Taylor Townsend is the youngest U.S. Woman to advance to the third round at the French Open since 2003. It’s an impressive feat for an 18 year-old. And, especially so, given that the U.S. Tennis Association tried to keep her out of the U.S. Open just two years ago until she lost weight.
What we—what our culture does to girls (and to boys) is tragic. I am astounded to hear girls in my counseling office talk about coaches and teachers who make comments about their weight and weight restrictions still in place for a variety of sports. We are living in a weight-obsessed society. And we are living in a society where up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders). I have seen girls slip into them from something as simple as one comment about their weight. Let’s show them something different.
Let’s follow the example of Taylor Townsend. Let’s value health and exercise more than giving ourselves over to the “god of thinness” as one girl with an eating disorder said to me. Girls need role models of all shapes, sizes, and colors. So do boys. They need people to look up to who value who they are and the gifts God has given them over what they look like. And, so do we. Maybe we can all keep an eye on Taylor Townsend this summer and cheer her on for her gifts at tennis and her bravery in being herself.