Welcome to the October edition of Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Body Awareness.
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted Authentic Parenting. This month our participants are sharing how they activelyinfluence their children's body awareness and how they experience their own! Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
A couple of days ago, my daughter walked into the room as I was typing and said: "Mom, my calves have gotten so fat! Look at them!"
Kind of baffled and without a second thought, I said to her: "No honey, your calves are not fat, they're beautiful!"
|Image: Laura Lewis 23|
And then it hit me! I had just juxtaposed fat and beautiful, as if they were opposites!
That's what we do in our culture: fat is the opposite of beautiful, fat is the opposite of active, fat is the opposite of smart. In a nutshell, fat is the epitome of all negative qualities one can attribute to a person.
But I thought I was above that. I thought I at least knew that fat shaming is silly and cultural and plain bad judgement. And there I go, so fearful that my daughter might think she's fat that I go and hand her the very tool that will make her shun fat and put fat in another category altogether.
My daughter has been raised in Africa her whole life, and for her fat is not an insult. Fat is an attribute of wealth and health. Fat is quite the opposite to her as Western culture makes us believe.
All she was trying to tell me is that her calves have gotten so muscular - and they have (yes, in Sub-Saharan Africa, strong/muscular and fat are interchangeable words, isn't that a refreshing change).
Fat is not an insult.
Fat is just a word. It is the opposite of skinny, if anything, but it should not have any other connotation than that.
If anything, I am grateful that this experience has made me think. Has made me knowledgeable that I have to weigh my words carefully when speaking to my daughter about her body, and that I am not rid of the notions passé don to me by my culture.
Have you ever found your words slipping into stereotypes? How do you actively avoid them?
- Skin Color and the Mixed Race Child - As a mother of a mixed race child whose skin tone falls between her mother and father’s, Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama tackles the tough question of “is my skin light or dark mama?” You can also find Hybrid Rasta Mama on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
- Know Your Body - Momma Jorje shares one way she encourages body awareness and autonomy in her children. You can also follow Momma Jorje on Facebook.
- Fat is Just a Word - Laura tries to actively debunk the negative connotations of the word 'fat' after a shocking discovery, on Authentic Parenting. You can also find Authentic Parenting on Facebook and Twitter.
- Your Body is Beautiful Now - Lauren at Hobo Mama offers your body a love poem. You can also find Hobo Mama on Facebook and Twitter.
- Does Your Daughter Feel Beautiful - DeAnna L’am of Red Moon School of Empowerment for Women and Girls writes about how Moms can model self acceptance and a strong body image for their daughters.