DON'T CALL MY DAUGHTER FAT

In a society that is completely obsessed with body image and weight, it is inevitable that at some point in your life your weight has been a topic of conversation. Whether you are "skinny" or "fat", it seems acceptable for it to be discussed, either privately by other people, or to your face directly. But is this really okay? Even if there are more "obese" people than ever, is it really okay to announce to someone that they have "put on a bit of weight" or "need to lay off the cakes". Is it acceptable to tell someone they "need to eat more" or "need to eat some cakes"? Is it acceptable to use the term "skinny", "fat" or even "chunky" when talking about a baby, toddler, or child? I don't think so. In fact I think it is disgusting to judge an innocent child. Especially for something like their weight.



So below is a photo of my 19 month old daughter (17 and a half if you go by her corrected age). Elise was called "chunky" by a member of the public the other day. When I questioned what she meant, she followed up with "she's a little bit fat". Now personally when I look at my daughter, I don't see her as fat. She has always been petite, and is actually small for her age (wearing 9-12 and 12-18 month clothes right now). In fact I've had a number of people tell me she is tiny, or think she is a lot younger than she is. So how can she by tiny, yet fat at the same time? This isn't the first time someone has commented on her weight, in fact I've had it plenty of times. She was even called chunky as a baby, and although some people may think it is cute to call your own child "chubby" or say "look at those baby rolls", should it be acceptable for someone else to say it to you, or to your child? Is it okay for a complete stranger to say?

My daughter was born 6 weeks early, and although she weighed a healthy 6lbs, she was actually quite petite. She wore tiny baby clothes for over a month, and was always "behind" in her clothes sizes. She was still called chunky as people assumed she was younger than she was. I was also told if she was full term she would have been "huge". Again, I don't think it's okay to comment on another baby's weight. Some people may think it is okay, or that they should get used to hearing these words, but in my opinion, the word fat or chunky can NEVER be used in a positive light. Society has made it a negative feature, and there are even shows like Supersize Vs Super Skinny, or Secret Eaters that focus on someones size and tells them exactly what size they should be.


I even saw a children's version of "Fat Camp" and "Supersize Vs Super Skinny". It seems acceptable to put shows like this on at prime time for other people's entertainment. It seems okay for shows like "Next Top Model" to keep mentioning how someone is too skinny and should eat more, or that they need to lose weight. It's not even a show about weight, but it is constantly mentioned. Does my daughter have to go through life worrying about if she is eating enough, or even too much in front of other people. Isn't this how eating disorders can happen, and how children can become obsessed with how they look, and that they want to look like the photoshopped images in a magazine?!

I'm already worried about Elise being bullied at school over a number of things. I was bullied at school. I was a "little bit chubby" when I went to secondary school and by year 9 the bullying was unbearable. Even when I told the teachers, I was told I was too sensitive. The end result? I stopped eating. I hid my food so it looked like I was eating my lunch, when in reality (and quite embarrassingly, and something I haven't shared to the public before) I was hiding the food in my locker to rot. I didn't go to lessons anymore, and spent my time hiding in the various toilets at school. I spent every lunchtime at the school gym trying to slim down enough for the bullying to stop. Is this the future for my daughter? Is it going to take months for someone to realise the problem if she stops eating? I know that I will notice, but what if she tells someone at school and is classed as "fussy" or a "trouble maker" just because she stands up for herself?


I'm classed as obese now, but don't judge me, because you don't know my story, and my battle with food. You don't know that I was in a car accident at the age of 19, and my confidence went downhill. You don't know that I was diagnosed with Epilepsy shortly after, and I had to change my path in life completely. I could no longer pursue a career in photojournalism, or forensic photography. You don't know that I became very depressed and took an overdose more than once. You don't know that my anxiety was so bad a few years ago that I became practically housebound for two years. You don't know that I lost all my friends during this time, and even now my husband is pretty much my only friend. 

You don't know that I also have a problem with my thyroid. You don't know all the issues I have with food, and how I panic every single time my husband asks me "What do you want for dinner". You don't know that I obsess over the same food for weeks, and have to eat exactly the same meal. You don't know that I've grown up being asked when I'm going on a diet, or when I'm going to lose weight. It was a massive feature of my life. I was even told that my eating disorder wasn't as bad as someone else's, so I had no right to talk about it or be concerned. I don't talk to them anymore. Sometimes you have to get rid of the negativity, even if it is your own family. 

You don't know me, so please stranger in the street, or "friend", don't judge me. You don't know my daughter so don't judge her. Don't you dare judge an innocent child on their weight, just because society dictates how you should look. Don't make her grow up in a world that will focus on her weight, instead of how clever, or creative she is. Don't talk to me about weight, and your opinion on how I should look, and what example I should be setting my daughter. 

You do you, and I'll do me.


"Is it okay to call a child fat? @amundanesarah doesn't think so, and neither should you. Read her opinion here: http://dld.bz/fTsrx"CLICK TO TWEET

SARAH HUGHES

Don't call my daughter fat. She shouldn't have to worry about her weight from a young age.



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11 comments

  1. Thank you to everyone who is willing to share this and get the message out there. I'd love to hear your opinions on this, so please leave me some comments!

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  2. I think you are totally right. Even in the womb people were calling my brother fat because of sizing scans and I just felt so annoyed that he was already labelled by such an ugly word yet he wasn't even born (he turned out to be a healthy 8lb2 baby and even now falls directly on his percentile) I was always bullied for my size and I just don't believe introducing the word fat to a child is healthy, in a world obsessed with body image starting them that young on words like fat is bound to be detrimental.

    Your daughter is gorgeous by the way! x

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  3. Totally agreed. A great post Sarah and I've just shared it. Can't we (society) just all be happy that we have happy and healthy children? I'd hate to think that this obsession for 'body perfection' is starting to reach our children. Keep em coming Sarah!

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  4. Well first off your daughter is absolutely gorgeous! She looks like such a cutie. I personally would never comment on someone's weight just point blank because that's none of my damn business, but to comment on the size of a child? I find that absolutely mind boggling! I do find though that there are just people out there who sort of go through life without a filter and say anything without thinking about, they don't seem to realise the repercussions their statements can have...

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

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  5. While I completely understand that in this time of body shaming cukture we ahould try our hardest to watch what we say to children at a vulnerable age - however to call a baby chunky i something I do frequently! Many babies are just squasy and full of rlls and dimples , my little girl is a prime example and when I say shes chunky its not derogitory as its said in complimentary terms. Sometimes its too easy to take offense when none is intended. Words mean diferent things to different people and peoples experiences can change how they interpret words. I would hate to think anyone would call a baby chunky in a nasty way! Im sorry someone upset you so much with their words its not nice to feel like that. I just wanted to let you know my views x

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    1. I think it is different if you are calling your own baby chunky. But when strangers choose to make a point of it, saying they are fat and what are you feeding them, and maybe you should be getting them moving a bit more, it becomes an entirely different matter. People do use it in a nasty way, and it's great that you haven't experienced that negativity. It's nice to hear from both sides, so thank you for commenting and giving your opinion. It is true that experiences have an impact on how you view things, but I'm also not talking about her baby rolls, or that she is squishy. I'm talking about how people actually make a point of saying they are fat.

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  6. I'm pinning this! Thank you so much for sharing; it is so important.

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  7. I was reading Kevin Smith's first book the other day and he has a line about how prejudice towards heavy people is the last group that is allowed to be made fun of. My daughter is on the high end of the scale also, and God help anybody I hear call her fat

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  8. it so frustrating! if anything the chunkier the baby the better in my eyes, we accept transgender, different sexuality, different races but weight?! oh goodness no! rather than telling children that they are fat they should be told how to love themselves, how to respect others so they dont grow up thinking that fat is bad! you little girl is beautiful x

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  9. My son was 23lbs when we adopted him aged 7 months. I was plunged into a world where he was called overweight and fat by the Health Visitors and they gave me inappropriate advice about managing his weight. I heard every comment imaginable from the delightful public. Chunky, podgy, I heard all the comments. By his 12 month check I told the Health Visitors I was going it alone and I felt confident in parenting my son and his health. I felt so judged and it felt like Weight Watchers every time he was weighed. He was baby led weaned and learned how to understand his hunger again. He's now nearly 5 and totally average in his weight and shape. As a mum who is also carrying a little weight I felt so judged and that I was over feeding him and it ruined our first year together. Our society celebrates vacuous people, especially women, because they are skinny and famous yet judges harshly based on looks alone. It's very sad and misses the celebration that we are all different. I feel sad that you've been through so much and the effect it's had on you. Xxx

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  10. No, if it did they would have all died and none of us would be here today. In times where you don't have food your body will try to protect your lean tissue and use your fat tissue as fuel, after all that is what it is there for.phenq gnc

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