So, I’m going to step on my soap box for today. I’ve always had a bad/weird body image of myself, even at 40+ years I still do. I range from being happy with what I have to being sad about what I don’t. Usually, though, I’m indifferent as long as it does what I tell it to do. Having a female teenager, though, I’m more aware of what’s going on. It hit me the other day when my daughter came downstairs mad enough to want to fight. With all the K-Pop she’s into, it’s no surprise that she keeps up with her favorite stars. One of the singers she likes came out that he had been made to lose weight for an album. She and I have had discussions about what healthy weight is and she had decided he was already somewhat underweight to begin with. She was mad enough to want to buy tickets to Korea and have a discussion with his managers. Instead, I encouraged her to go online and talk with other fans about what’s right and what’s not.
I came across several videos of K-Pop stars and admissions they’ve made as well. From wanting someone else’s face, to being unhappy with their looks until they lost weight, it’s there. It seems to me very prominent in Korea, but it could just be they’re more honest about it and the stars have ways to express themselves that others don’t. I don’t know, but it annoys the bee out of me that it happens. It could be the mom in me, but I’d love to be able to talk to them about it as well.
The big thing I hear about in girls is thigh gaps. I don’t worry about thigh gaps, I’ve never had any. I was a competitive gymnast for 12 years and never had it. So, I don’t see what the big deal is. The only advantage I can see to them is when running, but they have gel for that.
I think it is wonderful that there’s a new movement to improve the way society perceives women. I love the “love your curves” movement. Even at my age it helps to have others say “you look fine”. It may sound weird, but we can’t forget the boys either. Society as a whole (and I don’t mean just in the US) tends to over value appearance. This really sucks, but the only way to change it is to advocate and educate.
There are quite a few resources online the address these issues, many with teens. I won’t link them all here, you can easily find them with google. However, I do recommend looking at them and having a long talk with your teens (male & female) about body image. I make a point of talking with my daughter about it regularly, my son some (probably not as much as I should). With my daughter’s response above, I can hope she becomes an advocate for herself and her friends. It only takes one to make a difference.