Body Image and Social Media

There is a disturbing trend lately in social media, or should I say there is a new disturbing trend, there are already a lot of disturbing things out there. It seems that young girls are making videos of themselves and asking the world if they are pretty or not.

As one girl said, she got several sweet comments but then the nasty ones started. At a time when all young girls are struggling with body and self image this is one of the worst things I can imagine. I certainly don’t want my daughters image of herself shaped by random strangers who think she is not pretty enough, or thin enough or, of all things, sexy enough.

I’ve always worried about my daughters self image. You hear on the news every day about girls who mutilate themselves, starve themselves and even commit suicide because of what other people think of them. Our daughters are so fragile and I worried that because I’m a single mother and Hailey did not have enough contact with her father that she would look outside of herself and our family for acceptance.

How can we help? First, we women need to get it together! Our daughters believe what they see and hear us do. If we say our thighs are fat or we inherited a big bottom from our mothers, they are going to remember that and internalize it. When Hailey was worried about being too fat as a young teenager I talked to her about how important it is to be healthy, no matter what your weight.

Remind your daughter that her body is a gift and it is unlike anyone elses. It is strong and beautiful, inside and out. The more we take care of the inside the better we will look and feel. Our body can’t do all the wonderful things we need it to do if we don’t feed it properly.

Get your daughter involved in things that have nothing to do with body image, sports, gymnastics and dance are great, but most of those girls look a certain way. Instead find things that your daughter loves to do that are not body centric. Maybe she can sing with the youth choir at church, or volunteer at the animal shelter, or read to elderly people

Most of all, change your own focus. If you are constantly complaining about your weight or your thighs or anything else, your daughter will mimic your behavior.

Curtail social media and explain to your daughter that sometimes people online will say really hurtful things because they feel safe behind their computer screen and are unhappy themselves so they transfer that unhappiness to someone else. Most of all remind her that she is so much more than what someone sees on the outside.