Please turn up your speakers so you can hear the fabulous song, Jonny Diaz's "More Beautiful You," which inspired this blog.
This song stops me in my tracks every time I hear it because it hits uncomfortably close to home. As a woman and the parent of a tween girl, I constantly think about body image issues- my own and my daughter's.
I admit that I love to eat, and I love to cook. Factor in my lack of enthusiasm for exercise, and you have a weight problem in the making. Regardless of what I constantly tell myself, I'm not overweight (I'm just the size of the average American woman). I do admittedly have many more curves than I once had, but then again weighing 95 pounds at the age of 18 probably wasn't that great either.
Why as women do we constantly obsess about our appearance? I love ice cream and sweets and enjoy indulging in them. Why can I not just enjoy the treats without feeling guilty immediately after. Why do I feel like I should constantly diet because I certainly never stick to it for long? I'll get fed up with staring at the size 6 jeans in my closet (I finally cleaned out the size 4s a year ago) or worry about what so-and-so would think of me if I ran into him/her and go on a health kick for a few weeks, but then my enthusiasm again wanes.
The worst part is the double-edged sword of telling ourselves that as women we wouldn't want to be with people anyway who only cared about the size clothes we wear, but then we continue to obsess about our appearance. I'll go ahead and admit that if I could afford it I would get a mommy makeover complete with boob lift and tummy tuck. As much as I rationally understand that my weight is truly not important, that doesn't even come close to making sense to me emotionally
But as I worry about my own body image, I also think about how my hang-ups influence my twelve-year old daughter. The older she has gotten, the more frequently I hear, "I hate my curly hair. My thighs look like hams. I never tan." Unfortunately, all of a parent's reassurances cannot counteract the cultural message of the thinner the better, the straighter your hair the better, the tanner the better.
But, you know what, every time Johnny Diaz's "More Beautiful You" comes on the radio, I turn it up loudly as a reminder to Curly Girl and myself.
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