Half the six-year-old girls [in a British study] asked to pick their ideal body shape from a range of digitally altered images of themselves chose one that was three sizes smaller than the real image – the slimmest option they could choose.These are the girls who turn into the 54% of women who would rather be hit by a truck than be fat.
Many of the girls questioned in the study, by Cambridge University, said they thought being skinnier would make them more popular.
...[The mother of six-year-old Saffron Davis, who opted for the thinnest image] told The Sun: "Saffron looks through my magazines and says her legs are fat. There is a worrying culture of girls thinking they're overweight from a very young age."
Last week it was reported that five-year-old Lucy Davis, 3st 9lbs, had been classed as "unhealthily fat" by NHS doctors in Poole, Dorset because she was one per cent over her ideal Body Mass Index.
I am reminded, once again, that one of the most devastating consequences of not including a spectrum of fat women in our media, of showing instead their headless bodies as grim warnings and using tragic tales of (some) fat women's sad lives as cautionary tales, is that little girls don't grow up in a culture where there exist stories of happy (and happy-go-lucky) fat women.
Yesterday, I saw this picture of Gabby Sidibe in USA Today:
And I grinned. And tears sprung to my eyes to see such a beautiful, sexy, happy, fat woman, in a place where we are never seen. Her body looks like mine, or mine like hers: The belly rolls, the oversized upper arms, the double chin. And I never, ever, get to see a body that looks like mine attached to a happy face, in the mainstream media.
But we exist, we happy fat women. We live good lives, we work and eat and fuck and maybe have kids or maybe not; we fall in love, we get zits, we go to costume parties, we hang out with Deeky, we hang out with Spudsy (who occasionally masquerades as the Hoff when he doesn't want his picture posted), we flip off Jay Leno, we go on holiday, we get new specs, we give Mona Lisa smiles. And we wear hats.
We exist. And goddamn the world for pretending we don't, so that little girls think the worst thing they could ever be is like us.
Being me ain't so bad.
And it's not like I care whether anyone actively wants to be like me when she grows up; I do, however, care a lot that there are little girls whose greatest fear is being like me because they see it as a fate worse than death. And the reason I care about that is because some of them are going to look like me, whether they want to or not—and some of them are going to die trying to avoid that fate.
A fate with which I'm content.
[H/T to Shaker lelumarie.]