“F-A-T.” That’s the description given to Mattel’s new “curvy” Barbie by a six-year-old girl in a focus group. Why did she spell fat? She didn’t want to hurt Barbie’s feelings. A Mattel researcher told TIME Magazine that when adults were not in the room, focus group girls often undressed the curvy dolls and laughed at them. The new curvy Barbie, while created with presumably the best of intentions has helped to shed light on the alarmingly young age at which body shaming takes root in our children.
What can we do about it? How can we help to stem the tide of shaming others, regardless of our differences? We can talk to our children! We can lead by example! We can be accepting of others even when we disagree! We can show our children a path to adulthood that allows them to question and deliberate their own choices while leaving the looks, lifestyle choices, and inherent traits of others alone. We can raise the next generation to accept others as they are and not as we would have them be.
We can teach our children tolerance, acceptance and love, instead of bigotry, prejudice and hate. We are far more alike than we are different and talking with our littles with an open mind and an open heart could create understanding and acceptance for generations to come. Better yet, we could lead by example in all of our interactions, showing love and acceptance where we may least feel it. Be kind to those different than you, knowing that just because we are different doesn’t mean we are wrong.
Need a little help in that direction? Read WE ARE JUST ALIKE with your little ones – teach understanding while supporting the Stop Abuse Campaign!
Editor, Ask Lala
Laura Fogarty writes “Ask Lala” for the Stop Abuse Campaign. She is a mother, an advocate and the author of two children’s abuse prevention books: I’M THE BOSS OF ME! and WE ARE JUST ALIKE!