And I just thought it was a joke.

So the other day, Sissy said something to me about needing Skecher Shape Ups. I was thinking she was talking about the ones for adults, and I told her that they don’t make them in her size and also that she didn’t need to worry about such things as she is very active, tiny, and cannot keep her pants up to save her life. So today when I was reading headlines on Yahoo News, I was appalled to discover that Skechers does in fact make Shape Ups for little girls.

My daughter said she needed these because she doesn’t want to get fat. My daughter is almost five and is not overweight. She is extremely active, eats healthy, and really should not be worrying about such things. Yes, I do understand that childhood obesity is a growing problem. However, there are so many things I think are wrong about this.

First of all, I want to raise a confident girl who will grow into a confident young woman. I want her to be healthy, and if there was ever a concern about her weight, I would address this in a way that would help her stay at a healthy weight without giving her a complex. I had an eating disorder when I was younger. I would not want my daughter to ever feel how I felt. There are times when I look at some of my pictures from college and want to shake some sense into my former self. I do not want that for my daughter. I do not want that for any girl.

Second of all, I think this only further contributes to a double standard we seem to have involving overweight girls/women vs. overweight boys/men. It seems like it has always been there and always will be there. When I was in high school, it was perfectly acceptable for the boys be overweight and still popular. However, it was not the same for the girls. In Hollywood, unless you are watching something like Glee, you hardly ever see the chubby girl get the hot guy. And yet in films, actors like pre-weight loss Seth Rogen, for example, was able to get the hot girl in movies. (And I have nothing against him by the way.)  Which leads me to my next point.

It always seems more acceptable for the guy to be overweight. Sure the paparazzi was overjoyed when Seth Rogen dropped some poundage, but do you ever remember reading anything about anyone saying anything about his weight beforehand? Probably not. However, we are constantly overloaded with articles about how this actress seems to have gained weight and how this one needs to lose weight. This double standard is not right, and it sends a dangerous message to our young girls (and our adult ladies as well).

I think this country has an unhealthy obsession with obesity. Yes it is a problem, but no one seems to be able to confront it in a healthy way. If we keep on this course, I can only see this problem getting worse, and here it why. Children are vulnerable. We need to teach them healthy habits and that healthy foods are not only good for you but also taste good. To take the approach of “You’re fat. Don’t eat that because you will get fat,” we are just tearing them down and paving the way for them to use food as a weapon of destruction. These children will be the same teenagers that use food as a way to comfort them because they were brought up with an unhealthy view of food at an early age. We need to provide our children with the tools to become healthy adults, but we need to do it in a way that is positive instead of negative.

This has been such a hard thing for me to write because of my struggles with eating disorders and unrealistic goals. Obviously, so many of us in this country are not as healthy as we should be. However, I feel when we are constantly being torn apart and obsessed with this issue in such a way that is not healthy, we will not be able to fix this problem. We need to arm ourselves with the tools to healthy eating and healthy living, share them with our children, and do it in a way that builds confidence and good character. What we don’t need is products that shatter our little girls self-confidence at such an early age. That is all I have to say.

11 Comments

    1. Isn’t that the truth! My daughter will not be getting them. She has boots with a small chunk to the heel, and that is as far as it will go for now.

  1. Thanks, this is a great post! I’m glad someone else notices that most of the “war on obesity” is going to come down to destroy our girls body image… though I believe it will negatively effect all children whose bodies stray outside the “norm.”

  2. Hooorah………..Something I keep trying to say to anyone who will listen is the differences between men and women and the ridiculous expectations put on women. As i say time and time again, men seem to come in many sizes, from very slim through to broad shouldered bigger built and can still be considered fit, attractive etc………yet women are all trying to be one size and the oddest part is women naturally carry more body fat. Yes plus on top of that, overweight actors always get the hot girl, overweight girl is comedy fodder. Great piece of writing.

    1. Thank you. I would love to see where the overweight girl triumphs! It hardly happens. I am overweight. However, I have had a number of health problems that contributed to that. I am active and eat healthy. I want my children to be healthy but not at the expense of their self-esteem.

  3. A thought that occurred to me while reading this wonderful post is that while our children are being bombarded with products that don’t promote a healthy self image (these ridiculous shoes, scantily clad sexualized dolls, etc.), Michelle Obama’s efforts to promote healthy eating and exercise go practically unnoticed except when some idiot politician makes fun of her for it. It seems to me that the First Lady would be a better role model than a Bratz doll. What are we doing to our children?

    1. I agree. I think she has a lot of great ideas. I want my children to grow up healthy—eating healthy and exercising. However, I don’t think that these kinds of products should be targeted at children, especially girls. So many of women have unhealthy body images, and we are just training another generation to be that way too.

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