do as I say

by humanmama on September 21, 2011

It’s hard to be a good role model. I’ll begin there. Especially as a woman, especially in this day and age. Men have it tough, but women have to be everything and gorgeous, never aging, always getting thinner and stronger or at least staying the same over the years.

Okay, that’s not even true. That’s not what has to happen. But that is what society tells us, and magazines, and TV. Look through any “women’s” magazine and you’ll see scores of partially naked woman looking absolutely incredible–face, hair, nails, teeth, and no one over a size 4 (*unless they’re in a “before” ad). ANd as much as I want to say, and you want to say, and we all want to think that that’s not what happens, and that we can change it, and that the media doesn’t influence this family, it’s not true. The average American is exposed to a ton of product ads every day–some sources estimate this amount to be as much as 3,000 advertising messages per day. That’s per day! That’s on bathroom walls, billboards, TV, radio, those free hats credit cards give out… Look through a magazine like Vogue or Glamour and you won’t even get to the index before 20 pages of ads. And what are these things selling?

Well, since sex sells, mostly companies are using bodies in some way to sell their product. And that usually means very gorgeous, young, hot women. Since that’s what sells, that is what we [are told that we] want to look like. So then that creates another whole market dedicated to selling us things that make us look younger, hotter, more likely to either be those women or be with those women.

So here I am, in the midst of all this, trying to put a healthy image out there for my kids to adapt, and carry with them through their lives. How can I teach them to be healthy and that “that’s not what you need to look like” if I am secretly hoping that my 5am Jillian workout will make me look younger, hotter, and sexier? (Maybe not younger, I still get carded for all my crow’s feet. I’m not bragging.)

No, really, how? What do you do? How do you teach your kids or young people you know not to want or be one thing while everything in modern America(s) is telling them something else? I need your help.  Because I, too, need someone to say to me from time to time, “it’s okay. That’s not what you need to look like. That’s not normal.”

How do you teach your kids to be healthy inside and out? Help!

xox

HM

Beautiful, just the way you are. How can I get you to believe it?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Holly September 21, 2011 at 8:10 am

I don’t know if you read Jessica’s blog – but she recently had an entry on there about mirrors. I left a comment there about how as a kid, I always was the “big kid”. This fact is still true now….the only difference is after grade school I was okay with it. Why? Because someone with a lot of insight taught me (this is after years of my mom making sure I knew what was important) that value goes far beyond beauty. My teacher showed me that even though she was not what was considered “beautiful” by America’s standards – she meant the most to her family, and she was a successful high-powered businesswoman. The accounts she sold worth millions didn’t care that she was overweight and didn’t have great hair. Nope – all they cared about was the numbers. And her numbers and salary were great. So find something in your girls that they succeed in – and praise them for it and remind them how it’s so important they pursue those talents and “ignore the noise” of a world that tells them they aren’t good enough. My mom always told me those people are just jealous – and ya know what, she was right.

It’s weird from the opposite side of this mirror – since grade school I have been very comfortable in this body of mine… all 300+ lbs of it. And now because Elise came along, I got this surgery – so I could be around for her (vanity had absolutely nothing to do with my decision whatsoever and if there was a way to stay healthy as I was, I would much preferred that) I will probably lose all my excess weight. Now I am nervous about not having the same sales skills that I think my weight helped out with (instant trust from buyers, etc). So you see, perception, regardless of the media is all how you internalize it. Obviously, you need a little work on your own perception – which you should definitely figure out.

Oh yeah – and if you have a friend that has photoshop – if the question ever comes up – show your girls how photoshop can change anyones figure. Better yet – show them this. And yes, photoshop works on video (especially movies) too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4mu3UUxamY&feature=related

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Holly September 21, 2011 at 8:27 am

Oh and also – teach them that vanity fades – but hard word, talent, sticking to it, and success is forever. My mom always said that too. Make sure you show them powerful women and if possible, take them in to several companies. They will see the women with the high-powered jobs (unlike in the movies) are generally normal looking. The model types? admins.

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aj September 21, 2011 at 4:24 pm

awesome. Models = secretaries. Love it!

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Chuck Cameron September 21, 2011 at 11:20 pm

AJ-
Your wisdom on this is great to see. Your willingness to go to battle for your girls, and yourself, makes me proud.

As you grew, I worked hard to say, and say, and live, and believe, that your worth was huge, because you were created by God. That God formed you in your mother’s womb, knew every thing about you before you were even you, and had a plan just for you.

I still believe that, still work to live it, and still get suckered into listening to what the world tells us I SHOULD do, or be, or say, or wear, or look like. Yep, your 63 yr old dad still battles with all this, as you know. And still is absolutely confident that your value, which is immense, is not in your appearance, but in your existence as a child of the God who loves you even more than I. And that’s a bunch, kiddo!

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Jessica@Team Rasler September 22, 2011 at 2:23 am

I honestly don’t know, and I think it’s even tougher (and more crucial) when you’re raising girls. I guess the more we praise not only them but others for more substantial traits, the more they will see that those are more valuable. Sigh. It’s tough to fight the media onslaught.

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