Wednesday, March 13, 2013

She has such pretty face...

A good friend of ours is expecting a daughter, and I was picking up a few more things for her baby shower gift in Wal-Mart today.  I came around the corner and found this:

This is a onesie starting in size 0-3 months.  ZERO TO THREE MONTHS!  On the other side of the rack was one intended for boys in gray that said "Don't call me chubby. This is all muscle."  

So what?  A lot of people (including the woman working the infants section) think this is cute.  It is not cute, and let me tell you why.  I've pretty much always been a big girl.  I started gaining weight in fourth grade, and it has fluctuated up and down my whole life.  As a kid, I dieted all the time.  I tried all the ones in the women's magazines laying around the house, and I even checked weight loss books out of the library aimed at kids.  People took it upon themselves to tell me "You have such a pretty face." and "You'd be so much prettier if you just lost a few pounds."  Bullies at school called me a variety of uninspired and cruel names.  I learned to hate my body, hate what it looked like, and it has only been in the last couple of years that I have finally come to a cease fire.  I'm 33.  So for 20+ years, I put tons of energy into hating and hating and hating the one and only body I have.  Yes, I am heavier than I would like.  I would  not be averse to dropping a few pounds in order to be able to buy some of the clothes I like that do not come in my current size.  However, no matter how big or small I am, it has nothing to do with who I actually am, but I was brought up in a society in which one's worth is believed to be tied to one's weight.  Is this really a tradition we want to continue?

No child, girl or boy, needs to grow up in an environment of shame and self-hatred.  There is nothing wrong with promoting healthy living, but there's a fine line between that and the area in which fat-shaming and the offensive onesie live.  The baby I was buying gifts for is not my own, and I do not plan on having any.  I do, however, have very fertile friends, and I want more than anything to promote a world in which our friends' daughters and sons are brought up to value their intelligence, kindness, and courage rather than the size of their jeans.  A world in which onesies like this are not a reality.  A world in which no one hears "But you have such a pretty face" anymore.