Being a mom of girls today can be challenging. With society pressuring girls and trying to manipulate them into conforming to stereotypes of “beauty,” many mothers will be faced with self-esteem issues and struggles. Today, where social media is constantly reminding young girls that they are not “rich enough,” “skinny enough,” or “fun enough,” it’s hard to get a grasp on how our daughters will feel about themselves, especially when people are constantly telling them that they’re “not enough.”
Sonni Abatta—a mother, podcast host, and writer—shared her thoughts on how companies market inappropriate products and cultures to young girls. Specifically, Abatta discussed the new fad of “diet culture,” where people are joking about losing weight, skipping meals, and depriving themselves of what they really want in order to conform to the “skinny world.” Abatta saw the lunchbox in a store in Florida, placed next to a candy stand in a Nordstrom Rack. Abatta figured that due to the placement, and the color/style of the lunchbox, it was catered to young girls.
See this? This is a picture I snapped today of a little girl’s lunchbox that I saw for sale at a popular department store. Why do I say it’s marketed toward little girls? It’s pink, it has sequins and it was surrounded by other girls’ merchandise. So, safe to say that it’s aimed at our daughters.
I am SICKENED that this phrase is on a lunch box.
We scratch our heads when we see our little girls struggle with body image, with self worth, with confidence.
We wonder, “Why do our girls worry so much about their bodies so young?” … “Why does my five year old call herself ‘fat?’” … “Why does my middle schooler stand in front of the mirror and find all her flaws?”
THIS. This is part of the reason why.
Our world is telling our girls that it’s “cheating” if they eat something that’s not 100% fat-free and perfectly healthy. In turn, that tells them that self-control and denying herself is to be valued above all. And that if she dares to step outside of the foods that will keep her perfectly slim and trim, then she is by default “cheating” and needs to feel some sense of remorse.
Look, I’m not saying a diet of strictly sugar and chips is right either; but by God, why would a company ever pile onto our girls’ already-fragile senses of self by making her feel as though she’s “cheating” by eating something that’s–gasp–not made of vegetables and air?
“You’re overreacting!” you might say. To which I say, No. We are not overreacting when we ask more of the world when it comes to how they treat our girls.
Can you imagine a similar message directed toward little boys? For the record, I’d be equally offended… but I haven’t seen anything that is aimed at making our boys feel bad about what they eat, or how they look.
So here’s what I want to say, and what I will tell my girls. Girls–you are not “cheating” when you enjoy good food. You are not “cheating” when you eat pizza. You are not “cheating” when you have a cookie, or two, on occasion. You are not “cheating” when you live in moderation and allow yourself things that make you happy.
Girls–you are MORE than your bodies. More than your faces. More than your complexions. More than the clothes you wear and the things you buys and the other girls you hang out with.
You are beautiful, worthy, intelligent, and whole beings–whole beings who are worthy of so much love and respect, no matter what anyone, or anyTHING, says.
See this? This is a picture I snapped today of a little girl's lunchbox that I saw for sale at a popular department...Posted by Sonni Abatta on Sunday, February 10, 2019
Many people on Facebook agreed. Mothers and parents everywhere shared their stories on how their own children are affected by the push to support diet culture and fads just to look cute and fit in. Most people online agreed that the rant was warranted because it’s wrong to try and persuade young girls to starve themselves just to appear thin.