This story from the brilliant Melissa Wardy of Pigtail Pals:
Buyer Beware: “Oh no, not that skirt. Horizontal stripes will make you look fatter.” -Grandmother shopping next to me says to a little girl, slapping the girl’s hand away from a really cute tiered skirt. The little girl shrinks. My mouth and Amelia’s mouth fall open in shock.
I want to climb on top of the rack of clothing, and scream at this woman, telling her how cruel and damaging Fat Talk is to girls, especially when Fat Talk comes from the people this girl should be able to trust the most. I want to screech out the stats running through my head — percentages of little girls who hate their bodies and diet and have low self-esteem. I want to grab her and shake her and tell her what awful messages she is planting in this girl’s head. I also kind of want to hug her, and tell her to stop projecting her body hate onto this young child. Not wanting to get kicked out of Target, and not being a crazy person, I didn’t. But I really, really wanted to.
Instead I picked up the exact same skirt, and held it up for Amelia. I’m not trying to be an ass, I just can’t let the grandmother’s words be the last thing the other girl hears in that moment.
“Hey Smalls, look at this! How awesome are these stripes!? Wouldn’t they look so fun and colorful while you run and spin? How fun!” I say.
“I’d say it is full of awesome,” 6yo Amelia offers while waving to the little girl.
What if we all tried to be as creative and proactive as Melissa when we heard people make these kinds of comments to girls? Do you have any stories? Any good ideas? Please share.