Media Influences: Weight

Last night I took an hour to myself to watch America’s Next Top Model.  Yes, I watch it every week and only started watching it during the last “cycle”.  I say I watch it because I have an interest in fashion and it gives me some names to look into but let’s face it…there really isn’t much in the way of fashion, unless meat clothing is the newest rave that I haven’t noticed. (Imagine the women running down the street, clutching their latest meat purse as a pack of hungry dogs chase them…enough said.)

No, America’s Next Top Model is one of those guilty little pleasures but it doesn’t seem to have as many calories.  Still, as I watch these shows, I shudder at the messages that young girls are getting over body image.  These girls that are deemed “beautiful” are a size 1 (and that is probably pushing it.)  They are stick thin and although they are very pretty, they shouldn’t be what women aspire to become.

I know that they have episodes where they stress eating and they try to show the girls eating at least 3 times in a show but you have judges making comments about being overweight.  One such inference was when a judge commented on Whitney, the plus sized model, being a ham.

Now plus sized models get to me as well, for the simple fact that they are regular sized women that are called plus sized.  Whitney is a size 11 and since when is a size 11 a plus sized clothing line.

So where am I going with this rant?  Very simply put, it is important to notice how media is influencing your children.  There is no way to really shield them since skinny women are every where in magazines and on commercials.  Girls aspire to be thin and beautiful and corporations bank on that.

Since you can’t shield your child, even your teen.  It is important to discuss healthy weight and how to maintain it.  If your daughter is worried about becoming overweight, discuss a meal plan at home where everyone can eat healthy and stay fit.  You could also enrol in a exercise class so you can keep an eye on how she is managing her weight.  If she gets too skinny, you have the knowledge to intervene and get her back on track.

Above all else, tell your daughter that she is beautiful and that being too skinny isn’t beautiful at all.

I will have more information on healthy weights, body images and other issues that concern media and how it affects children over the next few weeks.

Until then, happy and healthy eating.

-Sirena Van Schaik

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