I recently took part in a Story of Mum chat on Twitter. If you haven’t heard of Story Of Mum, it is the brainchild of the lovely Pippa Best who, along with mum Penny, wanted to create “a community of supportive mamas doing creative stuff to celebrate the ups and downs of motherhood.” During the chat Pippa asked us all a few questions to get us thinking about our bodies and we shared our thoughts and feeling towards ourselves and how we wish our children to feel about theirs. There was one question in particular that seemed to strike a chord in many of us, that question was How do you want your children to feel about their bodies?
Here are some the responses:
If you’re anything like me you’ll tell your children they are beautiful several times a day. I want to encourage them to be confident and self-assured, of course trying to manage the over confidence that can come alongside that. But what has occurred to me is, do they see me telling myself that I am beautiful?
It’s ok hearing from someone else you are attractive and of course, it’s always nice to hear. But maybe only the really confident can say ‘I am beautiful’. Think about it – have you ever stood in front of the mirror and said it to yourself? It would be weird, right? But surely to demonstrate body confidence to our children, we have to demonstrate it ourselves.
There is so much pressure in the media telling our children how they should be, what they should say, how they should act and, primarily, how they should look. I hear shocking stories as younger and younger children are victims of body dysmorphia, eating problems and anxiety over their weight.
Campaigns like the recent Dove Real Beauty Campaign and The Body Shop’s doll Ruby, who challenged beauty stereotypes, are fantastic, but there needs to be more. I feel the media have a responsibility to teach self-esteem to all our children, no matter what they look like.
|Dove’s Real Beauty|
|The Body shop’s Ruby|
Personally I feel there needs to be a message sent to our media that these images are not acceptable anymore. This archaic view that size ten and above are seen as fat and that our female lumps and bumps are not normal. Our daughters are being pressured to aim for something that is unachievable and learning to judge their happiness on their body image. As mothers we need to make a stand that we will no longer let our children be subjected to such scrutiny.
So this is my plea to you. Tell your children YOU are beautiful and teach them to have body confidence by demonstrating your own. Show them there is so much more to beauty than the perfect size six figure and teach them that happiness comes from within. Let’s stop this mindless brain-washing of our children now.
This is me, and I am beautiful.