Z has been saying something that has had us perplexed. She kept telling people when she was introduced to them that she was straight. It caught everyone by surprise because it is not something that you expect a little kid to say to you when first being introduced. She says it so proudly too. It is obvious that her meaning of the word “straight” differs from everyone else’s but the meaning was so self-evident to her that we couldn’t get her to give us a definition until this weekend.
She met my mother this weekend. Later she told me that she didn’t expect my mother to be so fat. Now, my mother and I are about the same size. Roughly size 12-14 depending on the day. Definitely not obese or anything. She was very negative about my mom’s size and then repeated proudly that she was straight. The SO started really pushing then to find out what that meant. She finally explained that “straight” means that you are straight up and down when seen from the side. There is no abdominal curve.
She is 4 and a half. She is very underweight because she flat out refuses to eat. Somehow she has gotten the idea that being straight is obviously superior to having curves. Her mother and grandmother aren’t rail thin. Exercise is an important part of both her parents’ lives but not excessively. I don’t know where she got this idea but it is extremely sad.
I remember when I was young I was in my mother’s bedroom when she was weighing herself. She made an offhand comment (talking to herself without realizing I was listening) about how she was never going to be 120 lbs again. I took from that comment that women were supposed to be 120 lbs and if you weren’t that you were a failure. I don’t think I realized that that was not true until I was in college. I spent all my high school years at about 140 lbs and thought that I was a cow. (The realization that kids can be so messed up by an offhand comment like that made me really question whether or not I ever wanted to have any kids in my life. I didn’t want to screw them up while talking to myself.)
I’m not sure how to start to counter this idea and build the idea that healthy bodies come in a variety of shapes and sizes.