Last week when I posted about girls and their self-esteem I made a reference to my friend Mandy at The Daily Dose and how she had discussed projecting a positive body image to your children so they don’t worry about looking fat at an age as young as six.
Then this morning the Today Show aired a segment about Sketchers making and marketing their Shape-Ups shoes to girls as young as seven.
I swear I’m getting an ulcer. Every time I hear about these issues my stomach sours up and churns into a big knot.
Before I saw the segment I was a bit torn. On one hand I think marketing a shape-up shoe to young girls is a bit extreme and sending the wrong message that girls have to be thin and shapely to be beautiful. On the other hand childhood obesity is a huge problem in our society and perhaps a shoe designed to help the body get into shape might not be such a bad thing.
Some of the experts were very disturbed by the commercial and by the marketing of these shoes to young girls. One specific message that concerned them was the image of a young, thin female cartoon character running away from three boys dressed up as a cupcake, a hot dog and an ice cream cone.
Which begs the question of why boys dressed up as food and not just food by itself? I have no idea. But if it gets my girls to run away from both boys and from unhealthy food, then bring it on.
(I’m just jesting here folks. Those of you with boys don’t worry, I don’t think all boys are bad. I’m sure you can imagine with three girls we just have a few concerns about what we have coming up for us in the future.)
Anyway, back to topic. The experts were concerned about the message it sends that a girl is running away from food. While I see their point and can see how it’s concerning that it could cause some girls to avoid eating to try to lose weight, I have to play devil’s advocate and ask if perhaps it sends a positive message as well?
Now I’m not saying kids should never eat a hot dog or an ice cream cone. They are kids, for goodness sakes. But as we all know childhood obesity is a growing problem today. If it makes a young girl pick up an apple instead of a cupcake, is that such a bad thing? Maybe it will make a girl think twice about the food choices she makes.
After watching the whole segment I do think that making and marketing the shoes for young girls did go a bit over the top. It’s just not necessary for a young girl to wear a shoe made to tone her legs and derriere. Kids need to play to get their exercise, not wear an expensive shoe.
But it does re-emphasize how much parents need to educate and reinforce a healthy lifestyle for their children. Sweets and such are treats, not a staple to a healthy diet.
I’ve already been
brainwashing teaching my kids the importance of healthy eating. Carlie knows she should drink white milk (not chocolate or strawberry) at school, and she can choose juice one time per week as a treat. Both Carlie and Maddie usually eat most of their vegetables, and they will eat all their fruit before anything else on their plates at lunch.
The other day I was working out (to Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred, which totally kicked my behind, in case you wanted to know) and Carlie asked if she could work out with me. Of course I said yes, but I tried to emphasize that Mommy was working out to be healthy and stay in shape, not to lose weight.
(Note: Carlie did not actually do the 30 Day Shred video with me. She did her own version of the moves which 99% of the time were not correct, but as I was trying to focus on my own moves I wasn’t about to show her the correct way. And anyway, she’s almost 4. The only thing she needs to be shredding is perhaps some paper for an art project or something.)
(Also note that losing weight was the primary reason I was working out, but she doesn’t need to know that. Man, the more babies I have the harder it is to get the weight off. That and the giant jars of Nutella that keep appearing in my cart each time I go to Costco. And then disappearing when I bring them into my house. Have I told you all how much I love Nutella? I’ll have to post about that some other time.)
But I digress.
As I mentioned last week I think the most important thing to teach our kids is to be a good, kind person and to be more like how Jesus wants us to be. To quote one of the commentators from the Today Show segment, “It’s time we start raising them from the inside out.”