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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

So this is my first post on the 'scary' thread - my complaint is old hat but I'm still fuming

39 replies

EllieG · 28/02/2011 20:09

Don't know if this is the right place for this, but I don't suppose anyone will mind.

Lovely, lovely, DSD who is 12 comes home from school today and mopes a bit, then says that she is worried about her weight and thinks 'maybe I should eat less'. And apparently she weighed herself at her friend's house and she was much heavier and things she should be lighter and wants to be more like her friends. DSD is very tall for her age and developed, she is 5ft7 and has boobs and hips already, but is very healthy and not overweight by any means.

Now I know, I know, that logically, this was going to happen sometime. I don't know any woman who feels completely OK about the way she looks all the time, and I don't know why I was expecting anything else for her. But I want something else. I am so angry I could weep that my lovely girl has started to feel self-conscious and that her worth is somehow tied up in how she looks. I struggled with eating disorders for years and I am SO careful to give my daughters positive messages, never diet around then, tell them that they don't need to think about it, and now stupid fucking bloody school and bloody society is starting to make MY daughter feel bad about herself. At 12.

Sorry for my rant. And for the swearing. But I'm just so angry

OP posts:
AliceWorld · 28/02/2011 20:22

You've every right to be EllieG. It deserves anger. You don't need to apologise.

Good thing though that you've walked in her shoes so can help her. I've never really had those kind of body issues, so would prob find that harder.

SardineQueen · 28/02/2011 20:32

Oh ellie Sad

Don't know what to say really. I have two girls 1.5 and 3.5 and just looking ahead makes me so worried. And you are there now.

Just talk to her, I guess, what else can you do? But equally don't over talk about it. I don't even know what you're supposed to do, I don't know how parents are supposed to confront these issues in real life, 12 is such a difficult age.


EllieG · 28/02/2011 20:36

I talked to her and told her not to worry blah blah and will try not to bang on too much at her and make it more of an issue than it is, it just scares me to death that she will take on this nonsense, it's so strongly out there isn't it? And I can't be at school or censoring her magazines or telling the other kids what to say.

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InmaculadaConcepcion · 28/02/2011 20:37

Tough. I remember feeling self-conscious about my appearance at age 12, including my weight.

Have you read How To Talk So Kids Will Listen...?

I believe you may find some useful suggestions in there on helping your DSD to process her feelings about it in a positive way.

EllieG · 28/02/2011 20:38

Is there anything online or a book about feminism which is aimed at teenage girls? I want to start giving her some really positive messages about being female to counteract the crap that is going to start bombarding her soon

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EllieG · 28/02/2011 20:39

Sorry - x-post there - thanks for that suggestion re talking about weight etc, I'll check it out

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SardineQueen · 28/02/2011 20:42

I wrote a post saying is there a feminist book suitable for 12yo that deals with this stuff. But then I deleted it as I wasn't sure whether you wanted that sort of thing or just to talk.

I think if there is such a book it would be good - for her to understand the background of these expectations and how all they do is ensure that pretty much all women feel inadequate about something pretty much all of the time Sad

Better to understand and get angry about it - than turn it inwards and have the resulting reduction in self esteem IYSWIM.

SardineQueen · 28/02/2011 20:43

I will ask on the chat thread if anyone knows a good book Smile

LadyBiscuit · 28/02/2011 20:43

Ellie - absolutely right to feel furious and hugely angry. I thank god that I have a son sometimes because he's not going to have to deal with all this shit that women have to put up with.

There was a really good feature (surprisingly - given it's crap a lot of the time!) on this very subject today on Women's Hour with Susie Orbach. It might be worth a listen as I thought she had some really interesting suggestions as to how to give young women body confidence.

AliceWorld · 28/02/2011 20:51

I found this

I have no idea if it is any good, but found it on the f-word site. Seems to be a trilogy.

AliceWorld · 28/02/2011 20:52

Ask me about feminist sex ed for teens though I can do that one

EllieG · 28/02/2011 20:52

Thank you SQ that's kind of you to check that out, that's exactly what I want for her, to understand why this is all utter rubbish and feel angry about it rather than intimidated and miserable.

It's just such a bloody shame isn't it? Our daughters should be treated better than this, people should have more awareness of what they're doing. My DH says 'oh well it's annoying but all women feel like that don't they?' he doesn't get that our children shouldn't have to, no one should have to.

Ladybiscuit - will check that out, thank you.

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AliceWorld · 28/02/2011 20:53

Or maybe not Sad here

EllieG · 28/02/2011 20:55

x-post again, thanks for suggestions Aliceworld. Book looks good think may order as she likes fiction so may be easy way to introduce.

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dittany · 28/02/2011 21:03

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EllieG · 28/02/2011 21:15

Thanks dittany, just taking a look through those sites now.

Found a couple of good books on the f-word site, also some lovely younger books for the DD who is 2. Have noticed recently she keeps asking to 'be a pretty princess' etc, and I know that's relatively harmless, but the ascribing of roles seems to start so young, and I don't want to reinforce it.

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ForkfulOfTabouleh · 28/02/2011 22:12

You need to look at!

There is a website/magazine called New Moon which might be useful.

sakura · 01/03/2011 01:01

"OUt daughters should be treated better than this"

YOu are so right Ellie
I read a Guardian article recently which criticizing some clothing company for making too-skinny make mannequins. Apparently some concerned groups were making a bit hoo-haa about it, saying it wouldn't be good for boys. I think they actually withdrew the mannequins. The company in question said the mannequins had actually been modelled on actual teenage boys. But it was still seen as a problem.
THis was me: Shock Shock Shock

Hullygully · 01/03/2011 09:12

I don't know if this will help, but my dd is 13 and I try to talk to her with absolute honesty about all food/body issues so that she is equipped with knowledge when the shit starts. I don't think not talking about it helps, because it doesn't go away, but underground, and I also think that saying things like we are all beautiful, size doesn't matter etc, doesn't help, because every other message they get says different, so they either think you're lying, or mad.

Hullygully · 01/03/2011 09:19

Sorry, posted too soon. Meant to say that therefore I think you have to tell them all the issues around all of it, but equally help them to inhabit the world in which they find themselves, so if necessary (which you say it isn't), draw up a healthy eating and exercise plan etc/ whatever necessary for each body issue. The worst misery for teens is not fitting in.

Hullygully · 01/03/2011 09:20

ps Uglies series v good. Both my dd and ds have read them.

EverythingInMiniature · 01/03/2011 09:26

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hullygully · 01/03/2011 09:28

I was a late developer and suffered untold misery from being told I looked like a boy and no boy would want me as I had no tits. The irony...

EverythingInMiniature · 01/03/2011 09:38

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hullygully · 01/03/2011 09:44

We can only talk to them and show them, I also cart mine about the world so they can get other perspectives. Seeing kids crawling about the streets of Mumbai, crippled and starving, as opposed to those at Disney, provided with wheelchairs lined up next to the buggies for those too fat to walk, is very instructive.

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