I’m not easily offended.
Make a Southern joke? Step aside while I prove you wrong. (Just be careful not to step on my bare feet, please.)
Make a short joke? You’re just jealous that you can’t pass Capri pants off as full-length.
If I don’t like something I hear or read, I know to consider the source, and/or I recognize I’m free to change the channel or put down the newspaper.
But I’ve found myself being much more “sensitive” since the girls were born…not for me, but for them.
At such a tender age, our girls can’t yet discern for themselves what is right and wrong. They can’t consider the source, or take something with a grain of salt.
One of the things that has been rubbing me the wrong way lately is the use of the word “fat” in several children’s books.
I think instilling confidence in my girls, a big part of that being a positive body image, is a huge responsibility. Likewise is teaching respect for other people, no matter what they look like – “fat” or “skinny”, short or tall, with a Southern drawl or a Yankee accent.
Take, for example, something as benign as Dr. Seuss’s “One fish two fish red fish blue fish”.
“The fat one has a yellow hat.”
Heaven knows my girls say enough things to call attention to themselves in public (like when they used to call out “boobies!!!” when they saw blueberries in the grocery store). I surely don’t need to introduce the phrase “the fat one” to them, as I would be mortified if they used that phrase to refer to a person at the grocery, not just a nice juicy tomato.
Even in “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”:
“He was a big, fat caterpillar.”
…granted, that was after the bloke had eaten chocolate cake, ice cream, pickles, cheese, salami, a lollipop, cherry pie, sausage, a cupcake, and some watermelon…which is not exactly an exemplary diet...but I still don’t like the use of the word.
And don’t even get me started on “The Belly Book”!
“A sumo’s belly is big and fat. A ballerina’s belly is small and flat.”
…among so many other crazy references.
As I write this, I realize my concerns are twofold. One is that I want the girls to be respectful of other people, and not to judge folks by the way the look.
I think the heavier issue in my mind is instilling a positive body image in the girls from the get-go.
I know I can’t protect them from the ills of society forever…that soon enough they’ll hear folks talking about “fat people” and “skinny jeans”…they’ll see a weight loss ad in a magazine or on TV and wonder how it applies to them…that one of their grade school classmates will “go on a diet”…
…but I’m not ready to go there just yet.
Thank you to Julia at Pontifications of a Twin Mom for making me think about the topic of beauty in so many beautiful ways! In particular, this post inspired me to write on this topic. That, coupled with the focus at Multiples & More today, has inspired so many thoughts along these lines.
I’ll be posting on the topic of beauty again soon.