Sunday, November 2, 2008

Protecting our Girls

Recently a friend told me she was concerned about her middle daughter, because she has been "putting on weight."

She is one of three lovely teenaged girls. They are all beautiful, bright and talented. They do well in school and are dancers who take part in their school's dance team.

The youngest, at 14, is 5'3" and weighs 98 pounds. The eldest, at 17, is so thin that size zero dresses hang on her. The middle child, the one who Mom is concerned about? She's 5'4" and is tipping the scales at 118.

Her mom was worried because the jeans she bought in August are getting snug. She's gained SO MUCH weight that her pants are too tight! Horrors!

I didn't quite know what to say to my friend, whom I love dearly. All I could come up with when she told me she finally had her daughter get on the scale to verify how much she'd gained lately was a lame, "Well, she's certainly in the normal range. Why don't you just matter-of-factly tell her you'll get her some new jeans?"

I'm concerned, not just about my friend and her daughters, but about all of our girls. Why is it that we "worry" that we are simply too fat when we are just normal?

Pressure is so great to conform to a certain standard. I know that my friend, who is extraordinarily attractive, a size six, and an avid hater of her thighs, still struggles with body image at age 45. She loves her daughters and worries that they stay healthy and love themselves. But is her "concern" really healthy?

Don't our girls deserve better than this?