Mothers and Body Images
Where I live in Westchester there are tons of stick-thin women with stick-thin daughters. Which leads me to wonder: how can parents ensure they’re raising a daughter that is happy with her body image and one that does not ask for the gift of liposuction before she turns 16?
Sarah Maria Dreisbach, body image expert and founder of Break-free Beauty, explains that many women are at war with their bodies. Ã¢â‚¬Å“In a culture that worships thin, young, fit, and perfect, few of us can measure up. We’ve passed that dissatisfaction about ourselves on to our children. And they are paying the price.”
As you probably know, eating disorders are now the third most common chronic illness in adolescent girls and have the highest death rate associated with any mental illness.Ã‚Â Research suggests that approximately 1% of female adolescents have anorexia, and approximately 4% of college-age women have bulimia.Ã‚Â According to statistics posted by the National Institute on Media and the Family, 53% of American girls are unhappy with their bodies by age 13. That figure increases to a staggering 78% by the time girls reach 17.
Sarah Maria advises to honestly address our childrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s concerns that we need to face our own demons first. Are we really unworthy if we aren’t fit and toned? Are we only loveable if we are shapely and un-wrinkled, un-blemished? Must we (and our daughters) be perfect to deserve space in the world?
“We have to deal with our own body loathing, at whatever level, before we can help the next generations,” notes Sarah Maria.Ã‚Â “Only then can we make a stand for true beauty that is not dependent on dress-size.”