April 25, 2011

Healthy Monday: Body Image

I was watching the Today Show last week and they were interviewing a college student about how Barbie affected her body image.

Here's the link

Most of us have played with Barbies, myself included, but I never felt that that's what influenced my body image. I think what influenced my body image was that my body matured faster than all the other girls. I hit puberty well before I was thirteen and started to develop in the fourth grade, by sixth grade my bust was in full bloom (I wear a 36-38 D bra). But because I was so young but had a woman's body, my Mom still bought me clothes that were age appropriate and tried to hide my development. Because my body was developing faster and becoming curvier, the clothes that hid my body also made it appear bulkier. I felt fat, embarrassed, and uncomfortable in my own skin (It also didn't help that I was forced to wear sports bras that squished my breasts in and made me appear even bulkier). I was often sexually harassed in the 8th by other girls who called themselves my "friends," but I never considered them that way. There were mornings that I cried in my room because I desperately didn't want to go to school. Being the independent person that I am, I didn't go for help, I didn't tell my Mom or any other adults because I felt I could deal with it on my own, and I did, but it was hard. I also grew up around women that complained about their bodies constantly, which I think rubbed off onto me.

Young girls are bombarded by movies, T.V., magazines, peers and toys every day about how the female body should look, it's unavoidable. What young girls need is someone to teach them that they are beautiful just the way God made them, that it's okay to weigh a few extra pounds so long as they are healthy, that everyone's body is different, that there is perfection and beauty in "imperfection." All women need to be careful what they say around young girls about their own bodies, what we say really affects how children think.

Today, I embrace my curves, and now I wear a better bra and fitted clothes that instead of hiding my body, shows it off. I spent most of my life feeling like I wasn't good enough so every so often I still feel that way, but I'm working on it not just for myself but for my daughter. She shares my genes, most likely she'll develop early just like I did. Everyday I think about how I'm going to handle it when that day comes, and I pray to God that he'll give me guidance so she'll have a better body image than I did when growing up.

How do you guys feel about Barbies and little girls? Do you let your daughter play with them? Do you feel that Barbies shouldn't be played with or that it's okay as long as your daughter knows that she's not real and that it's unrealistic to have that kind of expectation for herself?

Before I end this post, I want to give credit to someone who showed me I was beautiful all long and is always there to reassure me when my ego takes a plummet,

Thank you so much, you have no idea what kind of a difference you've made in my life, you are my best friend and always know what to say to make me feel better, you know who you are.


  1. My daughter is only three, so she isn't really interested in Barbie's yet, but if she does, I plan to havea talk to her about how the world is a very big place and there are all sorts of beautiful people in every shape, size, color and make. That our differences make us beautiful.

  2. Wow this was really a great post. I think we all have had low esteem at one time or another.Sounds like you really have an awesome friend that has really been a blessing to you. I am new to your blog and am so glad that I found it!

  3. I think the most important thing one can do for their kid is to invest time into them. Make a habit of spending some one on one time on a regular basis with said child. Ask questions and practice active listening. Genuinely love them where they're at, and give them room to grow (even if at times they're a bit of a pain). Also, one needs to be careful about how you correct your child when they behave in a manner that may not be appropriate. The harder you are on them, and the more rigid you are in right and wrong, the less they're going to feel they can come to you when things go wrong in their life.