Thursday, November 25, 2010

Children and body image

This morning, my 5 year old son was upset that my 8 year old daughter was not playing by the right rules in a game (did you know that there are right rules and wrong rules?) so he called her names. He called her fat.

We typically don't use that word in our house. My daughter is very small for her age, and she already spends a lot of time looking at herself in the mirror (usually dancing, sometimes in her underwear, trying to copy the moves that she thinks female rock stars are supposed to do- I am not sure if her babysitter is amused or disturbed by this). She occasionally talks about her fear of gaining weight, which I try to address mostly in two ways; first, by talking about health, and not body size, as the standard that is best to be internalized, and second, by talking to her about the objectification of women's bodies and unrealistic standards of beauty that she sees in the media (in a way that I believe is age appropriate).

Anyway, the point is that a 5 year old child, who still hasn't figured out that Santa doesn't exist and has trouble differentiating between cartoons and real life, has somehow figured out that the worst thing you can call a female is fat.

1 comment:

  1. Your last paragraph nails it on the head! Especially the Santa part. Yikes!