Friday, April 2, 2010

Body Image

Today I went to Marshall's to see if I could find something cute to wear to a bridal shower, baby shower, and first communion this Spring. 
Thankfully, Marshall's respects the last-minute-oh-shit-i-need-something-new-because-these-photos-will-be-on-facebook-the-next-day panic that every woman faces these days, and has the dresses right up front.  I quickly perused the racks.  For some reason, there were 6 different racks.  All organized by size.  Why not just have 6 racks with six different sizes? It would make looking a hell of a lot easier.  And for some stupid reason, I always look at every size.  And, ineveitabely, find a dress 4 sizes too small that I LOVE that I cannot find in my own busty size.  However, today I was in luck!  I bustled into the dressing room, got my "3" card, and slid into a back dressing room.  As I was strategically zipping up my first dress, I started listening to the woman in the stall next to me.
    "Oh, yeah, you were right!  This looks great!" I heard her say, then the reply:
    "See Mommy, I told you!' Oh, Christ. It was a 6 year old.  Helping her mother pick out clothes.
    "Yeah, I really like this, great job!" And then, ladies and gentleman, what I heard made me hate the world as I know it even more, and it made me realize that it really is up to us to ensure that the next generation is not as body obsessed as people are today.  Because, I heard this mother say to her young daughter.
    "Where did this stomach come from!" Silence befell daughter.
    "UGH- seriously, LOOK at my STOMACH sweetie!  What did I DO this winter! I must have eaten like a squirrel," to which my ears perked up.  A squirrel?
    "A squirrel, mommy? I don't think they eat too much" God, I love that girl.
    "Oh, I mean a horse... This stomach has GOT to go." I was INFURIATED.  If i didn't have one elbow stuck half way through my armhole, I may have just knocked on that lady's door and given her a speech about how the body images of young girls is so skewed, and what she just said to her daughter is NOT going to help.  However, circumstances prevented me. 
    "ok honey, now we have to find somehting for you, you know, let's try Tah-get" Then, the daughter who will be anorexic before age 16 said "No, mommy, you mean Tar-jay"
The Mom laughed, and then said "Ok, let's go.."
Shit. They were LEAVING. I HAD to get a look at this woman.  If this lady was a size 24 and was struggling to get her jeans on, fine.  But I had my suspicions that was NOT the case. I pulled down my shirt, grabbed the 3 dresses I had tried on, and flew out of my dressing room, just in time to see the Body Image Crucifier and her Soon to be Anorexic daughter. And the woman was thin. I nearly yelped.  Hell, who knows, maybe I did. I got to tell you, the one thing that woman should have been complaining about was how her hair could have gotten so frizzy and in such a horrible cut, but then her daugher probably would have had hair issues the rest of her life.
Let's wake up, people, and remember that girls (and boys, I will not leave them out), get their body image issues not just from the media, but from us.  Their parents, their peers, their teachers.  If they hear you say something like that once, it will stick with them.  The woman was FINE, sure, maybe her stomach isn't what it was 5 years ago, 1 year ago, or even 5 months ago, but, news flash: That is what happens to women as they age!  Curves form, children are born, more curves form.  Get over it, no fat is not how women were meant to be.  Curves are beautiful, curves are woman, and let's try to teach our daughters, nieces, students, etc... that our bodies are unique, and our womanly bodies are beautiful.

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