Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Early Morning Do

I went to sleep ridiculously early last night, so I woke up just as ridiculously early this morning.

And I woke up with the same thing nagging at my mind that I went to sleep with last night. Twice this week, a comment was passed to me about my daughter. Now if I were to write that the comments were something along the lines of "wow, she's getting heavy" or "she's fat, huh?" people would be outraged right there with me.

But in this case, the comments were: "You better start feeding her, she's too thin" and "Is she ok, she's too skinny." She heard both those comments, by the way.

I want to set a few things straight here. My daughter apparently takes after Daddy, genetically speaking. When I was her age, I went from a short chubby kid to a long tall "drink of water" as it was put, inside of a year and a half. My daughter is extremely active, one of those "never sits still" type of kids. She rides her bike everywhere, she takes her dog out all the time to run like silly maniacs. She swims a lot, she plays "Manhunt" with the other kids on the street till all hours. And she's going through her genetically-inherited growth spurt.

But for all the psychoanalyst wanna-be's, she is not in the grips of an eating disorder. She is not unhealthy, as her complexion, her energy, her hair, teeth and whatever will attest to. She has regular checkups with her MD as well as her gynocologist. And trust me, the child eats. She takes three squares a day, and while she snacks regularly, her choice of snacks are things like grapes, apples, Wheat Thins and granola. In my house we have both unhealthy and healthy snacks (cause Daddy tends to indulge in the not-so-good for you goodies here and there). But mostly, she never stops moving. She drinks water bottles by the dozen, she likes cranberry juice too, but Pepsi finds its way into her diet a little more than I'd like.

In my eyes, if she were heavy it would be very disparaging to her to make negative comments about that. She has the metabolism of a shrew, and if I allowed it, would probably consume her body weight in food every day. So why is it any less disparaging to make comments about her being "too skinny?"

Three of my best friends in the world are women who are thin, active and in shape. Why would anyone think that because they have flat bellies that they are anything less than healthy? Or attractive, for that matter. Trust me, they are beautiful, radiant women. And they are every bit as "real" as their curvier counterparts.

Women are beautiful in all shapes and sizes. Curvy can be beautiful, but not "better" than thin. And vice-versa. I recognize it, appreciate that. We can't criticize a woman for being heavy, and I believe we don't have the right to criticize a woman for not being heavy.I understand that. I think more people ought to.


  1. For years and years, my daughter was tiny, vry thin, and I heard constant comments about feeding her more. Then the chubby years kicked in, and all I heard was to get her on a diet. As long as she was eating healthily, I just tried to ignore all the garbage, but it ticked me off. People have such narrow expectations of what girls and women should look like, and that just feeds eating disorders. Tell eveyone to just shut up. Your daughter's health and well being are more important than uninformed and unsolicited opinions.

  2. Oh this strikes a chord. I'm a thin person; but when I was younger I was really thin. People used to ask my friends if I were anorexic; and if they knew I ate a ton, they would ask if I were bulimic. Since my legs were long and scrawny, people used to call me 'chicken legs' and/or point and jaunt as I walked by. Needless to say I quit wearing shorts in junior high. People would always say "Oh, you're so skinny", as if it were a bad thing. I had a serious complex about my body.....because I thought I was too skinny. I look back and wish I appreciated my body more; because although I am not fat, my tummy sure isn't as flat as it used to be. (I still have a complex about my legs.)

    Your daughter sounds perfectly healthy and normal. And the fact that she is physically active and not sitting around playing video games is a GOOD thing. You can tell all those psychoanalysts to take a long walk off a short cliff. They don't know what they're talking about. (They're probably the ones who have 'fat' children, thus contributing to the ever increasing epidemic of child obesity).

    ok, I'm done now.

  3. First of all - hats off to you for passing along good genes. I got a double whammy of big-boned genes that make my metabolism about the speed of a sloth. Second of all, while it's nice that others are concerned, it's really none of their business. Although I suppose it's nice that they came to you instead of just talking about your daughter and spreading rumors.

    There are "skinny" people who are also fat inside due to laziness; my SIL is super thin but didn't pass her cholesterol tests and stuff because she's not active at all. She just got lucky genes. If your daughter's active and taking a multivitamin (to make sure she has enough calcium and iron), she should be just fine. Make her a shirt that says "I'm skinnier than you" or something. hehe.

  4. You know the truth, so don't let other people's comments get to you.
    You know she eats healthy & thats all the matters.

  5. Alright, this has touched a nerve with me too. Feel free not to publish this comment because try as I might, I can't make this comment short :P

    I was one of those super skinny girls myself. People asked me often, to my face, if I was anorexic. I wasn't. I loved to eat. I also loved to play and dance and run and move (even in my sleep I'm told).

    It seems to me that the pertinent question is whether the comments are bothering your daughter or not. Skinny comments didn't bother me, but flat chested comments did. It's one thing to tell people to take a hike, and to tell your daughter their dumb comments don't matter. It's another thing altogether for her to actually take that to heart and believe it.

    In my opinion, girls (probably boys too but I can't speak for them never having been one) can get through almost anything hurtful if they have a healthy identity they are proud of to buoy them back up when they get torn down.

    For example, in high school I knew I was smart. When everything else fell apart, that was something no one could take away from me. I may have been too skinny, flat chested with imperfect skin and been cut from the varsity cheerleading squad, but at least I was smart. That was an identity that wasn't going to change any time in the foreseeable future.

    As I grew, I added to that identity as I became a good photographer and a good lighting designer and a good teacher etc. Eventually, I also noticed that dancing with my body type was MUCH easier than trying to dance with other body types and I actually learned to appreciate it.

    The waves of body image torment never entirely go away for us females, but stores of strength reserved from successes in other arenas can help us ride those waves without too much difficulty.

    Good luck.

  6. Cynthia, you hit it right on the head: uninformed and unsolicited...Kristen "You can tell all those psychoanalysts to take a long walk off a short cliff."- classic :)...Kristeee:"Make her a shirt that says "I'm skinnier than you" or something. hehe."- I have a t-shirt shop, and I just found my latest product...Marie, thanks for recognizing that I actually have a clue toward parenting :)...Mammmaaa! It's nice to know that someone is out there with an idea that people's big, unwelcome mouths can inflict harm well beyond the moment of ignorance.


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