How to talk to little girls
Friday, June 24, 2011
I read this article today on the Huffington Post after seeing the ABC news report on how girls are developing a fear of being fat at a younger and younger age:
Both pieces struck a note with me and I have conflicted feelings. I do think childhood obesity in this country is problematic. As an obese child myself, I was often teased and was called a "sumo wrestler" because I fat and Asian in a predominantly white community. Often, I turned to food and my academic work to hide my sadness and loneliness.
While, I loathed being fat, it made me who I am today in many ways. Since I wasn't the prettiest or thinnest girl (aka. not the most popular), I think I found value in other dimensions of myself. My humor, compassion, and love of learning were healthy things that came out of the pain of being overweight. They are traits that have made me who I am today.
Anyway, these news pieces reminded me that there's a tenuous balance between striving for a healthy lifestyle and equating thinness with health, happiness, and a positive sense of self. I am grateful to these little girls for reminding me that I am more than a number on the scale. I hope that as I come in contact with young girls as well, I'm able to foster the development of a positive sense of self that's rooted in more than their appearance.