Shopping and Eavesdropping

I went shopping this past weekend, mainly because since I wear jeans literally every day of my life, thay had all worn out and I was down to one pair that didn't fit well. So I ventured out for some retail therapy and some valued time alone, quite underestimating how hard it would be to hold a bunch of clothes and open a dressing room door with one hand. But I digress..... Anyway, after finding some jeans, I headed to a different store because it had also come to my attention that I was down to basically 2 outfits for church. (No, I don't shop that often.) I was trying on a dress that looked great, and I ended up buying it, even though I have no idea what season it is. It's black, knee-length, and a thinner material. So it's kind of spring-like, but who wears black in the spring? As DH put it, "if you have a funeral to go to in the spring, you're all set." (It also made me long for pre-baby boobs, but I digress....) Anyway, I couldn't help over hearing the gal on one side of me shrieking to the gal on the other side of me. "How does it look?" "My butt's too big for this. It would look better on you. I'm too chubby." Wow. 3 blasts in one shot. That takes talent. And as I was (mostly) ignoring this conversation, because, unfortunate as it is, it really is a very typical dressing room conversation, something caught my attention. "Mom, you're not chubby!" And as I stepped out of my dressing room to look in the 3-way mirror, I saw a young girl of maybe 7 or 8 years, hairsprayed within an inch of her life, reassuring her mother that she was attractive. And my heart broke a little, because I knew then and there that that girl had no chance of escaping body image issues. She would grow up wondering if she was too chubby, or too skinny, or too whatever, because this was clearly not the first time her mom had disparaged herself in front of her daughter. "I wish I could wear short skirts. Unfortunately, my calves look like my butt." "Mom, your legs are fine!" I left at that point, partly because I didn't want to hear any more, but mostly because I was done trying on dresses. And now I can't get that little girl out of my head. So I'm putting her into all of yours. Women who read this blog - you have a perfect right to feel however you wish about your bodies. You can hate your tummy, your thighs, your boobs, whatever. But, PPLLLEEAAASSSEEE don't express that hatred in front of your children. They will get enough conditioning out there about why their bodies aren't perfect. Let home be a place where they don't have to think about it. It will go a long way if they don't see their mother falling prey to that particular stress. So, next time, go shopping alone. Or, if your daughters do come along, keep in mind that if you start slamming the way your figure looks, someone might be in the stall next to you planning to blog about it.


Blogger Mo Mommy said...

Wow, I'm speechless. I mean, there are some things I don't like, but I've had 2 kids and earned them. I can't imagine putting your child in a position like that.
You can be sure that if her mother has taught her, even unintentionally, to reassure her about her body then she also likely does it in every aspect of her mother's life. Can you imagine this little girl feeling as though it's her job to make her mom happy? That's it, I'm gonna go be sad and hug my boys. Thank goodness I like me.

1/29/2006 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger annegb said...

Yeah, I feel badly for her, as well. Her mother is making her a girlfriend.

But, on a somewhat different slant, when people are standing/sitting within three feet of me and talking about anything, especially sensitive topics, I never pretend I can't hear.

Like a woman will say, "guess what? I saw Vickie's husband with his secretary yesterday at the Hilton." And the other woman will gasp, or whatever.

And I enter the conversation. I think it's incredibly stupid and rude to discuss things in the checkout at Wal-Mart like I'm not even there.

Either people will look askance and shut up or they will include me. And I make it clear I don't keep secrets.

I would have said to that woman, "come out here and I will tell you if your butt's big or not." Not that big butts are sensitive.

Not like I would recognize sensitive if it bit me.

1/29/2006 09:21:00 PM  
Blogger White Man Retarded said...

Death to the selfish insecure stupid one. I mean, isn't this perpetuating some kind of abuse? End the family line...

1/29/2006 09:28:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

Hooray for annegb!! I hope I meet you someday!

Yikes. It frightens me when women do that kind of thing to their kids...it's so unfair.

1/30/2006 01:04:00 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

Oh, my heck!
This was a wonderful reminder of how important it is to watch what we say in front of our children.

1/30/2006 09:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whining about big butts is the luxury of people who have healthy bodies. They have nothing else to complain about. For so many, big butts are the least of their bodily problems.

1/30/2006 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Wow, that woman probably does that kind of thing habitually, and doesn't even know it. At least the daughter wasn't saying, "Hey, my butt looks big, too!" Although maybe it's just a matter of time...

1/30/2006 09:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Sue said...

A few weeks ago I was playing with my daughter - wrestling around on the floor - and she rubbed my stomach and said, "Mommy, I wish I could have a beautiful big tummy like yours." I guess the normal reaction would be to laugh and cringe, but I just laughed. I was glad to hear it for two reasons - #1, my stomach IS pretty big right now so her vision is obviously functioning correctly, and #2, I was glad that she doesn't necessarily equate thin = beautiful.

I don't talk to her about fat/thin, I talk to her about taking care of our body, eating food that makes our body healthy and strong, etc. When I do talk about what I'm eating or doing for exercise, I put it in terms of health - Mommy is exercising to make her body healthier. Mommy is eating more vegetables because it makes her strong.

She will get enough messages from society about the importance of being thin. So all I am going to teach her is the importance of having a strong healthy body.

1/30/2006 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie J said...

I grew up watching my mom pull the skin back on her face to try to flatten out the wrinkles while looking in the mirror...I could have been that little girl. I can tell you right now that mom is never going to change. My mom still complains about how too skinny she is, how wrinkly she is, how bad she looks in pictures or how bad her hair always looks. It's always something. It's very sad. I am working hard at not passing that on to my daughter.

2/01/2006 01:30:00 AM  

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