The other day my 5-year-old daughter whispered something to me that I couldn’t quite make out.
“What did you say,” I asked her.
“Fat,” she said. “But I whispered it because it’s a bad word, right?”
“Right,” I replied.
I’m not sure where she heard the word, although I’m certain it wasn’t in our home. While I’ve had my fair share of struggles with the scale since I was younger than she is now, I make it a point never to mention the word “weight” or “diet” in front of my girls. Instead, we just talk about being active and healthy.
It’s easy now that they’re so young; I have no doubt they’ll wrestle with body-image demons at some point in their lives — whether it’s because others make them feel bad about how they look or they see others and envy some or all of their body parts. It’s not what I hope for them and I’ll do my best to ensure it doesn’t happen, but I am hardly convinced it never will. Even the healthiest, slimmest and sexiest women I know have fought with their reflection in the mirror at some point.
A video that’s making the rounds (that we first saw on Upworthy) is one that I’ll keep in my Internet back pocket for the day that one of my gorgeous girls comes to tell me she’s isn’t gorgeous enough, as impossible as I think that is. They’re both flawless, as far as I’m concerned — even if I can barely tell their sassy, funny, quirky, sensitive, kind and stubborn personalities apart from their misshapen mouths, oddly placed freckles and pot bellies. But that doesn’t mean they’ll feel the same way about themselves.
The video shows a pretty model posing for a photo, which is then shown distorted every which way by Photoshop. It’s hard to believe the “before” and “after” shots are the same person — and it’s even harder to believe that the “before” photo wasn’t good enough. It’s easy to believe, however, that the “after” shot is not what we all look like. So it’s not hard to imagine that little girls and grown women see this image and ones like it daily then feel bad about themselves by extension.
Hopefully by the time my girls are old enough to watch this video, “Photoshop” will be as dirty a word as “fat.”
Video credit: YouTube