Sunday, January 27, 2013

It's Not About the Weight. Until It Is.

Today I'm out and about with my daughter when she sees a picture of a model wearing a mint green coat. She comments that the coat is pretty, and I agree. She mentions that she thinks the coat is meant to fit skinnier women than me. I say, "Perhaps."

After a moment, she tells me, "Momma, I hope I'm skinny when I grow up. Not 'well-tended' like you."


We proceed to discuss the difference between merely skinny and healthy, making good choices about exercise and food. Trying to set aside my wounded pride, I worry that she's buying into Girl Culture already. The thing is, when I was young, I was on the taller side and developed quickly. I wore my first bra in the fourth grade. Even while I was dancing, I still wore a size 12 pants. I'm curvy and always have been. Chances are that my girl will not be model-thin either. My mom tried to warn me that everything would be okay, that she felt this way at one time, but I still felt fat, horsey. I have the feeling history will repeat itself, and that makes me sad.

And I have to admit my own part in Girl Culture. I felt myself smoldering in anger at her comment even though I don't think she meant it to be mean. But I could feel that urge to indulge in passive aggressive behaviors. For good or ill, I came clean with her. I told her that her comment really hurt my feelings; I said it made me think I wasn't pretty to her. She said she did think I was pretty. I told her that I loved her no matter what, and I that I forgive her for her comment. I'm afraid this didn't lessen the looks versus character struggle. But I felt the honesty was more important to our relationship.

When I relayed the story to Mister, he said, "Can we at least give her credit for using 'well-tended' instead of  'fat' or 'chubby'?"

Little victories, I guess. At least it keeps me humble.