Where's the village?

Monday, April 30, 2007

Screw Body Image.

Dearest Dajamou,

Today you put on a stretchy halter top with stripes (and sparkles! your favorite! It could only be better if it were stripey sparkley rainbow colors!) and I noticed how it made your belly look a bit on the chubby side, like the girl in Little Miss Sunshine. And simultaneously going through my head were two things:

1. When Greg Kinnear's character told that girl, in a roundabout put-down way, that enjoying food and eating ice cream after dinner would make her fat and make her lose the Little Miss Sunshine contest. And nobody likes a loser.

2. When your pediatrician, at your last checkup, harped (yet again) on the fact that you were on the high end of that stupid Body Mass Index chart for girls.

And I started to worry. I started to worry that my little girl would be teased in school. That she would never be picked to be on the kickball team. That all the bad things I experienced in school and all the bad things I've ever heard about anyone ever experiencing in school would happen to you because you weren't the perfect body shape and size.

And then I got really really REALLY mad. Mad at that stupid damn doctor (who is very neat and trim and thin so I naturally assume, fair or not, that she's putting her cultural biases on you, and whom you love so it will be a little dicey if I decide I'm mad enough to drop her) for adding another worry to my anxiety-ridden brain that will probably never go away, never mind that it would have cropped up from some other source eventually. Mad at everyone ever who teased someone for not fitting in for whatever reason. Mad too at Society In General which perpetuates these stupid body-image-anxiety-stereotypes, blah blah blah-de-blah feminism blah.*

But mostly I got mad at myself for giving in to that anxiety and asking you if you didn't want to maybe change your shirt.

*I'm not dismissing feminism or rolling my eyes or implying that these stereotypes and body image issues are not important. They truly are. But for the past four and a half years (oddly, since I became a mother) I have not had the brain power to even win a debate with the dog, much less write a pithy, witty, coherent, heartfelt paragraph on all that's wrong with women's sense of self in the 21st Century. I refer anyone interested instead to Body Impolitic.


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