I am not big on campaigns.
In general, I think they sing to their own followers and don’t make a dent in the beliefs of the naysayers we want to reach. This campaign, however, is different. The #dropthetowel is for everyone who has ever felt less than about their bodies. In the world of ever growing unobtainable photoshopped or starved illusions of beauty, this is just the campaign our daughters need this summer. I only wish it had made it’s debut 3 decades earlier.
I made a point to introduce body positive parenting early in life. My own body image has been less than stable. I have been a yo-yo, never feeling I meet the ideal no matter where I lie on the continuum. There is so much shit that happens in life, why exactly do we spend so much time focused on our bodies? Yes, I want my girls to be healthy, but good health and the experience of body shaming does not need to go hand in hand. Incessant concern over good looks or meeting a fat phobic weight norm is an added issue in an overburdened life. Body dysmorphia and other body image issues get in the way of our life’s work, our ability to relax, let loose and have fun. Despite knowing my daughters would inevitably inherit some of my genetic body type, shitty body image was not a trait I EVER wanted inherited.
Let’s face it, body image is not developed overnight, so not one of us can just wake up tomorrow and decide to love our whole self, body and all. We need this campaign to push ourselves to change the thought processes contributing to body shame. Yes, covering up beyond our base level of modesty creates a self fulfilling habit. We stop fully participating in the world around us. And Moms, remember the reality; children do what they see, not what they are told. Our daughters are counting on us to help them make sense of the world, the conflicting ideals and the media messages.
Here are 5 tips to making the campaign make a difference for you and the daughters.
- Reflect on your body as a whole. Do we ever just stop and think about the miracles of our body? The things we can do, think, and feel? Both physically and emotionally? The way our body heals itself, the way it grows, births and feeds babies, the way we can hike a mountain, see a sunset, hear the hoot of an owl or feel the crashing of waves against the skin? Take a body inventory from tippy toes to top of your head. Then think of our bodies are a work of art.
- Love your body with admiration as well as humor. What traits are uniquely your own? Your daughter’s? Your mother’s? Birth marks, freckle dot to dot patterns, cow licks or widow peaks, the lowest butt crack that even low waisted pants never could show, the perfect toes, double jointed fingers, ears you can wiggle, eyebrows you can raise. The smallest innie belly button there ever was or maybe expressive eyes, bubble butt, luscious lips. Perhaps you even have the best resting bitch face ever? Then include perfect imperfections as well, the scar with the story, the uniquely genetic bruisability, varicose or spider veins. The only thing keeping us back is our frame of mind, so reflect, reframe and refresh. I know from experience we can’t all be called Grace, so I embrace my inner klutz with levity and laughter (as do my friends). Everyone has something uniquely special, dig deep and appreciate the parts of you which are uniquely you. This habit is infectious, and my daughters enjoy the traits we share like well loved hand-me-downs we have no choice but to keep.[RELATED POST: 10 Body Positive Parenting Tips]
- Treat your body to the good stuff sometimes. Whether your thing is massages, yoga, warm baths, aroma therapy, good sex, long walks, mani pedis, dancing in the rain or a day in the sun, we all deserve to enjoy the healing of sensory experiences. Weight, physical disabilities or blemishes do not preclude us from nourishing our soul or developing our own style. The “so-called” beautiful people do not have a monopoly on self care. In fact, a serious routine of self care is one way to set yourself back on the track towards self love. Quiet the self deprecation long enough to consider the ways you can feel good about yourself. I love my hands and feet, and feel much more put together with painted finger and toe nails… and feel naked without earrings. If nothing else, I make sure I have my accoutrements in place to make me smile.
- Schedule the photo shoot! Grab your daughters, sisters or some friends and make it happen. I surprised my girls with the idea and they were so willing it gave me even more courage. It had to happen fast as we were only together for a few days. The pictures took less than 10 minutes to take, the fun, sometimes silly and very real conversation about our bodies ensued all afternoon. We told stories of body triumphs, and body defeats including sharing a few encounters with fat-a-phobes; more than a few times we referenced #fuckfatphobia. Yes, what could have been an embarrassing, self deprecating experience was freakin’ awesomely empowering and fun!
- If all else fails; PRETEND. Yep, you heard me. Get out those Foster Grants and whatever outfit makes you feel like a movie star and fuck’em all. Yes, this is my dirty little secret, if I am not feeling the love about my body from time to time, I pretend I’m a famous movie star and ignore the rest of the world. What does the world know about me but what they see on the outside?
Absolutely nothing! The tip of the iceberg has no depth. You are hot just the way you are, embrace your inner movie star, #dropthetowel, #fuckfatphobia and let’s take on the world;
BE BOLD, #dropthetowel.