Lesson 22: Body Acceptance for Kids
I recently read that many girls start dieting when they are 8 years old. This pissed me off for two reasons ... one, because 8-year-olds should not be thinking about their figures, and two, that skinny 8-year-olds are probably judging me at the pool. Both of these are unsettling, and as parents, we need to put a stop to it. I get judged enough from grown-ups, thankyouverymuch.
When I was 12, every girl in my class wanted to have boobs big enough that they could hold a pencil under them. I suggested just storing your pencil behind your ear, because otherwise it would be very awkward to get to it during math, but then they explained that it was just a way to measure if your boobs were big enough. Big enough for who? I have no idea, and I’m pretty sure none of the other girls did either. Nonetheless, we all became obsessed with the pencil measurement. A few decades later and I can now carry a hammer and two small birds under a single breast. And guess what? No one cares. Except for me, that is, because I now have to carry around these enormous knockers. Do you have any idea how nice it would be to just take these boobs off for a night or two? Big boobs are like giant purses you can never put down. No one tells you this when you’re 12.
But here’s something I will tell you ... there is a pattern to body acceptance that comes with age. It’s over-generalized and I just made it up, but that doesn’t make it less true. Here it is:
- What babies think about their bodies: I have a body?
- What toddlers think about their bodies: Why can’t I get this to work?
- What little boys think about their bodies: I can pee standing up. I am obsessed with my penis.
- What little girls think about their bodies: I am beautiful. When do I get my wings?
- What pre-teen boys think about their bodies: What the fuck is happening?
- What pre-teen girls think about their bodies: This is going to happen EVERY MONTH?
- What teen boys think about their bodies: I can pee standing up. I am obsessed with my penis.
- What teen girls think about their bodies: I am hideous and I wish I looked like that girl.
- What men think about their bodies: I can pee standing up. I am obsessed with my penis.
- What women think about their bodies: I am hideous and I wish I looked like I did when I was a teenager.
- What old men think about their bodies: What the hell happened to my penis?
- What old women think about their bodies: Fuck you. I’m awesome.
But here’s the deal ... whether you’re a girl or a boy, you’re probably going to be overly-sensitive about your appearance at some point. You will obsess over whatever it is that you think is so obvious to everyone else, except that mostly no one else will never notice because they’re too busy obsessing about whatever flaw they think they have.
Sometimes people will make fun of you. This is not because you deserve to be made fun of. It’s because some people are assholes. When I was in junior high, kids called me “Fievel Mousekewitz” because I had this wonky ear that stuck out, but now I love my wonky ear. It makes me special. Plus, if I’m ever mauled by bears, it will help my family identify my body.
Bottom line? If you could see how beautiful you truly are, you would be amazed. Wear yourself -- flaws and all -- with pride, because you are stunning. And if anyone says any different, it's probably just because they’re ugly.
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