07 Feb G Day Stories: Kerry
Thanks to a few days of orthodontics appointments, Caity and I have managed a fair bit of one on one time lately and I have enjoyed and also been troubled by our conversations. She is by nature a sensitive soul and what may be intended as an off the cuff remark she can construe as personal and taken to heart. This happens with things I say, her siblings say, her classmates AND her teachers. She comes home from school troubled by things that were said at school and many of those “things” seem to revolving around food and body image which for a group of 9 year olds appalls me.
I think their teacher has been trying to discuss nutrition and healthy food when it comes to what she sees the class bringing in for their snacks and lunches. I don’t think it has worked the way she hoped though. From what I can gather, the girls are now judging each other’s food and commenting on it. This has led to them commenting on each others body shapes and sizes. Which has led to Caity questioning her own shape, size and what is in her lunch.
I am not impressed. And saddened that these sort of concerns are filling my young daughters head. What is going on in our world when I as a mom and my beautiful daughter feels bad for bringing a ‘treat’ – usually a cookie or a mini brownie – as part of her school meal?
My kids lunches usually contain a drink, a sandwich, a vegetable or a fruit and then a small treat.
My point is that 9 year old girls should not be concerned about concepts like diets and body shape. My daughter is one of the tallest girls in the class and is now equating her height with weight.
A 9 year old should not have these concerns nor have to face these sort of judgments from her so called friends. These should not even be thoughts in her head. This has nothing to do with Barbie and her ilk. Lets stop blaming toys. Lets start looking at an ever growing culture (thanks internet) of judgement based on appearance. This has everything to do with our inability to separate image with health.
Our children are bombarded more than ever with a deluge of information and not all of it is good. Pop culture and snark served up as entertainment creates an ever more bewildering world that is just too much for our children to navigate at their young age..not without help from us. Our daughters need to learn (re-learn) how to support instead of destroy each other. Our daughters need to learn about what a friendship is again and not base their choice of friendship on how a person looks, dresses or eats. Our kids need to learn how to be kids again.
The day-long event for 300 girls ages 10-12 will include a wide range of speakers and activities, addressing topics including sisterhood, leadership, and social change. More than simply a celebration, the event also has a more serious side: addressing body image, as well as the social conditions that underlie bullying.
“Girls these days are up against a whole new set of challenges than what I experienced. I want G Day to build girls’ confidence and self-esteem, as well as compassion and respect for other girls,” says Shaw, citing recent statistics that 1 in 3 Canadian adolescent students have reported being bullied, and that girls are more likely to be bullied on the Internet than boys.
The first “G Day” event will be taking place Monday, April 28th, 2014 at the Villa Amato Ballroom, 3rd Floor, 88 East 1st Avenue, Vancouver, BC V5T 1A1.
Let’s celebrate being a girl and the adventure of growing to womanhood…let’s teach our daughters about the joy of being born female and the journey that is….a journey that should be filled with support, friendship and joy…not angst, shame and anger.