I love girls.
Calm down. You know what I mean. I am not suddenly going Lindsay Lohan on you in a sad attempt to fuel gossip and garner attention. I do love girls though. I grew up with four sisters. I now have two daughters. I want more. We all know that I want more.
But there is one thing that scares me about having girls. The body thing. It is my theory (hardly revolutionary) that every single female on this planet has body issues and issues with food. Sure, there is a continuum. A vast one with many shades. There are people who unfortunately suffer from deadly eating disorders on the one end and lucky souls who say they don't think about food or fret about body. But (a) I don't believe anyone who says she doesn't think about these things; (b) the vast majority of us fall somewhere in between the two extremes and spend some time thinking and talking and worrying about our bodies, what they look like, and what we want them to look like.
Fine. So what?
The so what is that now I have two little girls to raise and I worry that everything I do and don't do and say and don't say is shaping them. And then if I really think about it, I realize that there are so many influences beyond neurotic little me that will ultimately inform how they view themselves and their own bodies. Their toys. Their friends. Their teachers. The media. Men. The list is endless. Cheerio.
As a rookie blogger, I spend a fair bit of time cruising around the Internet and in the past few days, I have stumbled upon several posts that confirm that I am right to be thinking (and, yes, worrying) about such things. First, I read a heart-breaking post written by Lena Lotsey of Cheeky Lotus about how her seven-year-old daughter said she wanted to die because of her body flaws. Second, I read an interesting post by Linda of All & Sundry about whether it is okay to talk (and blog!) about fitness and weight loss while still supporting the cause against chronic body image dissatisfaction. Third, I read my friend Lindsey of A Design So Vast's post about the hoopla over a nude photo in Glamour magazine of a gorgeous, but normal-sized, model. Finally, I read a post by Lindsay Ferrier of Suburban Turmoil about Barbies (and more). Yes, Barbies! Ferrier asks that age-old question about whether dolls should be rendered more realistic so as not to send the wrong message to our little girls.
But what is the right message? How are we supposed to know what message to send to our babies if we don't know what message to send each other? To send ourselves? I don't know.
So much to think about. But I for one am going to think about it. Because I want to do whatever I can to nurture happy and healthy little girls who are not obsessed with bodily perfection. As impossible as this might ultimately be.
Do you agree that all women have some issue with body and food? (I am well aware that many, if all, men do too - hey, there are now male Spanx and they are selling - but I am talking about women and girls here.) How much control do we have as parents and role models over the attitudes our little girls adopt?