When you do this:
(The caption under this is "How to lose unwanted belly fat")
You are perpetuating this:
Just as surely as if we'd done this:
I love Pinterest, I do. As evidenced by the sheer number of pins I have. And I'm not saying that there aren't fabulous weight loss and fitness tips on there. Inspirational pictures, encouraging and motivating. But when I saw that one last night, with the "How to lose unwanted body fat" under it...I think I saw red. I just wanted to call Bullsh!t.
When Joel and I looked at that woman, minus the huge red circle around her stomach, neither of us would have thought she had excess fat. In fact, I'd be willing to bet she's slightly underweight, or has a very low BMI.
And I of all people know that she's far healthier than I. I am
And I don't have daughters. But I remember being one. I remember 'light-hearted', throw-away lines when I was 12, that made me believe I was enormous. I remember what it did to me, how crushed I was. How humiliated I was at not having realised I was so fat. So hideous. Told that I'd put on a couple of kilos in our cross-country move (moving from my haven to the middle of the dessert and 40degrees celcius...sapping my energy and removing my love of running for years)...but told in a way that led me to believe that it was far worse than it was. I look back and I'm stunned. At 13 I was a size 8-10. I had a tiny waist, big boobs and curvy hips/backside. But "Thunder thighs" and "Blubber Butt" thrown carelessly my way by people who loved me (my mother and an uncle) left me crushed. Covering my whole body, not willing to be seen with any flesh showing. I was afraid to exercise in public (so therefore, given where we were..did not exercise at all) and hid my hurt in food. It's an old story, one tens of thousands of women could tell. We look back and cry at how perfect we were...how beautiful and slim we really were. And how enormous we were made to feel.
I look back at that extra couple of kilos of puppy fat on my pubescent frame and I'm angry. Angry that anyone let me believe it was something to be ashamed of. That they did not recognise the damage they'd done, damage that lasts still today, damage that helped me add 50+ more kgs.
But I'm angrier, and sadder still that we keep on doing it. That now, girls (and women) are bombarded by this even more than I was. At 13, I didn't have the internet. I had limited television so I was mostly relying on other women, other teenagers and women's magazines. But now? Now we're drowning in it. The digital age, as wonderful as it can be, can do so much damage. Internet, reality television, facebook, tumblr, magazines, celebrity websites, pro-anorexia websites, all of it...aimed at telling us what we ought to look like. When the 'ideal' isn't even a healthy, realistic weight for anyone. If we, as grown women are falling for it, what hope for our children?
When does the cycle ever end?
I wish we could teach this instead: (I got this from my wonderful friend Averil).