Q: What 10-year-old little girl is worried about her thighs in a dance costume?
A: Apparently my daughter, to my great chagrin.
Recently my daughter's dance teacher selected the recital costume the girls will wear at their performance in June. It is sparkly, form-fitting and very short. Kind of what you'd expect for a dance recital costume. I think it is darling. My daughter, Maggie, has a different perspective.
After seeing it for the first time, Maggie was close to tears. When I asked her what was wrong, she said, “I can't wear that costume, Mom! My thighs are too jiggly.”
Maggie is 10 years old. She is tall for her age and is experiencing the prepubescent weight gain typical for many girls in her developmental stage. She is also an amazing dancer and has always been full of self-confidence performing. I was stunned by her comment.
What 10-year-old little girl is worried about her thighs in a dance costume?
Apparently my daughter, to my great chagrin.
Trying not to overreact, I asked her, “What makes you say your thighs aren't okay?”
Her response? “Mom, have you seen all the other girls' legs at dance, at school and everywhere? They aren't like mine.”
As my daughter frequently says, “Ugh.”
The thing is, I have always struggled with my weight. Previous to having a daughter, I judged myself negatively because of it. Now, older and wiser, I see my weight problem as a health issue and not a beauty issue. I don't stand in front of the mirror and say, “I have jiggly thighs, I'm not good enough because I am fat, I wish I looked different.” To the contrary, I feel self-confident most of the time and feel if you are judging me based solely on my weight, then you are the loser, not me. Like I said, it is a health issue-my health issue.
Maybe Maggie worries as an adult she will experience the same weight problem I have, which most likely will not be the case. She is a very physically active child– which I never was – and will grow out of her current phase. That is, if she doesn't let the “I'm not good enough, my body isn't good enough compared to everyone else's, I'm not beautiful” voices in her head bring her down. Not to mention the comments of the “mean girls” who make a point of unkindly and loudly judging everyone around them. I hope she’ll ignore the influence of the media, which continually reinforces super thin is the only way a female body is acceptable in our society.
In spite of several conversations about the importance of healthiness versus thinness, Maggie still doubts my wisdom, and her thighs. Maybe since she is just 10 years old, she is too young to accept what I am telling her, when so many other influences around her are touting an opposite message. But, I know one thing for sure -- 10 years old is way too young to be worrying about “jiggly” thighs.
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