Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Weighty Issue

Someone once told me that each dawning day deposits something into the memory banks of our children. Lately, it is daunting to think what is being put in–or more correctly shoved in --my children’s memory banks with all the attention a young celebrity has received. Singer and reality star, Jessica Simpson, has been the talk of the tabloids lately for a picture of her sporting a less than flattering pair of jeans and a high-waisted belt. Soon headlines such as “Jessica Simpson’s Weighty Issue” and “Jessica’s Weight-gate” screamed from every newsstand in every grocery store.
The fact that a young lady who is most likely a size 6 is being scrutinized for being overweight is concerning enough. But what is even more upsetting is how this perpetuates the message the media keeps feeding our daughters about body size. Is it not bad enough that too many stars appear to starve themselves to maintain a look that is little more than a walking corpse with too much make-up? Don’t girls have enough to process from every teen “beauty” magazine that promises them the perfect diet and the perfect exercise for the perfect body?
The media plays lip service to preventing eating disorders, informing young girls of the perils of becoming obsessed with body image. Campaigns like Dove’s Real Beauty ads pop up to attempt to remind us that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. And then, faster than you can say, “anorexia nervosa”, society spends days analyzing and criticizing the eating and exercise habits of a young woman who dared to display a figure that was not the shape of a broom stick.
My college freshman daughter said she and her roommate saw the picture in question before it became fodder for editorial cartoonists and late-night talk show hosts everywhere. At the time, the girls’ reaction was simply, “That’s not a flattering belt.” Now, thanks to the media’s obsession with perceived perfection, they both have had deposits made in their memory banks to hammer home the American belief that, indeed, one can never be too thin.
To our young women everywhere, that can turn in to the weightiest issue of all.


Anonymous said...

So true. When will Hollywood realize that there is room for "all" shapes and sizes in "their world". Go Jessica! Joan

Anonymous said...

I felt the same when I heard it. We have to watch what our kids are hearing from the media and from us. Well said.