Yes. This one is. Maybe not Scarlett Johansson sexy, but still – sexy. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with admitting that or trying to be that, even as a mom. An article called The Tyranny Of The ‘Sexy’ Mom on Time.com caught my eye today. Women are entirely too hard on themselves. My friends do it, I do it, I think we all do it.
Just today I asked my friend Heather for an honest opinion about whether or not I was fat. Yes, I think I’m getting fat. I worry about the number on the scale – regardless of the way my clothes fit. In my head I know it’s silly, but I can’t help it. I’ve convinced myself there’s a magic number and I want to be there. I’m not going to stop eating or start working out every second of the day – it’s just a goal.
There’s nothing wrong with having goals.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look sexy.
The problem I have with this article, and other articles like it, is that it calls out moms for being solely responsible for their daughter’s self-image.
Psychologists showed the girls two paper dolls, one dressed in tight, cleavage-revealing “sexy” clothes and the other wearing a trendy but covered-up outfit. Most girls identified the sexy doll as the one most likely to be popular and the one they wanted to look like. Interestingly, media consumption did not seem to play a role in the doll they picked. But a mother’s self-image did. Those girls with moms who reported self-objectifying tendencies, like worrying about their clothes and appearance many times a day, were more likely to pick the sexy doll
Of course we worry about how we look. We worry about how clothes look on us. Is that bad? (It may have something to do with the ridiculous nature of women’s clothing sizes. Like how a size 4 has become a size 0, depending on which store you shop.) Guilty as charged. I worry about my appearance.
Does it make me a bad mom?
Am I self-objectifying?
I’m being a normal person. Normal people want to look nice. They care about how they look, how their hair is cut, how their clothes fit. It’s normal.
Guess what? Men do it too. They do. Men get their hair cut. They shave or trim their facial hair. They try on different clothes and ask for opinions. They diet. They exercise. They struggle with how they look.
No one accuses them of self-objectifying.
Why is it only the mothers who get blamed?
I’m not a perfect mother. But my husband’s not a perfect father either. Why aren’t there more articles about fathers staring at the half-naked women on magazine covers and how that affects their daughters self-image? How come most of the conversation blames the mother and her self-image issues?
Concern about how you look is not self-objectifying. Teaching your daughters to be healthy, to take pride in how they look, to be the best they can be does not objectify them either. It’s normal. It’s how normal people behave, on almost every corner of the planet.
If we’re going to have a conversation about raising girls, it has to be about both parents. I promise, Dads view of women has a much greater affect on how teenage girls see themselves than how long it took Mom to get back to her pre-baby weight or how many outfits she tried on before their anniversary dinner.