Dear Meg: Body Image

Jess McGlynnJanuary 4, 2013
I know you are too young to understand this now but I wanted to write this whilst the feelings were still fresh.  You see, mummy recently saw a picture being shared around Facebook which upset her quite a lot.  It was a picture which stated that skinny women were unnatural and that men only like big women.

Now, my secret idealistic dream is that by the time you reach school the world will have given up on its categorisation of female body types.  That we will be inclusive and accepting of everyone, no matter how they look.  That you won’t have to experience the taunts and teasings that formed a daily part of my teenage existence simply because of the shape of my body. 

I know lots of women who wish they were thinner.  I know lots of women who wish they had more curves.  I wish I knew a world where we weren’t smacked in the face every day by the media telling us how we should look and how we should dress.  I wish I didn’t pick up magazines on a regular basis and read articles like “I’m letting my 16 year old daughter have a boob job” because I WISH it didn’t matter what we all looked like.  I can’t tell you how much I want that world for you.

If you end up looking the way I do Meg then I promise to tell you every day how beautiful you are.  I promise to counteract every insult that might pass your ears with 100 of my own positive uplifting comments.  I promise that you won’t have to sit up at night crying alone because you’ve been pinned against the wall so that the boys in class could check whether you were a boy, or called “ironing board chest” and a hundred other pointless, soul destroying insults and I promise to be the voice shouting loudly against mothers in the supermarket who feel it’s acceptable to say to their daughters “that’s what will happen to you if you don’t eat, look how ugly she is.”

There is so much more to life than the way we look.  I won’t pretend that my experiences haven’t left me insecure.  I have been so lucky to find your daddy.  Someone who loves me and who reminds me on a daily basis how beautiful I am to him.  Unfortunately I do still have moments when I squeeze my eyes tight shut and wish that I could look a different way, be a different way.  In my weaker moments I have even taken to the internet and researched ways to change my body shape but then I remember that the way I look doesn’t determine the person I am.

I can’t protect you from hearing the words of foolish people.  I can’t promise that the world will have changed one iota when it comes to the prejudices and stereotypes of body image, but I can tell you that it doesn’t matter.  I want you to grow up and learn not to focus on physical beauty but on what you can offer the world as a whole person.  Because I know you have the potential to be a world changer.

There are some amazing women who have done outstanding things throughout history.  I can’t say as to whether they ever had days when they looked in the mirror and thought “what’s the point?” but I do know that they didn’t let anything deter them from showing the world who they were.  Research these women Meg, learn about them and emulate them.  Don’t be held back by the voices of those few blinkered individuals who find it amusing to put you down.  I wish I hadn’t taken so many of the comments to heart. 

Love you always, my beautiful precious girl.

Mummy xx

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