It can be a struggle growing up in a thin-obsessed world. Seldom are people immune from the effects that media images of unrealistic bodies show us, including children. Cartoon characters, toys, and people in picture books are some of the first images kids are exposed to, with very similar body types. What happens when a child realizes their body does not look like all of the bodies they see?
Body shaming or fat shaming: a term used to describe shaming someone for their body type. It can come in the form of inappropriate negative statements or attitudes, or discrimination against individuals who might be a particular size.
Body bashing has become normalized in our culture, and we are unaware we’re doing this. Kids are catching on. Sadly they are not only doing this to other kids, but to themselves. Ragen Chastain, a Health At Every Size Activist is aware and asks the question:
So how can we support kids who have internalized our cultures thin obsession and turned it in on themselves?
Hateful words are damaging, and hateful thoughts can be fatal. We, as adults have the power to combat the shaming thoughts and actions. But, with most of the media images and messages pointing to the thin-ideal, how do we do it? Ragen’s recommendation:
We can start by modeling it ourselves.
Read more about what to do when a kid is fat shaming themselves on Ragen’s blog.
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