It takes something really out of the ordinary to make me sit up and want to yell from the rooftops that "this isn't fair".
Mind you, I've been up there (on the rooftop) many times over the years, in an endeavour to get women to recognise inappropriate attitudes (as far as body size and looks are concerned) and to put in place practical and workable solutions that will benefit their own lives, and those of other women in society. Then something comes along when I listen in astonishment and say how can this be so?
On this morning's news on ABC 24, there was an interview of two young women - Louise Adams a Body Image Consultant and Kristan Dooley of the Women's Forum Australia. They spoke about body image in the present day, and more importantly the impact that negative body image is having on our children.
Firstly Kristan Dooley, the MD of Women's Forum Australia, was interviewed about the Lottie doll that is making inroads into the doll market for little girls. The Lottie doll is a doll that represents a small child, and she even "stands on her own two feet". She is totally unlike Barbie in her shape and figure and sales of this doll are surprising both retailers and the supplier. A very positive interview from Kristan and there's no doubt that many parents will be looking for Lottie dolls to give as Christmas presents this year.
"There's a new kid on the block and she's all kinds of cute. Meet
Lottie, the wholesome girl-next-door doll, here to destroy the joint
with a healthy dose of body image realism.
She doesn't wear make-up, has a waist that won't fit through
the eye of a needle, and sports sensible shoes built for jumping in
puddles. She even manages to stand on her own two feet.
Barring an exceptionally large head - presumably to house her
enormous brain - and Manga-sized eyes, her dimensions are modelled on
the average nine-year-old girl's body shape.
Louise Adams then spoke about body image today being a fundamental dislike of body size and shape which is resulting in many eating disorders with countless women and young girls not liking themselves. She then mentioned that although many magazines are no longer photo-shopping the photos of models and women shown within their pages, there is still a lot to be done via the media, magazines and television to promote a healthy and happy philosophy of acceptable. She also mentioned that many women see themselves as objects and they then tend to look at other women as objects - never seeing their own worth nor the worth of other women, regardless of their ages, shape or size.
But this is where it gets scary, and down right frightening. Children at pre-school at the ages of 3 and 4 are "dieting", or refusing to eat certain foods because they'll get or BE fat. Where does this body dislike start? Obviously in the home and through film, television and magazines.
What is happening in a society where little 3 and 4 year olds see that unless they diet, they'll become unacceptable?
Have we turned away from the need to reinforce feelings of worth into our children and grand-children? Can we blame current society or is some of the blame our own? Where have we gone wrong? What can we do about changing this situation? Can we do anything?
We've got to talk about this subject. With each other and to each other.