This is a fabulous read for parents, fit bloggers and ANYONE who wants more insight into society’s weight obsession. It’s a complicated issue & its NOT just the media to blame. There are lots of ways body negativity manifests in young girls and women and behaviors that encourage it.
Earlier this week, we talked a little but about the body shame game: where one woman shares something she hates about her body, then others chime in with what they hate etc. It’s a common game that women play, but while most women believe it to be harmless, studies show that over time we begin to believe the negative things we say about our bodies. We internalize them and equate it with our self-worth.
Time to stop. You cannot hate your body healthy: healthy is a place you get to with love. :)
I wanted to share an excerpt from this awesome book with you! Read it below and click on the links for more details.
The body bully within: Her own worst enemy.
It’s nearly 2 p.m. on a hot Wednesday in July, and my Sassy Sisterhood Girls Circle is winding down for the day. The girls hand in their “Real Me” diaries, which contain the answer to today’s question: “What do you see when you look in the mirror?”
From one to the next, I see the same responses:
- “I think I look fat.”
- “My belly is too big.”
- “I can’t stand my legs.”
Ashley, age fourteen, decides to read her entry to the group. She tells them that she looks in the mirror and squeezes the fat on her size-8 thighs. “You’re disgusting,” she admits to scowling at herself. She rolls her eyes and shakes her head when she recalls the triple chocolate sundae — made with frozen yogurt instead of the real thing — she ate the night before during a family outing. “I try to be good … and I keep telling myself that I have to have more willpower, or I’ll never be a size 0.”
The other girls nod, twist their mouths or raise their eyebrows in empathy, their own encouragement coming in the form of self-loathing:
- “I wish I had your thighs, Ashley! Mine are all squishy!”
- “Yeah, and you have the flattest stomach. I’m like a beached whale.”
- “You guys are crazy. I’m the biggest one here!”
- “I never eat ice cream. If I do, I feel huge. And I hate it.”
- “I’m getting depressed.”
As girls — and, later, women — we’re informally schooled to be critical of ourselves in order to fit in; we’re taught to bring ourselves down in order to cheer someone else up. That’s part of the way girls help each other reestablish their “goodness of fit” — their ability to interlock like puzzle pieces, to the best of their efforts, and claim their place within their immediate group or community. This often means scripting out a predictable exchange that denigrates the self while affirming the other — a pattern that is then picked up by the other girl as if it were a baton. As the girls say, “You can’t be, like, ‘I’m all that.’ People like you better if you complain about how you look.”
The problem, though, is that somewhere along the line, we started believing our own criticism.
While the common perception is that “body bullying” or “body bashing” — which I define as the teasing, ostracizing or threatening of a person because of how she looks, specifically with regard to weight — is committed by external sources, such as teachers, family members, friends or strangers, more often than not, it begins with an even harsher critic: the girl herself. The inner body bully tells a girl she’s not good enough the way she is. It tells her to diet. She listens. She skips meals and pats herself on the back. Or she berates herself when she fails to stick to the diet plan, making her vulnerable to eating disorders, or worse. Being overweight—or simply believing they are overweight — might predispose some teenage girls to suicide attempts, according to a 2009 study that appears in the “Journal of Adolescent Health,” which looked at more than fourteen thousand American high school students.
The girl in the mirror never measures up. What happened? Mirrors used to be so much fun. As young girls, my friends and I would slather on truckloads of my mother’s old makeup, put on her high heels and jewelry and, replete with hairbrush microphones, dance in front of the mirror to Madonna’s “Dress You Up.” Our reflections would smile back, urging us on and telling us how amazing we were. We’d laugh. We’d cheer. We felt good. Not just good.