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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. “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.  Research suggests that approximately 1% of female adolescents have anorexia, and approximately 4% of college-age women have bulimia.  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 children’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.  “Only then can we make a stand for true beauty that is not dependent on dress-size.”

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008 at 1:12 pm by Jeanne Muchnick. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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The blog of two busy, multi-tasking moms on balancing work and family (and still getting dinner — even if it’s take-out) on the table!

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About the authors
Jeanne MuchnickJeanne Muchnick is a multi-tasking mama who's been writing about her two girls ever since they were born. She's the former Editor of Baby Magazine turned InTown Senior Editor whose parenting stories have also appeared in a variety of national consumer magazines including Woman's Day, Healthy Kids, Parents, Parenting, Pregnancy, FamilyFun and more. She lives in Larchmont, NY with her two girls: Corey, 14 and Sydney, 11, her husband, Mark and her flat coated retriever, Chip.
Mary Lynn
MitchamMary Lynn Mitcham, the editor-in-chief of InTown Westchester, is new to the mom scene. Her son, Owen, was born on the Fourth of July, 2006. Needless to say, she's still trying to figure out how to get herself - and her son - dressed and fed and still make it on time to work. Before she joined InTown and motherhood, she worked as a senior editor at Travel Holiday magazine and has freelanced for several publications including Parenting, Adoptive Families, Bridal Guide, Boating, Men's Fitness, and more. She lives in Westchester with her new baby and her husband, Adam.
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