Tuesday, 5 February 2019

It's Only Skin

Let's talk about body perception.

I just watched a documentary called Nurture - Cosmetic Kids, in which four young people got cosmetic surgery in order to change their appearance.  An 11 year old was being bullied because of her protruding ears, so she wanted her ears pinned.  An 18-year-old longed for a breast enlargement, while another wanted a breast reduction.  A fourth girl underwent liposuction to remove 20 pounds of fat.  Of these, only the breast reduction was truly necessary, in my opinion, because the girl's breasts were so large that they were starting to cause her back problems.

Girls as young as six are wishing they were slimmer.  A lot has to do with what they see in the media.  Disney princesses are drawn in unrealistic proportions.  Many poseable dolls such as those from Monster High and Ever After High are practically alien.  And don't forget anime.

They hear it from their families too.  For example, there was a period during my teenage years where my mother practically starved herself to stay slim because she didn't want my father to be "distracted by some chicky-baby".  I had my own body issues, even though I knew that my thick abdomen and thighs were most likely a genetic inheritance and there was little I could do about it no matter how much I went out on my bike or how many sit-ups I did.

I was a healthy 125 pounds when I was 25.  However a sedentary job and other demands on my time prevented me from keeping myself that way and I found myself at 130 not long after I married my first husband.  He, none too healthy himself, took his insecurities out on me by assigning me the derogatory name "Big Butt".  I strenuously objected and shot back sarcastically, "How would you like me to call you 'Fatso'?"  He didn't seem to care.

So I modified my diet and took up jogging.  In four months I dropped 14 pounds and was becoming dangerously underweight.  But instead of complimenting my figure, he began to call me "Skinny Minnie".  It seemed impossible to impress him.  Yet at the same time, he sat all day in front of his computer and never touched his bicycle which sat rusting on the balcony.

I'm certain I'm among many women who have been through this sort of thing.  And the pressure to be thin is showing no signs of stopping any time soon.  What does it take for a person to be comfortable in their own skin and not have to worry about bullying or peer pressure?

Cosmetic surgery, apparently.

One of the girls in the aforementioned documentary said that she had tried diet and exercise, and nothing seemed to work to her satisfaction; only liposuction would give her the figure she wanted.  This as she was sitting at a table with her family, eating pizza.  Hypocrisy.

I do my best to not mention my hangups in front of our daughter. But at 12, she is already complaining that she feels too fat.  How, as a parent, can one deal with that?


  1. One of the most difficult aspects of attaining or maintaining a healthy weight as a young person is having someone else dictate the diet. In North America today, often that means a lot of sugary drinks and processed foods.

    When a young girl wants to lose weight but there is no healthy food in the house, it's pretty difficult to make the lifestyle changes that will support a healthier body.

  2. My 23 year old granddaughter is beautiful both inside and out but had been bullied, called names and put her down about minor imperfections, that no one saw except the bullier, since she was very young. This affected her entire childhood and teen years. I filled her with compliments unlike the name calling by her father.