Two years ago Florence and I were shopping in West Quay, she needed to go to the toilet so we dashed quickly to John Lewis. As we bundled into the toilet cubicle she asked me “Can you please turn around I don’t want you to see my fat legs”
I’m not one to be at a loss for words, but I was just that. I blurted out “What?!” She then said it again “I have fat legs”.
I was really shocked but also very confused, how could a (at the time 4 year old) possibly think she was fat? Was it something she saw or read? Or was it something I had said? Or was it all just for some attention!? All these thoughts circled around my head, like a spinning wheel making me feel sick and dizzy.
At first I pretended it didn’t happen, which really was/is so out of character for me. But I think the thought of my little baby thinking she was fat was selfishly too much for me to acknowledge. Five months went by and it happened again, she walked past a mirror and burst into tears, I immediately asked her what was wrong to then she replied “just look at my legs they are so fat” I’d had enough this wasn’t a ‘phase’ or an attention seeking situation, my daughter was being genuine about thinking these sad thoughts.
I researched on google (as every Mother does) trying to find other parents going through the same thing, and sadly I wasn’t alone. Lots of children age 3 and upwards have issues with the way they look, Whether it’s issues with what their facial features are or their body lots of children especially girls do not like what they see when they stand in the mirror. I decided to start having more regular baths with Florence, I’ve always had a very ‘average’ body I like my food and I won’t stop eating for anyone! So I thought if she could see what I looked like more it wouldn’t bother her as much. Whenever I’d get ready in the morning Florence would always tell me that I looked ‘beautiful’ which was very sweet, if she could find beauty in other people why couldn’t she do it with herself?
At around the same time Barbie had started a new campaign by making ‘curvier’ barbie dolls which brought SO much backlash from parents/non parents saying phrases such as “let kids be kids” or “this is why children are so messed up these days! I never had issues with the way I looked this will make it worse” and to be honest before all of this I probably would’ve felt the same way but children of today are facing new challenges that we never used to experience. Florence doesn’t watch reality tv or anything like that she’s 6, she doesn’t read adult/teenage magazines and she doesn’t watch my tv shows so where was all of this coming from? I’ve never used words such as ‘diet’ or spoken about losing weight etc around her. This is a social issue this is the sort of crap our children are unfortunately going through at such an early age it frightens me for what the future brings.
After finally accepting this was reality I had to try and change things. The more research I had done, the more books I had read and the more documentaries I had watched, I was starting to learn that a lot of it was to do with the stereotypes we push on our children (here she goes again). No parent wants their child to feel like crap boy or girl but we all unintentionally feed into the stereotypes which have such an impact. If you don’t have this issue with your Daughter you’ll probably think I’m being dramatic but truth is you have to take this subject with an open mind and a ton of empathy. Which unfortunately people these days do tend to lack in.
The reason I felt the need to write this blog post was watching Pink accept her award at the VMAs last night, she spent her acceptance speech telling us all a story about her Six year old Willow confessing about her thoughts of being ‘ugly’ this had me in tears. If someone as bad ass like Pink had the same issues with her Daughter Willow then maybe this wasn’t pushed or brought on by me. I had guilt eating me up for so long thinking it had to be something I had done. Pink is the kind of woman who doesn’t fit into the norm of gender stereotype, she’s always been a little punk rock with short hair with a muscle build, I see a little similarity as I’ve had every coloured hair you could possibly imagine and I’m 9 times out of ten wearing men’s clothes.
It’s cool to be different but how could I make Florence aware of this? Especially when she’s so small with Golden Princess worthy hair, rocking Cara Delivingne eye brows and the cutest dimples you’d ever laid your eyes on.
I’ve decided to pick out pictures of gorgeous inspiring curvy women, women of all shapes and sizes who are most likely picked on every day for their size but carry on doing their thing because they don’t care about other people’s opinions, and I will show them to her tomorrow. Florence is aware of so many inspiring women she knows that her name Florence comes from Florence Nightingale a really intelligent, caring, awesome woman who achieved so much, she’s switched on in that way she knows women can go out and achieve and do whatever they please but when it comes to body imagine she’s not so sure she believes unless you are very skinny you are not pretty.
I want my daughter to know and realise one day that being called ‘fat’ or ‘ugly’ are the most pathetic and least offensive things you could call someone. I have reached such a mentality now that if someone calls you out on your appearance or your weight they really are lacking in brain cells/just real insecure with themselves or very immature. Being called out for your personality is far worse in my opinion. Imagine being boring … poor things.
I beg women to stop doing this to eachother, We have all been women for far too long now to kick our own side down. When we use words such as Ugly or fat we are ruining everything that women have fought over for so long. Do not listen to those trashy magazines about so and so from Eastenders putting two stone on or Kendall Jenner fighting ‘acne’ issues who gives a fuck? Women are being raped every twenty minutes in India give a fuck about that. I’ve stated at the beginning that these stereotypes are brought on us but that does not mean we have to continue them. Ladies there’s more to life about the way we look! Keep this up I’ll have to shave my hair off every year at this rate. Stop focusing on looks, do not talk about weight or exercise (in the hope of losing more weight) around your kids. Inspire them to be ‘fit’, ‘healthy’ and ‘strong’ eat your greens but also treat yourself to an ice cream every now and then! life is too short and women are too important to feel this way.
Here are the Women who are unapologetically being themselves
Christina Hendricks ❤️