Why can’t I look like her??
It was recently Fashion Week in Sydney. So what does this mean to us non fashionistas and fashion conscious parents alike as well as our often gullible, impressionable off-spring??
“I want to look like her,” said of the waif-thin, stick-figure semblance of a young woman strutting in the newest of trends. As well as the catwalk she can be found in fashion magazines, on television; on blogs, in fact any form of social media that is made available to us.
She has protruding cheek bones; which might be OK; except for the fact that every other bone in her body also protrudes. This, in my opinion is not a good look. However in the eyes of my beautiful 18 year old client; this model is the epitome of beauty, someone to be admired and copied.
This widely accepted concept of”perfection” is unattainable for the masses and a dangerous game of comparison ensues.
One result of this is a massive problem for our youth; children and teenagers alike all wishing to look, like “her.” No doubt hearing their mums and dads also wishing and comparing themselves. Consequently; mental health issues, eating disorders, excessive exercise and even drastic surgery run rife.
There was once a famous line that went something like, “there are only 20 supermodels in the world” and I feel that comment has relevance here. It is a staunch reminder that genetics are what they are; for both good and bad. It is so incredibly important for us all to know, remember and teach our children; that genetics can not be compared. This is as true inside the body as it is out. So although there are some human beings on this earth that are quite simply genetically blessed individuals; who may or may not make a living from their appearance; this does not mean that we need to measure our own appearance; confidence and wellbeing as a result.
It is also worth pointing out that the remainder of the modelling world; not the rare supermodel breed; presents a pretty toxic environment to onlookers. Skipped meals, extreme dieting, drugs and alcohol, no exercise, a party-lifestyle and somehow this is all “glamourised” for us to then wish for. Of course there will be countless models who are so far removed from this though let’s be honest – their stories do NOT make for media nor are they generally what our kids are longing to be.
As parents, it becomes increasingly frustrating and often an impossibility to talk sense to our kids. Though as mentioned above; added to this dilemma is that all too often Mum and/or Dad need to address their own issues related to food, exercise, weight loss and a healthy lifestyle first.
I recall my girls in their teenage years, shunning the healthy options and carrying the puppy fat so common in the early-to-late teen years. I knew that this would eventually disappear as they grew and developed, though to them it was an issue. Self-esteem and confidence in their appearance was greatly affected; there were baggy t-shirts and other loose clothing to hide perceived flaws as well as observing the much-desired skinny models in magazines. Sound familiar?
Being the health nut that I was/am and without there being any weight issues in our family history, it stood to reason that my girls would outgrow the puppy fat stage and dieting was never an option. It was never discussed in our house. Rather, regular exercise and outdoor activities were encouraged along with a good eating plan at home. Of course treats were consumed but regarded as such and kept to a minimum.
Had I enforced, or even discussed dieting and badgered the girls on their appearance; I think more harm than good would have evolved down the track both emotionally and mentally, with their attitude to weight and food consumption.
As parents I feel it is imperative that we observe our own attitudes to exercise and food before inflicting any dramatic changes upon our kids. We should think twice before suggesting that our children should “go on a diet” OR ” visit a personal trainer”.
Send me your thoughts – I love the feedback that I get!!