Mom’s post about body image goes viral
Moms, have you ever stopped to think about the message you send to your kids — inadvertently– by the way you talk about yourself? A study conducted by Dove a few years ago proved 72% of daughters learn about beauty from their mothers. And this is a point that one viral Facebook post is making very well this week; the way we judge ourselves in front of our daughters matters.
Brittney Johnson was with her young daughter in a Target dressing room this week, when she realized, first hand, that our daughters absorb the messages we send — whether those messages are to them, or to ourselves.
Johnson and her daughter were walking through the mall and eventually ended up at Target, to try on swimsuits. “I put on a suit, and then a second one, and a third one. I snapped pictures of them to send to my girlfriends and say “yes or no?!” because girls are wired weird and that’s just what we do,” she writes in her now-viral Facebook post. “And then I snapped this one. See that sweet baby girl in the corner… I stopped for a second to see what she would say and when she turned to the mirror, she said ‘Wow I just love cheetah print! I think I look beautiful! Do you think I look beautiful too?!’..when it hit me that she only says what she hears. What she sees.”
Johnson realized in that moment that her daughter was simply mimicking what she hears. If she’d been hearing, “I look fat” or “I hate my body” — she may have just copied those sentiments, too. Our children are little sponges, picking up everything around them.
“I tell her that she is beautiful every single day,” Johnson explains. “And when we are in a dressing room, with swimsuits of all God forsaken things, there is a split moment when I have the power to say ‘wow I have really gotten fat this year’ OR ‘wow I love this coral color on me!’ And those are the words burned into my daughter’s brain.”
This is a lesson for all of us who struggle with body image. The messages we send ourselves, we send our daughters, too. And if you wouldn’t dare say something damaging to your daughter, why say that to yourself, anyway? If only we were as kind to ourselves as we are to our daughters, and took as much care not to diminish our worth.
“I am extremely surprised by the response that I’ve gotten, and so humbled,” Johnson tells Scary Mommy. “It has been overwhelming and exciting at once to know that I’ve connected with so many mothers, so many women all over. People are so wonderful and positive and my heart is full with the responses that I’ve gotten.” Of her only child, Payton, Johnson says, “She doubles as my partner in crime and best friend, too. It’s just me and her and we make a pretty good team!”
“When it comes to body image, be an example,” Johnson concludes her post. “I am not a size zero. I never will be. I have big thighs and a huge rump and for some reason the middle of my body gets more tan than the rest? But this body made a whole other body. I am strong. I am able. And I am happy. I don’t have to be beautiful like you, because I am beautiful like me…
“I want her to look at herself every single day and say ‘Oh wow! I think I look beautiful!’ because EVERY girl deserves to feel that.”