The family, not Hollywood, is responsible for fostering healthy body-image in girls

self imageStories about eating disorders and poor self-esteem continue to rear their ugly content in my news feed, and I started thinking about this country’s poor body-image epidemic – especially as it relates to our girls.

My daughter is only four, but I see how this issue seeps its way into most young women’s self-esteem, and I see that my husband and I will need to be on our respective games when it comes to helping our daughter maintain a positive body image.  

We tend to blame Hollywood and the media, and I’ll agree that both are powerful.  We get incensed and demand that they tame their visual and written messages in favor of a “more realistic” idea of women and beauty.  

But here’s the thing:  it’s all about economics.  As long as the majority of Americans continue to tune in, to buy the movie tickets, to listen to the crap low-quality-sometimes-misogynistic lyrics, very little will change.  Until enough people have had enough and are willing to use their choice as their voice, the media has no reason to alter its ways.  But it’s wrong!  That may be but, unless we negatively affect the proverbial bottom line, I can’t see things changing.

So, what do we have left?  What can we do?  The problem is enormous.  Fortunately, if we’re careful and vigilant, the solution is about the size of a family.

I’m not gonna lie, this particular topic scares the daylights out of me.  Even in preschool, there are little fashionistas and hovering, hair-spray wielding mothers.  And don’t get me started about Honey Boo Boo.  The cards are stacked against our girls and how they see themselves but, if families rally around them, if we teach them to believe the truth about themselves – that they are fearfully and wonderfully made – they’ll make it through.  

How?  Yeah, I haven’t exactly figured all that out yet – but the family of a young lady named Whitney Kropp might be on to something.  I also took to Google and found some practical advice at the Mayo Clinic.  

The gist of the Mayo Clinic article is that we must stay close, stay connected.  Our girls need us to model healthy behavior, healthy self perception.  They need us to be there to comfort and counsel them when the world makes them feel ugly and small.  

Lord, I hope I get it right.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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4 thoughts on “The family, not Hollywood, is responsible for fostering healthy body-image in girls

  1. ashleylecompte March 28, 2013 at 2:05 pm Reply

    Love this. I have read a lot of articles condemning Hollywood, the media and pop culture. But, I am a firm believer that what we churn out creatively, if in some instances we can call it that, is what we are sowing in our own hearts. You’re absolutely right, if it wasn’t being bought up, then underwear with tasteless words, marketed to preteens would not exist. But somehow, they’re getting bought up. It’s disturbing, but I’m with you. The Lord and family hold sway over how our girls view themselves.

    Thank you for writing this!

    • Julia Weston March 28, 2013 at 8:20 pm Reply

      Honestly, I didn’t know how well this post would be received. I’m glad it resonated with you. It’s been bothering me for a while, and my back goes up when I hear people blaming Hollywood and celebrities – as if we don’t make our own choices. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words.

  2. joeyfullystated March 28, 2013 at 10:08 pm Reply

    I love your post. I think the media skews our girls to the idea that thin, busty, fake and tan is how to be, but ultimately, it’s my job to encourage health and wellness. I tell them they’d do well to remember the real women they know. So many different colors, shapes, sizes, textures, fashion styles — confident, comfortable, beloved for who they are.
    I think just the idea that you’ve thought about the issues means you’re getting it right!

    • Julia Weston March 29, 2013 at 2:04 pm Reply

      Thank you. That’s great advice. Confidence is so important – true confidence in knowing who you are and how to take care of and stand up for yourself. I’m glad you stopped by!

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