Blog of the Week – Being Fat

Blog_of_the_week_badgeOur Blog of the Week this week comes from Mummy Barrow who was inspired to write about our constant scrutiny of our own bodies after reading a related article that made her cry.

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I do a lot of reading on the internet. In fact the vast majority of my reading I do online. Downloaded books, magazines I subscribe too, even my daily edition of the Times, all delivered to my Nexus. It is rare, therefore, that I read something that makes me sit up and think, and then burst into tears.

Yesterday, however, I did just that.

ID-10028321Over a blog post that was linked to in a Tweet.  Written by somebody I have never heard of before.   Do go and read it but please come back.  I will wait for you:  When your mother says she is fat

Now this is not an article I empathise with because it was my childhood, far from it.  My mum has an enviable figure (she doesn’t stand still long enough for fat to stick to her) so it is not how I feel about my mum.   But I can imagine my children thinking it.  And I can see many other people saying it of their own mothers.   I can see my own children having written it.

It is a truly powerful post.

I wish Samantha Brick could read it.   Especially this bit:

I learned that women must be thin to be valid and worthy. Girls must go without because their greatest contribution to the world is their physical beauty

When did that happen?  When did we start judging people so heavily on their appearance?  And when did we start hating ourselves so much?

I ran a bit of a “no scientific basis” experiment yesterday by asking friends to describe first of all, themselves in one word.   There were many adjectives used, including:

busy / content / talkative / complicated / stressed / mum / underestimated / knackered / forgetful / worthless / unstable / chunky / needy / useless / stressy.

Then I asked that group of friends to describe one other friend in a single word:

feisty / reassuring / gorgeous / talented / huggable / fun / lovely / strong / kind / awesome / clever / supportive / caring / epic / inspiring / warm.

Not one negative in that second list.  Not one of those words referring to body shape.   Why is that?

Why are we so quick to highlight the negative in ourselves when that is just not how others see us?

As parents what does this say to our children when we use such negative terms towards ourselves, even if in a jokey way.   I often joke about being fat.

Not anymore.

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Do you ever talk about/moan about your weight in front of your children? Do you try hard to send positive messages to them on body image and self esteem? Do read the blog post that inspired this Blog of the Week and let us know what you think about this issue.

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5 Responses to Blog of the Week – Being Fat

  1. You make a good argument. Instead of even joking about such things, taking your approach may help you and hopefully others around you start to feel more positively about yourselves. I may try this but I can’t help but call myself fat when I eat two doughnuts… Because in my mind that is me being fat… Although I guess there is a difference between being fat and doing fattening activities…

  2. Clare says:

    Great, thought provoking blog, I am mum to two beautiful boys and I feel strongly that we are just as responsible for bringing boys up to have a positive self image and self esteem-we tell them every day how great they are and we even sometimes stop to congratulate ourselves on the great job we are doing!

  3. Woah! When you put it into 2 paragraphs those 2 sets of words are so contrasting! If only we could see ourselves more often as others see us! I too read that post and it really brought me up short.

  4. Emma says:

    My Mumsy is a wonderful woman in every way, but I did eventually have to ask her to stop criticising her own figure. I think she’s beautiful – that body and brain raised four children, produced spectacular artwork and maintained full time employment for over 30 years. Worth celebrating, yeah?

  5. babyloniangirl says:

    you certainly have hit a nerve. Just today my 9 year old daughter who is stick thin tried on a new pair of trousers. She came back and said she didn’t like them as “her bum looked fat in them”! She obviously has been watching and listening to how I describe myself when trying out clothes or getting ready to go out…very distressing, the last thing i want is for her to develop anorexia! It really made me think how careful I need to be in front of her and other kids.

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