“It makes me look fat.”
Those are the words that I just heard an 8 year old utter.
I actually can’t process much more than that at the moment. She was there with her 6 year old sister and her mom. We’d just gone through the arduous task of trying to find her an outfit to buy (for no reason other than “because,” mind you). There was a black lace skirt that she loved but she couldn’t agree with her mom on a top to match it.
I told her that one day, when she was the one paying, she could buy whatever she wanted. I mean I really think that she should be able to wear whatever she wants, within reason. So the black top wasn’t the same black as the skirt (they were totally the same though). Like really? She’s 8.
An 8 year old is already concerned about being fat. I absolutely cannot with this city right now. I can’t.
For the record, this child had absolutely no logical reason to feel this way and I promise you, her mother was just as horrified as I was when she said that.
I don’t remember much about my life at 8 years old except I liked horses and Harry Potter wasn’t a big deal yet. What I can tell you though is that I definitely didn’t have any concept of fat or skinny and I definitely didn’t already have body issues. I guess that’s one of the perks of growing up in the middle of nowhere?
It makes me think about where this girl got this sort of idea in her head, that fat is even a thing. I mean she’s only 8! It’s possible that she learned from her mother, but for some reason, I doubt it. That leaves media, but again, she’s 8. What could she possibly have access to that would give her the idea that she needs to be concerned with her weight?
The only somewhat logical conclusion that I can come up with is that she learned from her peers, who learned it from their own mothers. Maybe their mothers are terrible, vain hags who genuinely believe appearance is the only thing that matters. Maybe they’ve already started ingraining that into their daughters’ minds.
Or maybe they don’t have a clue. Maybe they innocently enough perpetuate this false notion that your weight determines your value. It’s completely possible. I’m not even sure which is worse; doing it on purpose or being completely unaware.
Either way, it sucks, and it needs to stop.