I’m watching Pushy And Proud: Diet Crazy Mums. It is making me feel sad.
I believe healthy eating is important, and as I have mentioned in previous blogs I like to exercise and keep myself healthy, however I am also a comfortable size 12 who likes pizza and maltesers. As with all things in life, I believe in balance.
Watching mums telling their beautiful healthy daughters that they’re fat, that the need to lose weight to be beautiful, and forcing them to exercise obsessively makes me feel sick with worry for the mental stability of the daughters, let alone the mothers. To convince a girl that she won’t be beautiful unless she looks like the photoshopped models in the magazines, who are usually unhealthily underweight, is quite frankly dangerous.
We live in an incredibly image obsessed world with the numbers of people with eating disorders rising just as the number of people with obesity problems rise. Young people are being fed a constant diet of mixed messages. Incredibly skinny women being lorded as the figures of perfection alongside a barrage of fast food, and the pressure to look that way which is for most impossible, which causes stress which makes you want to eat comfort food. If we were able to take a step back and accept that yes, eating healthily and exercising is good, but so is having treats and relaxing, and not everything is about looking “perfect”.
We aren’t all designed to have a tiny body, some of us are naturally slim, others are naturally curvy, and most of us fall somewhere in the middle which is fine as long as you’re healthy, and I believe teaching our children that fact is essential. But as well as teaching them the importance of a healthy body, regardless of the shape and size, we need to stop our children from believing that looks are everything! It’s wonderful if you’re beautiful physically, you’re lucky, but beauty fades. I want to teach Rose to be an interesting person, a caring, loving, loyal person. Someone who is funny and smart, knows about the world and is happy to be a part of it. To focus all your energy on your looks and size is ultimately leaving you with most of your life as an undeveloped person. If you put no time into developing your personality and skills then when the time comes that your body and looks give way to age, pregnancy or illness, you will have nothing left to offer the world. You will be an empty, formally beautiful, shell. To be valued and respected only for your looks will mean that when they’re gone the people who valued you for them will similarly leave.
I will make sure Rose grows up eating healthily and exercising in a fun way, not an aggressive way, that she will know about food and where it comes from, how to cook and why vegetables and fruit are important. But I will also make sure that when she has a pizza, or a packet of crisps, or (gasp) a can of cola, that she doesn’t feel she’s disgusting and ugly. To teach a child otherwise is, I believe, tantamount to abuse.
You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and The Boy (Jonathan McKinney) and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.
Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!