According to the Urban Dictionary, Sizist ~
The belief that body weight, size or type accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular body weight, size or type is superior to others.
A couple of years ago my 2 year old told me, upon seeing a Victoria Secret Angel commercial, “Mommy, when I grow up I want to look like her.” I was a bit taken aback. But then I thought, she’s 2! 2?
Surely, she’s seeing pretty colors on a beautiful girl dressed like a fairy. Yeah, I can see why a 2 year old who spends her days playing dress up would want to be a real life grown up fairy. It’s an easy leap to make for a 2 year old.
I didn’t think about it again. Until now.
It was one of those pieces of Mommy guilt that you put in your back pocket and wait for it to hit you upside the head at a later date. How could I explain to a 2 year old that the girl on the commercial was not real. She was a product of youth, lighting, and airbrushing? It would have been completely above her head. I knew we’d be revisiting this subject again.
Am I unwittingly instilling a sizist attitude in my girls?
My goal; to raise healthy, intelligent, happy girls who were self-confident in the skin they are in. A concept completely lost on myself.
I try to avoid the pitfall of asking “Does this make me look fat?” of the Big Guy in front of the girls. I feed them healthy food, I keep them active and I make the focus health not weight. It’s not them it’s me.
It’s my responsibility, as their mother, to guide them into a healthy lifestyle without deprivation; to lead by example. Unfortunately, I’ve not been a consistent example. I’ve been pulling the “watch Mommy workout and eat healthy” then I get stressed and it becomes “Do what I say, not as I do!“
Without saying anything about body size, they see me constantly struggling to be thinner and they are forming their own opinions. I’m afraid that my girls are perceiving that there is something fundamentally wrong with not being the girl in the commercial.
Yesterday, upon seeing an overweight woman on television, my 4 year old announced “Mommy, I don’t like that woman. She’s fat! I don’t want to be fat!” Then she grabbed the skin on her tiny stomach.
I fell off my chair. A thousand questions flooded my mind.
Am I raising a sizist?
Why is she thinking about this? What’s wrong with being overweight that makes her NOT like someone simply by their size? Is she worrying about her own weight? Has she heard me say something about my own weight when I thought she wasn’t paying attention? Are my body issues genetic? Can you inherit eating disorders? Am I raising a sizist?
My head was spinning. All I could hear is my blood rushing through my body.
More importantly, what does this mean for her? I don’t want her to be a sizist and I certainly don’t want her to grow up to be a self-loathing overweight person. I don’t want her to think someone is less than because of the size of their body. I spent the better part of 30 minutes trying to convince her that people are not to be judged by their size and shape but by who they are on the inside. How I wish people’s insides matched their outsides, life would be so much easier. Is she a sizist?