"Your belly is really fat. Maybe you should exercise a little more. Or eat less."
Shocking isn't it. This surely isn't something that's someone said out loud, to another person?
But it is. It is what was said to my daughter, who is a perfectly healthy toddler, following her growth scales and who's just gorgeous. She was but 2,5 at the time. And those hurtful words were spoken to her by someone she loves, her grandmother.
|Image: Oana Hogrefe Photography|
"Pretty girls wear dresses."
"You should do something to your hair, it's a mess."
I am not just making it up as I go along. These are actual sentences that have been uttered to my sweet daughter.
When it comes to children, it seems like all boundaries are overboard. People permit themselves to say the harshest things, in order to "mold" the children to the image they have of how a child should be and behave. Irrespective of what that child might want. Irrespective of how much it might hurt or shame them, and even irrespective of what the parents might think of it (because if a child is running around naked, clearly the parents are ok with that).
When it comes to children, there is no respect, there is no courtesy, and there is no holding back. All limits are off.
Do people think children have no feelings? That they are not hurt by such disrespect and shaming. Do they really think it might actually be beneficial?
And girls get it worse then boys, when it comes to appearance (let's not talk about character here). If they run around with uncombed hair and stains on their clothes, hey: boys will be boys.
But girls? They need to be molded from the very start to know they have to diet, watch their posture, look good... Women have been fighting to dissipate stereotypes for centuries, but it is mostly women who maintain these ideas in each other. The importance of the female appearance is so important in our culture, that no one even notices this perversion any more.
If we would come from a place of acceptance and respect, no child would have to be shamed, or made to feel less than.