by Reena Daruwalla, guest writer for Nancy Hayssen.com
Nancy sent me this link a few days ago, which features the picture of a little girl looking at some mannequins (snapped by her mother) and a rather interesting discussion that ensued from that photo. The photo itself is extremely telling, in that it conveys a lot. Notice how there is one ‘plus size’ mannequin and quite a few ‘regular’ sized ones. Now notice that the ‘regular’ size ones have their ribs actually sticking out and are therefore somewhat anorexic looking. Also now notice the look of rapt attention on the face of the little girl as she tries to emulate a pose stuck by the mannequins.
Now there are several things that can be inferred from this picture: that thin anorexic looking women are more the norm than the ones that have natural looking curves and a womanly shape, while in fact the reverse is true. The other thing that you can deduce from this photo is that this is the message that we as adults and the fashion industry in particular sends out to little children. It tells that that this is the ideal figure, the one to be emulated and to be imitated. This is not only an inaccurate message to send out to a young child, it is also potentially disturbing.
The mother of the child in the picture says that “It’s scary raising daughters in this world sometimes…..” as a mother of two daughters, I can totally identify with this. When I go shopping for toys for my children I am especially assailed by doubts about what is appropriate and if, by refusing to buy her Barbie dolls I am circumscribing her activities a bit too much. Can we err on the side of too much caution? Are we perhaps exaggerating the effect that the media and its icons have on young and impressionable minds? I think not. Children’s minds are so like sponges that we need to be really careful what we let them soak up; because soak up they do and quickly and lastingly at that.
The mother in this case did the only sensible thing to do in a situation such as this: “I snapped this and then we went and had a healthy dinner and talked about exercise!!!!!!!!”