This morning I turned on my Facebook feed to find this post shared by one of my dearest friends:
“I am not sure why my post was removed from the moms group. But I feel all moms in fact ALL women need to take a stand on this. My 13 year old was grad shopping tonight and went into Julies in mapleview mall. The woman took one look at my beautiful daughter and said I don’t think we carry your size. Now for anyone who doesnt know her she is not a 0 but is certainly not huge. Not that that matters!! Then she said “perhaps you should think about going on a diet before grad!!!!” And we wonder why women have body issues. Can you imagine men saying that to each other.”
She had shared a post made by a friend of hers.
I can’t tell you how furious this makes me. And how furious it should make every single woman out there, and how every single mother of a daughter out there should feel completely outraged by this.
And no, I am not saying that you should all storm the store mentioned in the post. But we, as the consumer have the power to not tolerate this sort of behavior and culture any longer. By not buying magazines aimed at teenagers that tell them how to lose weight, or get beach ready. By not supporting stores that sell inappropriate clothing for young girls that sexualize them at a young age. By not talking about other peoples bodies in a negative way ever.
When I was seventeen, I went on a very drastic diet and exercise routine. I lost 80 pounds in about 3 or 4 months. Lets face it, I starved. I worked out and I starved and I counted every single calorie that even came near me. I wouldn’t eat anything that came into contact with oil, became a vegetarian and starved. And sure, everyone thought I looked just great. Because I did. I felt good, because I was no longer the ugly duckling. But I also felt like shit. Because I was fucking starving. All.The Time.
And I felt like shit because a guy I liked when I was fat suddenly asked me out, because then I was good enough for him. So the starving must have been worth it right? Except it was the lamest date I ever went on.
And then came the school fashion show. And despite the fact that I was still starving, the woman from one of the stores featured in the show was very vocal about her disapproval of me being one of the models. I was too short. Too fat. My boobs were too big. And when she finally found me something to wear in the show, it was some baggy, frumpy thing that was geared towards a middle aged woman, while all the other girls were dressed in cute young outfits that showed off their perfect bodies.
I can’t even tell you how much that experience affected me. Obviously, I remember it 20 years later. All I could think was that no matter how much I starved, and how much I tried, I would always be the fat girl. That woman in the store had my number, and it was 1-800-fat-girl.
To this day, I have to get up in the morning and make a conscious decision to be kind to myself. Two babies and many extra pounds into adulthood, I have to try and love myself and the body I have for the miracles it has performed. I have to try and remind myself that I am a PHAT girl. Not a fat girl.
And no, it wasn’t just the woman from the store that shaped my negative self talk and struggle with food. It was a million things.
So mothers. I am going to tell you what your daughter needs you to do in order for her to love herself and find her self worth in something else beside her pant size:
- Never, ever, EVER, make a reference to your weight in front of her. Don’t put that kind of shame on her radar.
- Talk about food being full of nutrition and vitamins. Not calories.
- Talk about eating well to be strong.
- Talk about exercise to be strong.
- Watch videos of Rhonda Rousey and Clara Hughes and Buffy The Fucking Vampire Slayer so that your daughter grows up wanting to kick ass instead of being a piece of ass.
- And if anyone dare talk to your daughter the way the woman in the store talked to that 13 year old girl, you put a stop to that shit right then and there. You get rude, and angry and in that bitch’s face. You speak to a manger and the owner and you raise hell.
Because NO GIRL EVER deserves to feel like her body is for someone else to judge. NO 13 YEAR OLD GIRL should ever know what it’s like to feel ugly or fat or ashamed of her body.
Girl Power. Fucking Seriously.