“As a child, I never heard one woman say to me, “I love my body”. Not my mother, my elder sister, my best friend. No one woman has ever said, “I am so proud of my body.” So I make sure to say it to Mia [her daughter], because a positive physical outlook has to start at an early age.”
After I read this quote for the first time, it stayed in the back of my mind… and thinking about it made me realize that growing up I had never heard a woman say to me that she loved her body either — something was always not toned enough, too big, could be fuller, enhanced, you name it. Why is this? Why do women hate their bodies? More importantly, why are we inadvertently raising young girls to feel inadequate as well?
It’s obvious that the media has a huge influence on perceptions of body image and unhealthy ideals that are a result of the constant bombardment of airbrushed, flawless models. But does it really have an impact that carries beyond personal dissatisfaction into how we raise our children?
According to the National Eating Disorders Association, “42 percent of first- to third-grade girls want to lose weight, and 81 percent of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat.”
It is heartbreaking that almost half of third graders want to lose weight, and an overwhelming amount are afraid of being fat when they should be concerned about learning and playing with friends. And collectively, we are raising young girls to feel and think that way — the fashion industry, the beauty industry, media, fat-shamers, mom’s and sisters who hate their bodies, and men who ridicule them.
While there are great strides being made towards body positive advertising, media portrayals, monitoring pro-anorexic and pro-bulimic posts and pointing out what isn’t right as a society… Winslet really may be on to something. The place for a real change to start is at home, with mothers telling daughters what they love about themselves and encouraging them to embrace things that may not be seen as ideal — but instead unique and beautiful.