Sunday, October 11, 2009

Shopping for Self

Thank you all so, so much for all your comments and encouragements over my 'weighty' post! Everyone offered up so much encouragement, be it book titles, strategies, or simply just support, and I am so grateful. Those of you who said that you were 'no help' are dead wrong: even just concerned words of caring are really, really helpful, because as Josie and I start down this path of, god help me, Tweenage Discovery, I'm going to need all the support I can get! Most of our IRL friends' children are younger, and those who have kids the same age have boys, so we're kind of bobbing along on this river on our own.

AND, your comments are all just in time, too, because today Josie and I are going (cringe) clothes shopping. Those of you with eyes will have seen that girls' clothing has gotten pretty slutty clingy and stretchy over the past year or so. Do the people who design these clothes have daughters?! Or are they just pedophiles still adolescent boys, hoping to see an outline of something? Because that's certainly what a lot of these clothes look like. Not only are these clothes inappropriate, but they also serve to perpetuate the 'what should I look like' worries at an even earlier age. I find the shirts particularly puzzling, since most of them are about a yard long, and four inches wide until you stretch them out with whatever budding attributes these girls may have. Why do clothing designers want our young girls' bodies displayed so intimately in public?

I digress.

Because Josie is short, many jeans drag on the ground on her. I could cut them off, but most jeans have designs on the legs now, and cutting the legs means cutting close to or through an embellishment. Thankfully, many stores have started carrying 'plus sizes' (there's a fun term for girls to get used to at an eary age) in girls' departments, so shopping for my short, sturdy girl isn't as hard as it used to be. Shirts, however, are a problem, since there aren't lengths to choose from, which means they, and their necklines, plunge south. Gulp.

I have a feeling that in the dressing rooms today, with the lovely lighting and multi-angled mirrors that make even the best of us want to jump off of a bridge (or into a pint of B&J), the topic of body sizes and scales will come up. I'm going to try and let her do a lot of the talking, or at least bring out what it is that she's got floating around in her head (so I don't give her even more ideas), and then talk about how important it is that she *is* different. Besides perhaps being heavier than some of the other children, she is also smarter, more musically talented, and able to do a ton of pushups. None of her friends is exactly like one of the others, or even remotely physically the same as the other girls, and none are as good as she is at what she does. Not to mention, none of them has her killer eyes and dimples.

The most important thing, though, will be impressing upon her she cannot let others tell her who or what she is. We all have doubts and insecurities. Her biggest job is to define her own self, and her opinions are more important than anyone else's, even mine or DH's. Some people will pander to her, and others will try to pull her down, and she can choose to walk away from them, or carry them, unquestioning, with her always.


Swistle said...

OMG, what IS it with the sexy shirts??? Elizabeth, age 4, has JUST crossed over to the "bigger girl" section from the toddler section, and WHAT IS WITH all these size-4 shirts with little cinches to accentuate the imaginary bosoms?? It! makes! me! crazy!

ALW said...

Me too, we have a dress I hate for my four year old to wear because it accentuates her chest. WHAT???

Also, I feel for you, because my daughter is four, and although neither she nor I are overweight, I dealt with and still deal with MAJOR body issues, and worry how I will deal with hers in the future. Here's my plan: fake it.

I try to emphasize fitness over thinness and sports as a lifestyle. When I run, I discuss how I am getting fitter, and I try hard not to discuss my weight when my kids are listening, or to make exasperated noises in the mirror. I also try to model body confidence by being comfortable being seen naked by immediate family members and viewing bodies as physical machines rather than ornaments.

Also, not to be preachy, just to offer helpful support; I try to model a healthy relationship with food. I try not to offer or use food as an emotional band-aid. And although we eat way too much junk food, I try to make clear that junk foods are treats and that fruits and vegetables are appropriate snacks. Then I hide in the kitchen and polish off the last of the cookies.

Good luck to you, its going to be a tough road for all mothers with daughters.

Anonymous said...

I keep hoping the nun look will come back into style b/c slutty young girls is so freaking awful. Who is designing this shit??

Nowheymama said...

We have the best luck ordering from catalogs like Land's End, etc. But then, K. prefers sportier looking clothing. Thank GOD.

Hotch Potchery said...