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Talking to Your Children About Body Shaming

This past February on Super Bowl Sunday (2017) we watched an amazing half-time performance by the performer Lady Gaga.  Love her or hate her, I'm sure you are familiar with many of her popular songs and found yourself humming along.  Social media blew up about her performance and once she shed her bodysuit for a pair of football pads and briefs, the incredibly fit 30-year old's stomach became a HUGE topic of conversation.

There was even someone who posted an image of a Pillsbury dough roll busting open and said that it looked like Lady Gaga's belly.  I was horrified when I saw this in the news and on my social media feed.  If Lady Gaga was considered fat, what does that mean about my body?  This type of body shaming is so prevalent and it got me thinking about young people today.  The fact that both men and women were making these comments about her and how these trolls thought it was okay to make hurtful comments like these. It reminded me why I do what I do.  How important it is to talk to young people about the unrealistic ideals we have about how bodies are supposed to look. Lady Gaga is a healthy weight and if we feel that is "fat" we are in trouble.  I was incredibly proud how she responded to these ridiculous comments with such class.

This made me like her so much more! She understood that what she was hearing on social media wasn't about her. Most mean people are reflecting their own critical thoughts onto others. Someone who is happy about their body doesn't feel the need to shame or put down others about imperfections about their own bodies. They realize that nobody is perfect and we are all perfectly imperfect and that's okay!

For you parents out there...it is becoming increasingly important to talk to your children about the unrealistic ideals that exist in our culture about the perfect body. Both your boys and your girls. In this day and age of Photo Shop, many images and even video footage is touched up and made to look flawless.  This is not real and we need to understand how these images effect our ideals of beauty. It reminds me of this great video that the Dove Campaign for Beauty put out years ago.



There are other great resources out there that talk about how media influences our culture. "Killing us Softly" by Jean Kilbourne is another classic.




Please take advantage of the teachable moments that are around us everyday to have these critical conversations with your children to help them process how our definitions of beauty are greatly influenced by media. Show them videos that explain how images are altered or take classes like The Talk Institute's "Beauty Inside & Out" courses to help bring these issues to light. We all want our children to be healthy and happy. To love their bodies and know how to take good care of them. To be loving and kind to others and to be the best versions of themselves they can be. If you have any tips for other parents or have an experience you'd like to share, please comment below. I wish you and your families nothing but the best. 


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