How we talk about the “ideal body” is actually pretty ugly
How often do you look in the mirror and say, “Damn, I look good today?” Or, how often do you order dessert, without feeling like total utter shit about the calories? If you’re like me, not often. Many of us think and talk about our bodies like they’re a huge disappointment, and a new powerful video shows why we should stop, especially around our daughters.
The magazine, Real Simple, asked young girls to talk about some of the things they hear women say. Let’s just say, it’s not pretty.
“My diet starts tomorrow,” says one girl.
“I could never wear a dress without Spanx,” says another.
“I’m so bad. I ate a cupcake today,” says another.
Every single day daughters are hit with disgusting lies about what it means to have the perfect body on billboards, on TV, magazines, and video games. We know how harmful that is and it’s easy to blame the media. But, what about turning the mirror inward, on ourselves? Several recent studies have shown if mothers dislike their own bodies, their daughters are likely to imitate these behaviors and follow similar patterns with negative body image. Basically, if we’re dissatisfied with our bodies, they will likely be too. Additionally, it was found that daughters who are free from body dissatisfaction are more happy with their lives overall. That means the implications of negative body image go way beyond just the body – it impacts a girl’s whole life.
So, how do we stop? One way, is to stop talking and commenting about bodies period. We shouldn’t be negatively or positively commenting about the bodies of celebrities, friends, or family members. Doing so builds an idealized body image in your kid’s head. We shouldn’t be commenting on whether or not our kids have lost or gained weight. Talking about bodies in the context of well-being and functions is fine, but beyond that – not so healthy.
The other way to stop perpetuating body dissatisfaction, is to transform our hateful language about our bodies, into loving language. We literally change the conversation. The young girls in the video show us how to do that with messages for women.
“You’re beautiful, even if you don’t think that you’re beautiful,” says one.
“They’re beautiful inside and out, it doesn’t matter what you look like,” says another.
“There’s no such thing as ugly or fat or anything like that. Everybody’s beautiful,” says another.
Just like being kind to others, being kind to ourselves involves kind language. It’s imperative we change the way we talk about our bodies – for our well-being, and for our daughters.