Friday, 4 January 2013

Dear Meg: Body Image

I know you are too young to understand this now but I wanted to write this whilst the feelings were still fresh.  You see, mummy recently saw a picture being shared around Facebook which upset her quite a lot.  It was a picture which stated that skinny women were unnatural and that men only like big women.

Now, my secret idealistic dream is that by the time you reach school the world will have given up on its categorisation of female body types.  That we will be inclusive and accepting of everyone, no matter how they look.  That you won't have to experience the taunts and teasings that formed a daily part of my teenage existence simply because of the shape of my body. 

I know lots of women who wish they were thinner.  I know lots of women who wish they had more curves.  I wish I knew a world where we weren't smacked in the face every day by the media telling us how we should look and how we should dress.  I wish I didn't pick up magazines on a regular basis and read articles like "I'm letting my 16 year old daughter have a boob job" because I WISH it didn't matter what we all looked like.  I can't tell you how much I want that world for you.

If you end up looking the way I do Meg then I promise to tell you every day how beautiful you are.  I promise to counteract every insult that might pass your ears with 100 of my own positive uplifting comments.  I promise that you won't have to sit up at night crying alone because you've been pinned against the wall so that the boys in class could check whether you were a boy, or called "ironing board chest" and a hundred other pointless, soul destroying insults and I promise to be the voice shouting loudly against mothers in the supermarket who feel it's acceptable to say to their daughters "that's what will happen to you if you don't eat, look how ugly she is."

There is so much more to life than the way we look.  I won't pretend that my experiences haven't left me insecure.  I have been so lucky to find your daddy.  Someone who loves me and who reminds me on a daily basis how beautiful I am to him.  Unfortunately I do still have moments when I squeeze my eyes tight shut and wish that I could look a different way, be a different way.  In my weaker moments I have even taken to the internet and researched ways to change my body shape but then I remember that the way I look doesn't determine the person I am.

I can't protect you from hearing the words of foolish people.  I can't promise that the world will have changed one iota when it comes to the prejudices and stereotypes of body image, but I can tell you that it doesn't matter.  I want you to grow up and learn not to focus on physical beauty but on what you can offer the world as a whole person.  Because I know you have the potential to be a world changer.

There are some amazing women who have done outstanding things throughout history.  I can't say as to whether they ever had days when they looked in the mirror and thought "what's the point?" but I do know that they didn't let anything deter them from showing the world who they were.  Research these women Meg, learn about them and emulate them.  Don't be held back by the voices of those few blinkered individuals who find it amusing to put you down.  I wish I hadn't taken so many of the comments to heart. 

Love you always, my beautiful precious girl.

Mummy xx



19 comments:

  1. Isn't it weird. I look at you and think "oh I wish I looked like that".

    Body image is a ridiculous thing. We are all beautiful, because of our essence, soul and spirit, the outside should not matter.

    Beautiful post and a great letter for your daughter to read as she grows.

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  2. Beautiful and powerful, wonderfully written.
    I have 2 teenage daughters, the 3 of us all have different body shapes and have done my best to tell them we are all lovely as we are.
    With a mum like you, your daughter will grow up to be a very rounded happy person,
    Xx

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  3. Its so hard and I feel the same fears for my lil girl. It's a sad thing that our society is so keen to point out our faults instead of celebrating our blessings. I guess we just have to Try our hardest to tell them ourselves.

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    1. Very true, and so important to be the positive voices they hear.

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  4. beautiful post, it is hard for boys to, my other half struggles with his weight he is slim and wishes he wasn't, and grew up with taunts and bullies around. Like you say we can't guarentee things will change when our children meet the same small minded people, but we can ensure those near us know that to us it doens't matter what they look like beauty is more than skin deep.

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    1. Thank you. Sorry to know your OH has struggled too, it's such a ridiculous world where everyone is so different but so many of us come under criticism for it.

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  5. How horrible for you to have to suffer like that, and great that you are now able to realize that it is the result of narrow-minded ignorance. My younger two suffered from verbal abuse at school, not through body image, they are both boys, but, horror of horrors, the have GINGER hair, which obviously makes them complete weirdos! Sadly I wasn't even aware of this at the time, but they are now well rounded and broadminded adults.
    I hope your daughter grows up to feel as beautiful as you know she is, no matter what shape or size.
    Joy x x

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    1. How sad for your boys. So glad that they have grown up without it affecting them. Thank you for your comment xx

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  6. What a brilliant post. Good for you for sharing! It's shocking the hurtful things people will say. You and your daughter both look beautiful.

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  7. you must have raised great kids! :) thanks for the follow a while back on twitter. so glad i finally connected to your blog! feel free to check out mine. i'll be looking at yours! :)

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  8. What a lovely letter to write for her, you are clearly a very special Mummy!

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  9. This has brought a lump to my throat. I'd love to see that world you tell your daughter about and you know what? I think you might just create that for her in one way or another. Beautiful post.
    xxx

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    1. Thank you Susanne. I will try my very hardest! I don't think any child should have to suffer torments because of who they are x

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  10. Beautiful letter Jess!
    It doesn't seem to matter what you look like someone will find holes to pick. I have three redheads and everything you said if anyone tries to tell them they're not beautiful.

    xx

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    1. Thank you :) I wish the world celebrated the differences in all of us rather than putting people down because of 'stereotypes'

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