Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Starting 'em Young

Everywhere you look these days, you can find articles about how terrible it is that people - especially young girls - are faced with these 'perfect' bodies in the media and expected to look the same.  Nevermind that there is heavy use of Photoshop and that many of the models aren't healthy.  There is a picture portrayed in the media of the perfect woman and so many people try to become that imaginary woman.

I know that the incidence of eating disorders among young girls and teens has skyrocketed.  I mean, why is it that I'm hearing about 8-year-olds battling anorexia?  What happened to 8-year-olds dealing with normal issues like how to spell and who to sit next to at lunch?  Why are they suddenly obsessed with their bodies from such a young age?

This issue really started to hit home for me when I started seeing more Sesame Street clips on YouTube.  Alongside the classic clips preaching tolerance and acceptance no matter race, gender, parental status ("I have one Daddy, I have two"), etc., they now have clips promoting healthy and positive body images for the children.  For example, they have a little black Muppet girl singing about how much she loves her hair - how it looks good in cornrows, as an afro, etc.  That is the first example that comes to mind, but I have stumbled across several others as well.

I am all about positive messaging in children's programming.  After all, what child wouldn't want to brush his teeth after seeing how much fun Elmo has with it, or wouldn't want to try some fruits and veggies after even Cookie Monster advocates for it?  I just think it's sad that because of societal pressures for girls to look a certain, unrealistic way, they also need to add songs and themes to try to unbrainwash the kids (or as a preemptive strike against the outside pressures).

This is the world in which I must raise my daughter?  Heaven help us.

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