Hey there everyone!
I hope you had a good weekend and enjoyed our spotlight on YA author Sara Zarr and Gracen's review of Carnal Cravings by Keta Diablo.
Because I appreciate authors who say yes when I invite them to blog with us, I try to read everything they write, or at least as much as I can get my hands on from the library. I try not to buy books because, well, the idea here is to get others to buy them after they've been here. Plus, I am a horrid pack rat and refuse to get rid of books. I love books and I keep everyone I've ever bought (including textbooks) because, I have learned that they'll always come in handy from time to time either as a reread for enjoyment or as a reference. Since I would soon run out of room if I purchased YA books before I knew if I liked the author's voice or not, I rent from the library whenever possible. As I find a YA author not on their list, I plan on trying to change that.
This weekend, I read a couple of entries from the anthology Does This Book Make Me Look Fat?. I haven't posted my review on Shelfari yet because I haven't finished it. I kind of want to read all of the entries if I can.
However, I think that this book is definitely good for all YA to read and can become a good discussion point between parents and children. The essays in this book are a multi-faceted teaching tool. It explains to adults (mostly parents, but not always) how they can, without intending to do so, effect the eating habits of their children. Don't be fooled, eating habits have less to do with knowing what makes a good, well-balanced meal than they do with environment, self-esteem and tastes.
For example, how many of you remember those cartoon ads that said, Don't Drown Your Food in mayo, ketchup or goo? Well, I do, but it hasn't made much difference in how I eat my food. As much as I like the taste of a potato, if I want sour cream on it, I'll put sour cream on it. If I want to taste the butter on my potatoes, I'll add a bit more than usual. As for my eggs, I like cheese on them [yeah, yeah, I know big shocker with me being from Wisconsin and all].
And, if you read some of the parent magazines, they can suggest mixing peas with honey because it's sweet and sticky and it can be "fun" for kids to try to see how many peas they can get stuck on the spoon or knife. There are other similar suggestions like this such as covering broccoli with cheese. Why? Because kids naturally do not like the taste of vegetables, especially when they know what junk food tastes like. Plus, when you eat the same foods regularly (I have way too many food allergies to try new foods and shellfish can kill me as far as I've been told), you need variety to make it different, so you add things to change the flavor and texture. Some people load their food with spices, some with ketchup, some with gravies and some with dairy products. But to what extent, all depends upon the individual eating the food. So, if they learn to eat their vegetables this way, chances are, they will do this as they get older.
So, that leaves self-esteem and environment. Well, if a person can feel good about themselves, they can be comfortable with their bodies, it kind of goes hand-in-hand. If a person feels bad about themselves, chances are they won't feel good about their bodies.
As you can probably figure out, the environment a child lives in shapes a child's self esteem and how he/she sees food. If you use ice cream or some other sweet treat to comfort a troubled (upset, hurt, etc.) child, as Pavlov's dog learned to salivate to a bell, so will a child learn to eat when depressed. Same goes if that child sees a parent eating when depressed or upset, that's what they'll do. Of course, if you teach a child to treat food like an enemy (in other words, teach them to equate "thin" with "pretty"), that can make them accept or develop eating disorders more readily.
Sounds reasonable, doesn't it? Sure, it seems like common sense that everyone should know. But, we all do it, destroy a child's self-esteem, again and again without thinking about it. We do it as children when we innocently describe someone as fat because we don't know any other way to describe them when someone doesn't recognize them by name and other factors such as hair color or style or the presence of eyeglasses won't help. We do it as adults by hooting and hollering for too-thin women or overly muscled men. We do it as parents when we demonstrate/reinforce poor eating habits, make snide comments about out of shape or imperfect people, making direct comments about they way a child looks, or constantly subject them to the media's idea of what makes a "fabulous" body. We do it as grandparents when we try to counteract those effects. We are surrounded by the potential to develop poor eating habits.
So, how do you, as a parent or grandparent, combat these issues and reduce the risk of an eating disorder?
1. Demonstrate good eating habits by eating properly yourself
2. Do not use food to make someone "feel better"
3. Encourage good exercise habits as well as serving size limits
4. Show your children the images of the best looking women of the past - you'll learn something interesting.
Well, when you look at the beauties of old, you see that even though they were thin later on, when they started, they looked like the rest of us, curvy.
Norma Jean Baker's (bust-waist-hips) measurements fluctuated all her life and on different sites will be stated anywhere between 36-24-34 to 38-23-36. [I know, when she died, she was 5'7" and 117 pounds and had size 7 shoe, but you get the point, she wasn't perfect, not by a long shot, but confidence made her sexy.]
Rita Hayworth's measurements (during the war years): 36.5-C-24-36 and she was 5'6" and 120lb with a size 5.5 shoe. One of the biggest sex symbols of all time.
They were curvy, and if you looked at them right, you could see that their stomachs, while small, were not flat.
While thin, they were not flat, but curvy. If interested, check out some current actresses measurements. But Kate Winslet [check out this article] has to be the best example because she makes a 29 inch waist sexy.
But that's not the only thing to do. Do your research and be sure to point out that most of these so-called "perfect" sex symbols were not happy.
Someone posted a similar question to Yahoo! answers (UK and Ireland). Check it out because the general consensus is that what makes a person beautiful comes from inside. If you are happy with your self and smile from within, the beauty radiates from the inside out, but they make equally good points that being really heavy is not good for your health.
What does all of this have to do with Does This Book Make Me Look Fat?. Well, the book can be used to help teach people the effect their words can have on other people and how important it is to learn to accept people for who they are not what they look like. It can be a tool to help children with similar issues learn that they are not alone in how they feel and offer tools that can help them to start changing things for the betterment of themselves and do it the right way.
What about you? Do you have any similar stories to tell?
Monday, July 27, 2009
Hey there everyone!
Whispered by Carrie at 2:55 AM