Of all the questions I get from readers, the most difficult to answer are always some variation of “but I’ve done everything ‘right’ and my daughter still calls herself fat. What can I do?” Believe me, I know how hard it is to hear your daughter put herself down – especially after you’ve taken care to speak positively to her, about your own body as well as hers.
That’s why I was so taken with this story, which a friend recently sent to me. In short, it’s about a mom who stripped down to her birthday suit to dance and sing a rap song about being perfect, just as they are, with her seven-year-old daughter, who complained of being “fat.”
That, as my grandpa would say, takes real gumption. And I admire that mom’s gusto and bravery in showing her daughter what a woman’s body looks like – not an airbrushed, digitally enhanced magazine interpretation of a woman’s body, but an honest-to-goodness woman made of un-flawless flesh and bone. I don’t think we can discount the value of that. Revealing ourselves, “flaws” and all, has a kind of impact that reaches beyond words.
Real, beautiful women are everywhere – from the beach to the locker room to the fitting room at the local mall. In fact, there’s one women’s clothing store not far from me that is famous for its communal dressing room, where women of all ages, sizes and shapes strip down in public in the name of finding a good bargain. But how many of us would be willing to bare all, dance and sing a rap song to demonstrate our self-acceptance for our daughters?
Could you do it? Would you?
Now I’m not saying we all have to get naked to prove we accept ourselves. The point is that teaching our daughters to love their bodies starts with the kind of bold self-acceptance that embraces being perfectly imperfect. It’s about walking our talk with our girls, and showing them that yes, I have this body, I take care of it, I own it and I do what I need to do to keep it healthy. I don’t berate it, blame it for disappointments I might feel about my life, or use it as an excuse for not doing what I want to do or should do.
It’s about saying, this is me and I’m enough. And so are you.