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This thread is a support/discussion thread on how we can help our kids achieve a healthy view on their bodies and keep them from having body dismorphia. I'm no expert, I've never been dyslexic or bulimic. But I have been considered underweight when I was a teen and soon after I had my baby I've been a bit overweight. No matter what, people have remarked on my body and I never really feel fully comfortable with myself.
When I was in junior high I wanted to be a Cover Girl model. So, my mom placed me in modelling classes at a local modelling agency. They go on for a full school year. During level 1, I learned so much. You learn all the tricks and short cuts. You learn about job searching and how important it is to research the type of style employers in different countries are looking for. It was an eye opener. I learned how important it is to really pay attention to dates and events, and how important it is to go to show rehearsals. I learned that one the hard way, oops. I've also learned that the modelling industry brings up your self-confidence, then later brings it down. Or do they? What I notice now is that they challenge you. They challenge your strength of mind when it comes to your body. Okay, so I was just told that I needed to relax my style and open my eyes more in photo shoots, and I needed to clean up my eyebrows because the way I plucked them was messy. Of course they were. Young teens don't have the dexterity to make perfect arches unless they went to get them professionally done, which my mom did for me after that consultation.
I never passed level 2. I saw friends from the previous year get jobs and change into snobs who thought they were better than those who didn't have the opportunity to go on out of country jobs. I lost interest in it. My mom didn't want to keep me in something I wasn't 100% into.
During junior high, there was a day when all the girls were pulled out of class to go to a seminar hosted by this ex-model. Oh, that should be interesting. You see, I have this knack of being able to see different angles of issues and I tend to look at sides that haven't been visited very often. This host was saying how seeing her photo-shopped image disturbed her and that she started feeling bad about her self and it was all the modelling agencies fault. Really? I understand the reasons behind the photo-shopping and I know it is not the modelling agencies idea, but the demands of the industry as a whole, including and mostly the designers themselves. They want perfection so their product isn't being overshadowed by a flaw on the model. That is their mind frame not mine. The role of the agency is to answer to those demands. Not every client wants super skinny either. They work with all sorts and I actually felt better when I learned through the agency I was with is that there were people with that agency of all shapes, sizes and ages. There's petite modelling, there's maternity modelling, there's commercial, couture (which is the most demanding for skinniness.), editorial, mature, kids, infants, etc, etc.
There is modelling jobs for anyone, really. That gave me a different perspective of the whole industry than what I was fed in school and society.
Fast forward to today, I've taught my daughter the wisdom I gathered during my modelling stint back then, and I've been able to use that to deter her from thinking anything in a magazine is "achievable". Actually, I've been teaching her the reasons as to the why's and how's. If she can understand the industry, which she has barely any interest at all with it, then she can understand that magazines are not there to make you feel bad about yourself, but just to try and sell you a product.
I don't really know how I've done it, but my daughter LOVES her body. She does not like the attention she gets from her body, though. But she is taking it well and talks to me about how she doesn't want to change anything about. Well, she is overly developed for her age and that is one thing she doesn't like, but nonetheless she still wouldn't want to do anything to change it. She just wants creepy people to stop looking and for her schoolmates to stop commenting on it and asking if her butt is real. That isn't something I can change, but something parents should be talking to their kids about, different body types and accepting and tolerating different body types.
I don't tolerate body shaming in my house. But I do encourage being healthy.
I'm amazed I don't have an unhealthy vie of my body considering my mom does. She is super skinny after she had a health crisis and is now obsessed with eating only organic foods and super foods. She has been looking awful. I thought she looked beautiful before and she looks at her old photos and is shocked when I tell her she looked great. She never believes it. She just looks at her healthy weight and thinks she was too fat. She was only 130lbs around there. Now I'd say she weighs 105lbs, which was how much I weighed when I was 13. I was concerned about how this would affect my daughter, but now it seems the only person I need to worry about is my mom. She is always commenting on peoples bodies, too. My daughter even thinks her grandma is too skinny.


What is your story with healthy/unhealthy body imaging?
 
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