.
I enjoy social media, and living in the digital age. But, I also fear what this means for my daughter. When I was young, we weren’t bombarded with images at every turn. Now, girls have images burned into their mind with every swipe, click, and scroll. Soon after seeing this commercial, I read an article about the glorification of being skinny on the social media site, Instagram. Girls are partaking in challenges such as the #collarbone challenge, where they show off how many coins they are able to balance on their collarbone. A #bikini bridge celebrates how much their hipbones protrude, and the #thigh gap signifies that you are definitely skinny if your thighs do not touch.
This if real. This is what girls are seeing.
This. Is. Terrifying.
It is terrifying to me as a woman. It is terrifying to me as a mom. Pressure to look a certain way has always been present. But with the vast amount of images available at the touch of a fingertip, the pressure has increased ten fold.
So, what do we do?
I am not exactly sure.
But, I do know this. I will do my best to do the following to help my daughter know her self worth is not measured by a collarbone, protruding hips, and a thigh gap.
I will embrace my own body. This is a tough one. No matter what age, I still feel pressure to look a certain way. I will love myself, even on the days I don’t. I won’t criticize my body, and I will show her that I am confident and strong.
I will celebrate being healthy. We live an active life. We love spending time outdoors. We eat well. But, we also love chips…and chocolate…and popcorn. I will show her that being healthy is most important. I will teach her that being active and eating well is good for fueling her body. But, when we want a cookie, then by golly, we will have that cookie!
I will celebrate her mind. We all like to be told we are beautiful, and of course I will continue to tell her this. But, I will always remember to instill in her the importance of intelligence. I will celebrate the attributes that make her the wonderful person she is…her carefree nature, her empathy, her sense of humor, her brilliance, and her huge and loving heart.
I will talk to her. I have always promised myself that I will do my best to have an open dialogue about anything and everything. I will talk to my daughter about her health, her body, and her feelings. I will do my best to hear her words, and listen with my whole being.
I will love her. At the end of the day this is what we all strive for. To love and to be loved. She will always know she is loved by her mom and dad. As naïve as it may sound, I hope this will be enough. I hope that when she feels the pressure, she will feel our love, and she will know she is good enough. No matter what her shape, or size.
So, as the Cheerios ad states, lets stop Dietainment.
Let’s teach our daughters that there is so much more to life than the shape of their bodies.
Lets teach our daughters that in no way is their worth measured by the amount of coins they can hold on their shoulders.