Posts for body image

If Your Daughter Fears Being Fat

Girl Power, Go Girl!, Self-care - Allison Kenny - March 10, 2016

How do you respond when your daughter says, “a boy at school called our teacher fat. I NEVER want to be too fat!”

Sigh.

There are so many problems with that sentence. Of course we don’t know the factual details of what  went down- we are only getting a glimpse. But let’s say that’s exactly what happened. 3 reasons that sentence at the dinner table made my skin crawl and my heart ache.

  1. that a young boy would body shame an adult female teacher
  2. that the word “fat” is being hurled as an insult at all
  3. that my chronically underweight first grade daughter is afraid of being “fat” (or more accurately, afraid of being teased by boys for being “fat”)

There is one big reason my daughter’s story made me feel hopeful, though. Empowered even. And that’s that after 8 years of struggling with my own disordered eating, body shame and fat fears, I get to respond from a place of fierce compassion and share what I know to be true. Continue Reading

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“Mama has a big butt that jiggles.” Here’s what happened next…

Go Girl!, Self-care, Tales from the Maxi Pad - Lynn Johnson - February 15, 2016

This conversation happened on a recent week day morning when the 3 of us were getting ready for school/work.  I had just come out of the shower and Squirrel decided that this was the perfect time to share your observations of my body. Continue Reading

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Adoption Boobs…

Forever Family, Go Girl!, Love Wins - Allison Kenny - October 29, 2015

…How Adoption Day turned into Mardi Gras at the Maxi Pad

CHP_2694-LWe were told in foster parent training that the kids we are placed with may have been sexually abused. So, it’s important to have privacy when anyone in the family is changing clothes or using the bathroom. This protects everybody and strong boundaries should be in place until your child is legally adopted.

“What if we’re at a street fair and I have to use a port-a-potty? I won’t leave my child outside,” I protested.

“Bring them inside and have them turn around,” I was told.

And we did. All year, a closed door has meant “knock please.” Morning routines have included “please wait” as we cover ourselves out of the shower and have Squirrel turn around when we pee. Cumbersome. Weird. Especially as someone who believes in raising a body positive girl. But I also believe in safety no matter what. And until trust was fully built, I did not want to risk triggering our new daughter or breaking the rules of being a foster parent.

I knew we’d reached a higher level of trust when Squirrel began begging to see us naked.

“Please, Mama! Just let me see your boobs!” she’d whine in the mornings. We didn’t get to breastfeed her or hold her on our chests in the moments after delivery. I took her boob obsession as a great sign. We explained the limitation and how once we were all officially a legal family, it would be fine to change clothes in front of one another if we all wanted to.

After a fairly intense 2 weeks leading up to Adoption Day, I knew we could all use some lightness. A good laugh.

CHP_2767-LSo when Squirrel stumbled into our bedroom groggy-eyed on the morning of October 16th, I pulled off my tank top and stood there topless in front of her.

“Happy Adoption Day, Boo-Boo!” I cheered, striking a triumphant pose. She screamed with joy. Danced in circle. And fell to the floor.

“Mommy, look at your CUTE BOOBS!” She was thrilled. She ran to find Mama Lynn.

“Now YOU!” she demanded. Lynn complied with a little grumbling. Squirrel was delighted to be in a room getting dressed with her Mommies. What a perfectly normal thing for a family to do. But for us, it was our first time and it was special. It turned our Adoption Day into Mardi Gras…a tradition I’m sure we’ll keep up each year.

Once dressed herself in the special dress we’d been saving, Squirrel spun in a circle on our bedroom floor.

“Look at my Adoption dress, Mommies!” Then she pulled the dress up over her head. “And look at my little Adoption BOOBS!”

I have maybe never laughed so hard.

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What’s a princess without a prince? OR how to watch Disney on Ice

Media, Play Time, Pop Culture - Lynn Johnson - March 2, 2015

Yesterday was my first experience of Disney on Ice.  Whoa.  Have you been?  “The Squirrel” and I went with some good friends of ours, another 6 year old Go Girl!, her dad and baby sister.  Cuteness all around.  My favorite part of the whole show was when TinkerBell came out at the end and my daughter nearly worked herself into a fit.  She jumped to her feet and spread her arms out wide and screamed “TINKERBELL!!!  Over HERE!” at the top of her lungs as if that just might be the key to make her fly over and take us all with her on one of her incredible fairy adventures.

disiceCinderella 1 - Low Res

But that’s not the part I want to talk about.  I want to talk about the Princess sequence.  Now, for some reason, I was able to tolerate the incredibly aggressive marketing tactics, the dearth of performers of color, and the $12 beers, but, as a Go Girl!, I was jumping out of my skin during the Princess sequence.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t identify as a Disney princess hater.  Little Mermaid is one of my favorite soundtracks…ever.  However, the ice show takes it to a whole other level when they create this scenario – Minnie Mouse wants nothing more than to be a beautiful princess with a prince on her arm.  The Fairy Godmother from Cinderella comes to her and introduces her to all of the famous princesses who skate with their princes as examples of what to strive for in life.  At one point, Fairy Godmother actually even says to Minnie “What’s a princess without a prince?”  Yikes.

At that point, I knew I had to do something.  I had to say something to these young Go Girls! to counteract that message.  But we were having fun.  I didn’t want to make it too preachy and awkward.  So, here’s what I said…

Me:  Hey girls!  Wasn’t it amazing how strong those princesses were?!?  They were doing amazing things on that ice!

Go Girl! #1: Ya!  The boys were strong too!  They lifted the girls up so high.

Me: You’re right.  Those boys were really strong.  But, those girls had to do all those spins and flips and so much amazing stuff with their bodies.  They had to use a lot of muscles to do all of that.

Go Girl! #2: Wow! How did that do that?

Me:  Well, they practiced a lot and worked really hard.

Then, the popcorn vendor came by and that was the end of that.

What do you think?  What would you have said in my situation?  What has worked for you in the past to counteract the power of princesses?

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