Those were the words that came out of my SIX year old nieces mouth. Yes. my baby niece, Danielle* who when first born made my bawl like a friggin baby every time i looked at her in the incubator because i was in so much awe that i was an auntie and i would get to help guide this little girl throughout her life etcetc. Now i know girls mature faster then boys, but lately, the stories shes been telling me when she gets home from school make me slightly concerned at what has been influencing her and the girls at her school.
The quote in the title of this blog was from a story she told me about how a girl, Sydney* who is a year older than her thinks shes fat, and had told my niece. What frightens me is how in god's name are 6 and 7 year old girls worrying about if they think they are fat or not. THE WORD FAT SHOULDN'T EVEN BE IN THEIR VOCABULARY AT THIS AGE. Now Danielle has been raised in a very loving family, with parents that tell her she is beautiful and loved every second of every day of her life since the minute she popped out and started wailing. Actually scratch that, since the day they found out they were pregnant with her. We always try to teach her that being healthy is more important then being thin or obese and that everybody is different in their own ways, body shapes included. Obviously such topics are sensitive because you don't want to project the wrong ideas and you need to be careful in the way you word things because they can always be misinterpreted. When my niece sits there and tells me such stories, it is so disapointing and frustrating because she and her friends shouldn't be worrying about insignificant things at such an age, or ever for that matter. It wasn't till about middle school that i started to get lower self esteem and become extremely self concious about my body image. To this day i still struggle with self-acceptance and its something that i hope she never has to go through.
I question where these girls get such thoughts too. Is it the media and what they are seeing on television and movies? Or who their favourite music idols are? I've never thought Hannah Montanna was that bad of an influence. I mean yeah, some of the publicity surrounding Miley Cyrus hasn't ALWAYS been positive but its not like my niece sits there and reads the tabloid magazines. And i will admit, i have watched my fair share of Hannah Montanna episodes and i haven't ever really noticed anything horrible about it. Mind you Danielle still watched the Treehouse channel because of my youngest niece who will be 2 years old next november.
I've racked my brain that past few days, and came to the conclusion that i cannot control everything that my nieces do, what they watch, who they hang out with, despite wanting to protect them from such things as society's ridiculous and unrealistic perspectives on what true beauty is or something simpler as realizing that boys really don't have cooties (all of the time). Even though the thought of them growing up and becoming more exposed to the real world and the sometimes bleaker aspects that come with it, all i can really do is answer all of their questions to the best of my ability, show them the better parts and opportunities of our world, be there whenever they need me, and hope to god that when it comes to making decisions they're able to take what they've learned and apply it so the outcome is something that will make them happy.
*names have been changed.