I was at work doing really fun things like folding clothes that evil customers were throwing all over the place for their amusement when something rather disturbed me. There was a girl about my daughter's age (9) who stomped past me, threw down a pair of jeans and, in a huff, told her slightly older sister, "God! I'm getting so fat!" to which her slightly older sister said with a sinister little laugh, "yeah, you are."
Their mother completely ignored the exchange and walked with them out the door.
I looked at the girl and she was perfectly normal, not overweight by any means (not that that's my point).
The jeans she unsuccessfully tried on were a 10 Slim.
I was enraged that this young girl should have these thoughts even enter her mind at such a young age or that they would be cultivated within her family. If her regular size didn't fit her, chances are that it's because she's not done growing yet.
Girls are so fragile and I can guarantee that the insecurities this girl was feeling about her body are only going to become worse. There is no defense at all for any woman to verbalize her body image issues in the presence of a young girl. Hey, I know! Let's make sure they look at themselves with the same critical eye that we do! Let's make sure that they hate their bodies for life!
It's so frustrating to try to raise a girl in the culture our society has created. A society where I can't take her into a drugstore without worrying about if she can see the blatantly visible covers of magazines like Cosmo offering to teach us "50 Sex Tricks Your Man Will Die For."
With everything that we know about self-esteem it sickens me that we still barely notice that we cultivate some idea in girls that they have to be skinny and good in bed to feel like they're special.