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The Hurtful Messages Our Daughters Can’t Avoid

August 26, 2015   42 Comments

My daughter grew 1 ½ inches in four months. She is 11 years old and I can’t carry her around in a Baby Bjorn anymore.

Skinny Jeans

(I haven’t tried in a while, though sometimes I yearn for those days.)

Before school starts this week, we went through all of her clothes to find out what she could wear for the fall. It was absolutely hilarious watching her attempt to pull on pants. She fell down, got stuck a couple of times, and I thought I was going to have to get out a pair of scissors to free her.

We ended up with ZERO pairs of pants and two long-sleeved shirts that still fit. Ha! Since I can’t send her to school in her underwear, we embarked on the “Back to School” ritual shopping trip. We began by stopping at Goodwill. I have a “you can buy anything you want” from Goodwill policy as I want to encourage reuse, saving money, and the terrific work that Goodwill does.

Then (after finding a new pair of pants for $2 - whoopee!), we went to her favorite store, Old Navy. Here things went a bit down hill.

The jeans are called “Skinny”, which is a style of pants that sticks the fabric to your legs. As a subset of Skinny, you have:

  • Super Skinny
  • Skinny Slim
  • Skinny Regular
  • Skinny Plus

Which one do you want to be?

My daughter grabbed the Super Skinny and told me that these were her jeans. Then, she tried them on and they didn’t fit. The pouting and tears began.

Here I am, an advocate (dare I say, activist!) for a reasonable female body image, and MY daughter wants to be “Super Skinny”. She certainly didn’t get that idea from me.

The marketing folks at Old Navy had ensured with their terminology (think Super Hero) that my daughter felt inadequate when she ended up in Skinny Slim as a result of GROWING.

I found myself wanting to punch the cashier but I refrained from my tirade until I was at home. Why do all the marketing messages we receive (especially as women) tell us how deficient we are?

Wrinkles, hair color, eye lashes, leg hair, cellulite, muffin tops, crow’s feet, thin lips, chicken neck, bat wings, and ugly underarms (what?) - how many products do we need to solve all of these ridiculous manufactured image problems?

Almost all the stuff on the market is to transform the look of a woman into a teenager and they don’t work because we AGE - a perfectly normal and unavoidable phenomenon as we all know.

Now my 11 year old daughter is wondering how she can fit into “Super Skinny” and I am trying to convince her it is all a marketing ploy that she will be facing for her entire life.

Man, it makes me angry. I realize that this post sounds like a Mama Bear trying to protect her Baby Bear from being bullied but I can’t help it.

The marketing message that “skinny” is preferable sends many down a path to disordered eating and eating disorders as well as self-esteem issues, pain, and emotional trauma that is so unnecessary.

I have a primordial desire to protect my children from this crap.

How do you talk to your daughter about body image?


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42 Comments:

I have a 5 year old that is very tall and slender. I have made a point of telling her that "skinny" is not desirable. I remember all too well trying to buy Levi's years ago- the waist just kept getting larger and the thighs were the same. I was it ever able to wear them, and won't even try at this point. Sizes and cut mean nothing once a person realizes that they need to fit your body shape, and not a number.

My girls are 20 and 22 now and for the most part made it through their tween and teen years with a healthy body image. That's not to say we didn't have our moments like yours in the store or that the same images that bombarded them at 11 don't bombard them (and me for that matter) now. We can now, as adults, mock the latest image craze like thigh gaps or whatever else is out there.

When they were younger we had conversations like Elaine's and like yours and you will have many more. We also had some really LOUD conversations about appropriate clothing, boys, friends, school, driving and all the other things she is going to drive you crazy with for the next few years.

Here is my opinion though. You have to believe and live what you are telling them or it doesn't stick. They have to look at their Mom and the other important women in their lives and see that they are confident about how they look. The message has to be clear.

If YOU need to lose some weight the message has to be about health or even because your pants are getting tight, not because you're "fat" or "disgusting". I tripped up at the beginning but realized that they were watching everything and taking it into account, even as they were pouting or crying or slamming doors.

Good luck! Even without body image pressures, you are about to head into some interesting times.

I completely hear what you are saying. I have always been on the outside of the current style trend with larger thighs and a skinnier waste. I am not a 'skinny fit' regardless of my weight and my daughter is built like me. I try to promote healthy choices over thin choices. Tough though because her dad and I (who are separated) are not on the same page and he will comment about her gaining to much weight (she is 10 and a gymnast....). The messages come from anywhere the outside ones i think we can shelter against, but the ones closer to home are tougher to deal with.

I actually had this argument with my Sister this weekend about this. Her Daughter lives with our parents due to her Husband being ill and her being military. This last visit deteriorated into my Sister berating her daughter for being chubby and too tall. How can you be chubby AND too tall? My Sister is 5 foot 2 and stocky at best. Her Daughter is slightly north of 5 foot 4 and, yes, not the slimmest in the world, but definitely not chubby. Compared to the other girls in her class she looks healthy, all the others really do look anorexic (think Twiggy in her tweens). Needless to say I berated my Sister for instilling a body image issue in her own Daughter when we had just had a conversation about this not 2 seconds ago. Between us siblings it didn't end very well (I think there was blood), but at least my Niece heard herself and her appearance being defended by family.

When exactly did "00" become the ideal body size?

Feeling so angry right now on behalf of your beautiful daughter and all our daughters.

My daughter is 10. She is not a skinny girl, neither is she fat. She is a good solid. No fat on her at all. However, she feels she is fat since her legs and arms are thin like some of her friends. Her pediatrician and I told her she is healthy and at a good weight. She is a dancer. So I encourage her to follow Misty Copeland (who is similar to my daughter's body type) for encouragement. I show her healthy body images often and I no longer talk bad about my body. We both eat healthy and exercise together.

My daughter and I just ran into this yesterday, while back to school shopping. She's 10, smaller on the top than the bottom and can't wear a size 14 anymore, she also couldn't fit the size 16 jeans in lord and Taylor. I didn't know what to say, because I vividly remember this being me at 11, but I was obese. I just told her that everyone should focus on being healthy.

My parents made me get weighed every day once I hit puberty. As a result, I suffered from eating disorders. I passed on my body image dissatisfaction to my daughters by talking badly about myself in front of them, which caused them to look critically at their bodies. We have vowed to stop this madness with my granddaughter! May she never forget how beautiful and amazing her body is!

Ugh. So sorry to hear these experiences with young girls shopping for back to school. Clearly nothing ever changes, and in fact worsens, given popular media. This makes me so sad as I recall my tween experiences as a 'chubby' girl shopping at Lane Bryant. I was probably a sz. 16 and athletic but at an in-between stage and the hormones were only beginning to activate. Plus my mother micro-managed every morsel that went into my adolescent mouth. Mind you this is the same woman who morphed her just under 6 lb. newborn into a 35 lb. chubby wonder at age one. She is now 90 and still comments on my weight. I love and tell her I am comfortable in my own skin.

I agree - it is ridiculous. We shopped there recently - my daughter who happens to be very slim was too big for the super skinny - she needed skinny or whatever. She didn't care at all, but it occurred to me what kind of body DOES fit into the super skinny? She has kind of the ideal figure - rather tall and lean (she just turned out there with no help from my genes). Not good.

I like the word "fit" and "healthy" as goals. And good for you for making your first stop at Goodwill. Another thought ... any friends/neighbors/cousins who want to do swaps/hand me downs? My son went a whole year without having to buy pants because a friend had hand me downs (in much more expensive brands than I would buy!)

Body image is fragile - for all kids and many adults -- keep up your good work of starting the conversation!

I wonder what terms we can use. Some people are naturally smaller and need a smaller cut. But what should we call it?

I am 100% in agreement, what we call it now is crap, I'm just trying to be proactive in coming up with terms that don't completely alienate those who aren't naturally smaller than others and don't fit into a super skinny.

Slim cut? Or even just a numbering or color system? Thinner all around is a blue or something, thicker hips with small waiste is a purple? Snack girl, put the pressure on tween fashion!

My 8 year old was crying in her bed one night because her friend told her she was fat numerous times. Pointed out to her that her thighs and bottom were bigger that theirs. This little girl's mother is anorexic. I didn't realize that this was being said, and especially not how frequently this friend had been saying this. I have talked with her, read about body image, and here a year later she is still commenting on how much bigger that her friends she is. She is a beautiful, smart, athletic, little girl. She can almost beat her 14 year old sister in an arm wrestle. She got bumped up 3 gymnastic levels last year and two ballet classes. She is a ball of muscle and has a competitive side. Perhaps the latter is why this BF peer voice is staying with her. The school counselor mentioned the self awareness that girls have, and boys don't get for years-or ever, starting at age 8. We focus on self care and celebrate her strengths and successes. Not a lot of support from every TV show, movie, and the fashion world. Battling this much earlier than I would have ever dreamed. God bless Mothers in this endeavor!

Excellent post (and comments).

In the US there's no standard sizing and that's an issue in itself. You can try on 3 size 10s in the same brand and style and have them all fit differently. I prefer pants that have the actual waist size--they seem to fit me best.

Back to school shopping seems harder on kids these days. In the 80s it was a fun process.

My daughter, now 2 years old, and a very healthy kid, is called fat because she has a belly out of her spine's baby curve. Other kids' mums visitors have called her "fatty". My inlaws (my mother in law wears a skinny slim for sure) have made comments on how fatty she was since she was born. All our pediatricians (we live in multiple places, so have multiple pediatricians, plus family friends) say she is total normal for her height, she could weight 30% more with the same height and still be totally normal. Both my husband and I are average, healthy and energetic, we both wear a 32 and are 5'10'', i have latin hips and I am a yoga teacher. How much can we parents do, if our daughters are subjected to this since they are born? I can be a confident mother, but she hears this from every single corner! Please share positive experiences too.

Your solution is don't shop old navy. Their clothes are cheaply made anyway. My problem is my daughter's new high school changed uniform providers and now the girls are ALL having to wear 0% ease peg leg shorts and pants. The boys shorts all are standard fit. WTH?! Thanks for creating problems new school. I emailed the principal and got a waiver for her to use clothes from a national uniform company that fits. But my heart was breaking for any of the girls who tried on a 20 that couldn't possibly fit. Because it didn't fit my 5'9" athletic build 14 year old.

Why did we ever have to change from the number system anyways?? I remeber all the way up until my 2"'s that it was JUST a number!! The first named cut I remeber was Boot cut which I used to be able to purchase from The Gap. I had athe FAVORITE pair I kept for years. I remember as they faded, I began to think I would go and stock up on them so that I could have a couple of fresh pair! Well, in the years that I owned this one pair, the sizes of the cut went down!! I mean I started in a solid 10 and by the time I got to the store, I COULD fit the 10 at home but not the 10 in the stores so I was FORCED to become a 12! Then, it went up to a 14! How can this be when I was STILL in the 10 at home????? I became so angry because my body was not changing but the clothing was telling me that my body was growing out of my clothing (if I believed that crap, which I refused to do). So, I did something drastic, I STOPPED WEARING JEANS! I didn't go to Old Navy or GAP for over a decade because I was so angry. My daughters ages 6 & 9 don't wear jeans! Not because I tell them not to, but because they're so used to wearing stretchy clothing like leggings or my absolute FAVORITE Jeggings, they won't wear denim!! My 9 year old refuses to even try them on because she says they itch :-) She will be a Jeggings girl for life because they look like jeabs but feelike sstretch pants! Yippee. I purchased a pair of jeans for the first time about 6 months ago from a small boutique in the city and they were labeled only with numbers. I love them, they fit and I will never buy a pair of SKINNY Jeans in my life and I am happy because I am healthy! We eat right, we work out daily AND my girls do yoga and we practice mindfulness so for now, they are free of thre body image bull crap. We talk about being healthy. My girls have NEVER heard me talk about being fat and I am a size 12, I am not skinny at all but they have NEVER heard me complain about my weight and they never will. It's all about health around here and I plan on keeping them focused on that. As a part of our homeschooling day, we talk about our meals and of what we are choosing is a balanced plate or snack and if not or if so, why. They look at food in a very balanced way and have learned so much about proper nutrition. I am very hopeful that they will keep up with what they have been taught but I do know that the older they get, the meaner the world becomes!! I'm SO angry right now that our girls have to go through this foolishness.

My daughter is currently in long-term treatment for Eating Disorder. This $^%& is hitting sooo close to home. I am being made aware more and more of not only my own failings in giving her a healthy message about body (I was always on a diet, never happy with my size), but our society's as a whole. This goes deep, exceedingly deep, sort of like a wound. Good luck to you in helping your daughter have a more realistic and functional view on this whole, hideous "size" ordeal.

I find this all so crazy!!

The message out there is that you can never be happy. You are either not thin enough, tall enough,smart enough, creative ect, ect. As parents we just have to keep repeating YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH!!!!

Also, I love the positive ads coming out, like Dove and Cheerios. It is starting, but we need more and quickly.

Cheerios:https://worldwithoutdieting.ca/

Young girls are constantly exposed to unhealthy diet messages disguised as entertainment. It’s called Dietainment, and it needs to stop. Share and sign the petition at WorldWithoutDieting.ca, and together we can help stop Dietainment from reaching our girls. #StopDietainment

I am totally with you on this Snackgirl. I went to buy my daughter jeans last year (she was 5 years old) and all the styles everywhere were "Skinny". I hate skinny jeans and how they look on little kids. I ended up going to Marshall's and buying boys jeans that were just normal straight leg jeans. Even at Marshall's, all the girl's jeans were skinny or jeggings (which I hate even more). At young ages, children should not be concerned with body image. Kids grow in fits and spurts so their bodies are always changing shape. As long as they are eating healthy food and maintaining a healthy weight, they really shouldn't have to worry about their bodies. (And by healthy weight I mean what is medically healthy, not what society deems healthy)

Takes me back to when my daughter was a tween and teen and the shopping memories were not fond ones. There was lots of tears and leaving the store with nothing. When she was in high school she was a 10 and considered overweight. Funny because in the 70's when I grew up I was a size 8 and I was considered chubby. After I married and had my kids I went to a 12. I still do not consider these sizes to be plus sizes, nor do I consider 14 or 16. These are the normal sizes of most women in America. The focus should be taken off of being skinny and just to be healthy, by eating healthy and fun exercise. I only know one person who is a 00 or less that is my niece and she is anorexia and bulimic. I feel very lucky that my daughter and I are healthy at a 10 and 12.

This issue has been around for years. I think that I was on my first diet at 12, when my parents promised me a new bike if I lost 10 pounds. I was a gymnast in high school and part of college, and the body image and disordered eating continued well into adulthood. I attended the Institute for Integrative nutrition in 2010, and it was the first time I really looked at food differently. I raised a daughter that values healthy eating, and is way more comfortable in her own skin than I will ever be. I coach a program called Girls on the Run, that actually addresses some of these issues for 3rd.-5th. graders. The program values each individual for who they are, encourages healthy eating, and an active lifestyle. It is my hope that I will reach these young girls, and help them look at themselves in a more positive way. Keep the conversation going.....

Ugh. I hear you. My 10 yr old is one of the tallest and skinniest girls in her class, and the super skinny jeans didn't fit her the last time we tried them either. I try to model good self image attitudes, but it really is hard when they are being inundated with all the crap they get from the media and society at large.

High five for Goodwill back to school shopping! My daughter now loves shopping at Goodwill and is developing her own style. She likes the women's clothes rather than the kids', which can be problematic at times, but I have taught her that reusing is awesome and that when you shop there you have a million style choices instead of two or three different styles to pick from. I'm still a bit confused how I ended up with a fashionista kid though...

@Luisa, you don't have to let your relatives tell you and your daughter that she is fat. If it were me, I would get mad and tell them to stop, explaining why it is a problem. If that doesn't work, tell them they can't be around your daughter if they are going to talk like that. That ought to shut them up when they realize how serious you are! If not, do the best you can to follow through.

Whoa...Snack Girl...slow down a bit. Many things in society contribute to our daughters feeling fat (even if they are not) and feeling like they are not skinny enough (even when they have a perfectly healthy body). Websites and blogs, even this one contribute to this. Although I'm sure this site is intended for us mothers, it still perpetuates the idea that Thin is In. "A real-life guide to Losing Weight and getting healthy..." is in the title of your book after all. Snack Girl, please understand...I absolutely love your snack ideas for losing weight and/or being healthy, but remember, our children don't always believe what we tell them, but they always BELIEVE what we DO. So if we obsess about "healthy snacks" or "losing weight" it is easy to see how our daughters could think that thinner is better. Yes, us moms are part of the problem as well.

We have such a hard time fitting my daughter for jeans. She is shaped like me, which she will really come to appreciate when she's older. We are curvy and beautiful - but our curves make skinny jeans a non-starter. I am truly happy with my body type and try to express that to her but it's hard with all of the negative influences out there. It's scary to say the least.

My sister has been anorexic for the last 45 years. As I think about that, I know our Mom encouraged us to be healthy and eat right. BUT our Dad spent every day telling my Mother she was fat! Which she was not, not even plump. So the messages from Mom soaked into me, but the youngest got the idea from Dad that unless you were a stick you were fat. Fathers can frequently affect a girl's opinion of herself far more than anyone else in her life.

I am opposed to color coding for size. One of the reasons I hated swim class was that the suits we had to wear were not only color coded but the actual solid color. And some genius decided to make the smaller sizes dark blue, black, dark green while the larger sizes were red, orange, bright yellow. While I was not overweight, I was very busty so had to wear the larger,brighter colored suits. It was very humiliating for a teen and something I will never forget.

I also have an 11--yr old, Lisa, and the last time I tried (yet again) to find jeans for her it was so stressful for both of us that I gave up. Every pair had the same horrible cut. Incidentally, I have found this to be true of both the cheaper and more expensive brands, w the possible exception of a British mail order company which I highly recommend although it can get pricey. Even when most jeans are not labeled 'skinny', they are 'styled' (forgive me for using that overused word so sarcastically) that way. I had good luck for years with a semi-snobby mail order co., initials HA, and thank goodness I hoarded and mended those cute embroidered jeans for her little sister...bc now between the low-waisted cuts, which my daughter doesn't want to wear any more than I want her to, and said company's insistence on calling their jeans "boyfriend jeans" (Really? In little girl sizes as well as bigger girl sizes?!) even my husband got frustrated. That same co. whose knit pants I had previously been able to sneak onto my kid as school uniform pants, after she couldn't fit into boys pants anymore (incipient tiny hips growing) now is calling those pants 'skinny' knit pants...not sure if they're the same pants relabeled or new cut. (?)

Shame on all of them, especially as they promote their 'healthy' looks. We are totally fed up. Thank you for sharing your frustration. I am so sure that you will get many many comments on this post and I will be reading every single one.

PS My 11-yr-old is 4'8" & can't make 70 lbs. soaking wet. Give me a break!!!

My three year old daughter is petite. I don't see it but the doctors go on and on and on about how she is so tiny and petite. People tell us all the time how tiny she is. I mean complete strangers stop to tell us how small she is. I hate that the only thing people see in her is her size. What happens if she isn't petite. Does she loose the fact that she is adorable, kind, beautiful, super smart, and funny and so fun to be with. We call her our princess all the time and will ask her " Who is the most beautiful, kindest, smartest, loving princess in the world?" She always answers " Me". I always follow it up with " What do princesses do?", She always answers back "Serve others!". I hate that size is all people seem to focus on. It is so sad. I hope your daughter loves herself at skinny slim ( I would be thrilled) or what ever pant style she wears. I think your article was great, but now I'm really angry. :)

I think it's interesting talking about sizes. I have read that "example, today's size 6 would have been a size 8 or 10 40 or more years ago. They started enlarge sizes because Americans kept getting bigger, manufacturers didn't want people especially women to feel bad so they slowly started to increase the sizes. Maybe that's true I don't know, but what I do know is that alot of the different clothing companies sizes differ from each other alot. So shopping can be a pain at Times.

I always thought that SKINNY in the jeans...meant that the legs were skinny and fit was tight...as opposed to boot cut which are wider to accomodate boots and straight leg, flares, etc..just different cuts in the way the pants legs were.....I personally did not look at the "skinny" word they used as a body type but as to the way the jean legs fit..I think they should change the skinny word to something else perhaps....like tight leg fit or something like that.....

Thank you for your blog, I always find the topics very interesting. I was surprised by this article. I completely agree with the issues you and your daughter are being challenged with. As adults, we know what the clothing companies ( and other advertisers) are after when we go to the stores to purchase clothing, but our daughters are like blank slates when they hit puberty or earlier. But as moms trying to guide our daughters thru this time, the girls need to support each other. I have supported an organization named "About Face". This group works with teens to share the message about the goodness of their bodies and how to have a healthy view of themselves. Once the girls know about this, then they go to other girls to give them the same message. Peer support!

Best of luck with your daughter, times can be rough, but stick to your values and pass them on to your daughter. She might not seem to be listening, but your good example with be worth the struggle. (I have two girls 21 and 26)

You sure hit a nerve here, Lisa! Better than hitting a cashier....can't bear to think of her ANOTHER generation of females going down this path.....thank you for speaking up!!

Jennie

My daughter is 6 yrs old, and I've always been careful to use non-judgemental terms when describing people's appearance. This can be hard when dealing with the curiosity of a young child in our society. For example, when she sees someone who looks "different," my daughter will look, point, and ask me about it (e.g., someone in a wheelchair, someone who has a guide-dog, someone who has pink hair, someone who is pregnant, someone who is obese, etc). I try to explain the differences without judging. I have succeeded, to the point that she recently innocently asked a non-pregnant neighbor if she was going to have a baby because my daughter sees nothing wrong in being "overweight" or in looking pregnant. Of course, the neighbor was a bit offended. Now how do I explain to my daughter why this bothered my neighbor without putting a value on thinness?

I am not sure what the answer is except to say that we don't comment on people's appearances when we talk to them.

I think this scenario illustrates how our children get socialized into idealizing a certain image of how people should look.

I remember shopping as a child and going home upset because the were never any pants that fit me. I was "skinny", an anomaly in my predominately overweight family. My grandmother would have to take in my pants which ended up being bumpy and uncomfortable. I was called "skinny" and "bony" and asked "Don't you eat? Are you anorexic?" And a whole manner of the like. No one called my sister "fat" or "chubby" or asked her why she ate so much, that's not "acceptable". I never had an eating disorder, I would up marrying a man who was in the same position, we had small slight children who needed "extra slim" clothing. We were never able to shop at Old Navy, the cut of the clothing was far too large. If these "skinny" jeans were around when my children were younger we would have been absolutely thrilled, school shopping would have been cake! No more tears because my tiny daughter couldn't find pants without 4" of extra waist band. No more 7 stores and 6 hours later.

I have a different perspective on this situation, super skinny would have been a welcome choice, whatever they choose to call it. No matter what a company chooses to name their products it's our responsibility to be there to tell our children that it's ok, it's okay to wear "super skinny" it's okay to be in a "regular" or "plus" those labels don't define you it's just what you wear. It's okay to wear whatever they call any size you fit in because your clothing doesn't define you. You're not "super skinny" you're not "plus size" your clothes are. You are you and you are good enough.

I have an adult friend who quite small or skinny however you want to call it. She got tired of shopping and trying to find clothes to fit even the 0 was to big so she started shopping in the children's section and finally success. My son is small like his dad when he was in high school the young men's clothes were always to big so I did what my friend did I went to the children's section. I would buy a boys 14 or 16 depending on the style and of course I didn't buy shirts or pants that had action hero's on them. He never knew, I think if he had he probably wouldn't have worn them.

I'm of the same opinion. I have one year old boy and another boy on the way. But every time I go shopping for a birthday present for our friend's girls, I get so frustrated. I don't think that a girl at the age of 5 or 6 should even be wearing jeans that tight! It sends a completely wrong message! And health wise, its not good to wear clothing that doesn't allow your body to breath. It can cause so many problems! And the labeling doesn't help! Even going to buy maternity clothing has become a problem. I am normally a size 12 and I can't find anything that isn't slim, skinny or jeggings!

Bootcut and Flare jeans need to come back!

It makes me FURIOUS Lisa - I will NEVER forgive Posh spice for he whole size zero thing. As a curvy girl I have suffered with this my entire life, and was not at peace with my body until into my 30s! My GP put me on a diet when I was 4 years old so that was at least 26 years of feeling a failure as a person because of a bloody number in a dress. Such a waste of life. My step daughter is 13 and her and her friends have just started the whole 'Im really fat' thing - it makes me furious and I let them know. None of them has an issue with their weight - if anything some of her friends are painfully thin. I really don't know what to do because it pains me so much to watch/see/hear. I tell them to focus on health and respecting their bodies - I tell them that health is something not everyone can enjoy and they should celebrate theirs. I know in terrible at these kinds of talks and I think deep down it doesn't make any difference what I say because their peers have so much more influence than me, the humble, part time, step mum. I wrote this blog about my experience .. http://diellemusic.com/health-and-happiness/ Partly as food for thought for her. she's too young for the whole 'men prefer real curves' which isn't always constructive, or appropriate anyway! Plus she's has a beautiful figure anyway. The bottom line is, now I am bigger than I have ever been, and I have never felt happier or sexier. It's not just about size, it's about health, acceptance and belief in who you are, and your own self worth - but can youngsters really fully appreciate those concepts.. When my friends, clients and older family members struggle with it ...

So so hard Snack girl - I'm not at all surprised you're so angry - it's so unnecessary and damages girls' self esteem from such a young age.

Gok Wan says skinny jeans are not for skinny girls - it's a style of fit, not a description of the body in the jeans. Super skinny just means they're super clingy on your legs - and I, as a UK size 18 bootyliscoous lady wear them too.

Poor girls. Stupid bloody clothes designers. I bet they're all crippled with self loathing underneath it all!

Hi Snackgirl,

I am a denim designer and what your daughter- and everyone- needs to understand is that "Skinny" literally refers to the cut/leg shape of the jean, just as "boot cut", "straight leg", "wide leg", etc. describe their particular fits. "Super Skinny" is not meant to describe the person actually wearing the jeans. It simply means the cut of the leg is the skinniest or narrowest possible cut that a woman- or girl- of that particular size (be it size 6 or 10 or 4) could possibly get her leg into. That is not to say that once she does get her leg into it that it is going to be a flattering cut- that is where the "Skinny Slim", "Skinny Regular" etc. come in. Please also keep in mind that each of these fits are then fitted on one particular fit model who is supposed to represent an average size 6 American woman and the other sizes are either graded up or down from there. Of course there is no such thing as an "average" woman, each woman is totally different from another, even if they are all size 6s- some have a rounder tush, some have wider hips, some have a defined waist, some do not, and on and on. I am not trying to defend this "Skinny" terminology or the method for creating fits, only explain it. "Skinny" is just an industry term which unfortunately is clearly not understood by the public at large and is therefore a flawed naming system. It really saddens me to hear that your daughter - and presumably many others' daughters- was in tears over the ridiculous, arbitrary description of a jean. I hope reading this message will give your daughter and others like her some solace. I was a not-so-skinny girl once and I remember the pressure to be thinner- to have that weirdly desired "thigh gap" and a perfectly flat tummy. Ugh, it was hell! But somewhere down the line I realized that i feel much more beautiful when I am happy and comfortable with myself and when I wear things that flatter me, regardless of the number - or the name- on the inside label. I hope your daughter can come to this realization too, the sooner the better. And an added bonus: guys do not care about the damned thigh gap! They do not like to see your hip bones stick out! There may be some mean girls out there who want you to think otherwise but they are just trying to distract themselves from their own insecurity issues.

Daughter of Snackgirl: It will serve you well in life to Ignore the Labels (on people as well as clothing)... Do what makes you Happy. Wear what makes you Feel Good. Smile. Believe in your Beauty and the beauty of others. Ignore the freakin' mean girls - including the biggest, baddest one staring you down in the mirror! Rock the Skinny Slim, Honey! You've got this.

Goodwill is not exactly exemplary institution. Use tax exemption laws and pay disabled people below minimum wage

Nice post, Snackgirl. Thank you.


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