I spend a lot of time with girls talking about their bodies…body image, body weight, body size, as well as the body image, weight, sizes of the girls surrounding them at school. Of course, as a counselor to girls, this is one of the issues that plague them the most. Now, in the age of selfies and snapchat, they are constantly uploading pictures for all of the world to see. But how many selfies do they actually take before it’s the right “selfie?” How do they angle their elbows in just the right way? Position their heads? Do anything that can make them look a few pounds lighter or a few inches thinner? Anything that can make us look the same? (We’re guilty, too…)
As always, our tech friends have stepped up to the plate with an answer. One of the apps (of which, I’m sure, there are now many) takes away those “unsightly pounds.” The developer touts, “SkinneePix makes your photos look good and helps you feel good. It’s not complicated. No one needs to know. It’s our little secret.” The app edits your photos for you, giving the option to reduce your look by a certain amount of pounds. It’s that kind of little secret.
But, being a counselor, you would know how I feel about secrets. They’re rarely ever healthy. And this kind of secret just adds to the body image dilemma that girls (and sometimes boys) battle on an often daily basis (if not hourly).
My favorite comment about SkinneePix, by the way, was from a girl who said, “If you use SkinneePix all the time and went missing, no one would be able to find you because they wouldn’t really know what you look like.” There’s that, too.
When you check your daughter’s phone, if you see this app come up, talk to her about it. Actually, talk to her whether she has the app or not. Ask her questions about how she sees herself on the outside AND on the inside. What does she have to offer? Who does she believe she is? And what does she believe truly constitutes beauty? Then, offer her something different.
What are you modeling in terms of your own body image? A high school girl who was struggling with her weight once said to me, “If my mom is thinner than I am and doesn’t like the way she looks, I can’t imagine what she must feel about me.” What are you modeling? What do you communicate to her about beauty and what she has to offer? What other role models are you introducing in your home and in her world? Let’s help girls know that who they are runs much deeper than how they look.
This Ted Talk, by Meaghan Ramsey of the Dove Self-Esteem Project, is a great representation of something different. Go to dove.com and check out their other videos. Share them with your daughter. Give her a taste and picture (lots of them, actually) of what it looks like to live out the beauty that God has placed inside and outside of us all…no matter what we look like!