I do a lot of reading on the internet. In fact the vast majority of my reading I do online. Downloaded books, magazines I subscribe too, even my daily edition of the Times, all delivered to my Nexus. It is rare, therefore, that I read something that makes me sit up and think, and then burst into tears.
Yesterday, however, I did just that.
Over a blog post that was linked to in a Tweet. Written by somebody I have never heard of before. Do go and read it but please come back. I will wait for you: When your mother says she is fat
Now this is not an article I empathise with because it was my childhood, far from it. My mum has an enviable figure (she doesn’t stand still long enough for fat to stick to her) so it is not how I feel about my mum. But I can imagine my children thinking it. And I can see many other people saying it of their own mothers. I can see my own children having written it.
It is a truly powerful post.
I wish Samantha Brick could read it. Especially this bit:
I learned that women must be thin to be valid and worthy. Girls must go without because their greatest contribution to the world is their physical beauty
When did that happen? When did we start judging people so heavily on their appearance? And when did we start hating ourselves so much?
I ran a bit of a “no scientific basis” experiment yesterday by asking friends to describe first of all, themselves in one word. There were many adjectives used, including:
busy / content / talkative / complicated / stressed / mum / underestimated / knackered / forgetful / worthless / unstable / chunky / needy / useless / stressy.
Then I asked that group of friends to describe one other friend in a single word:
feisty / reassuring / gorgeous / talented / huggable / fun / lovely / strong / kind / awesome / clever / supportive / caring / epic / inspiring / warm.
Not one negative in that second list. Not one of those words referring to body shape. Why is that?
Why are we so quick to highlight the negative in ourselves when that is just not how others see us?
As parents what does this say to our children when we use such negative terms towards ourselves, even if in a jokey way. I often joke about being fat.