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Your mum, she's fat.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

This message was forwarded to me and I think that everyone
should read it as it deals with so much about our body image.
I'll be interested to hear what people think.

www.stuff.co.nz/life- style/wellbeing/8760102/Wh en-your-mother-says-shes-fat
Here is what the article said. I was able to retrieve it. Try again Sandra.
Dear Mum,

I was seven when I discovered that you were fat, ugly and horrible. Up until that point I had believed that you were beautiful - in every sense of the word. I remember flicking through old photo albums and staring at pictures of you standing on the deck of a boat. Your white strapless bathing suit looked so glamorous, just like a movie star. Whenever I had the chance I'd pull out that wondrous white bathing suit hidden in your bottom drawer and imagine a time when I'd be big enough to wear it; when I'd be like you.

But all of that changed when, one night, we were dressed up for a party and you said to me, ''Look at you, so thin, beautiful and lovely. And look at me, fat, ugly and horrible.''

At first I didn't understand what you meant.

''You're not fat,'' I said earnestly and innocently, and you replied, ''Yes I am, darling. I've always been fat; even as a child.''

In the days that followed I had some painful revelations that have shaped my whole life. I learned that:

1. You must be fat because mothers don't lie.
2. Fat is ugly and horrible.
3. When I grow up I'll look like you and therefore I will be fat, ugly and horrible too.

Years later, I looked back on this conversation and the hundreds that followed and cursed you for feeling so unattractive, insecure and unworthy. Because, as my first and most influential role model, you taught me to believe the same thing about myself.

With every grimace at your reflection in the mirror, every new wonder diet that was going to change your life, and every guilty spoon of ''Oh-I-really-shouldn't'', I learned that women must be thin to be valid and worthy. Girls must go without because their greatest contribution to the world is their physical beauty.

Just like you, I have spent my whole life feeling fat. When did fat become a feeling anyway? And because I believed I was fat, I knew I was no good.

But now that I am older, and a mother myself, I know that blaming you for my body hatred is unhelpful and unfair. I now understand that you too are a product of a long and rich lineage of women who were taught to loathe themselves.

Look at the example Nanna set for you. Despite being what could only be described as famine-victim chic, she dieted every day of her life until the day she died at 79 years of age. She used to put on make-up to walk to the letterbox for fear that somebody might see her unpainted face.
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I remember her ''compassionate'' response when you announced that Dad had left you for another woman. Her first comment was, ''I don't understand why he'd leave you. You look after yourself, you wear lipstick. You're overweight - but not that much.''

Before Dad left, he provided no balm for your body-image torment either.

''Jesus, Jan,'' I overheard him say to you. ''It's not that hard. Energy in versus energy out. If you want to lose weight you just have to eat less.''

That night at dinner I watched you implement Dad's ''Energy In, Energy Out: Jesus, Jan, Just Eat Less'' weight-loss cure. You served up chow mein for dinner. (Remember how in 1980s Australian suburbia, a combination of mince, cabbage, and soy sauce was considered the height of exotic gourmet?) Everyone else's food was on a dinner plate except yours. You served your chow mein on a tiny bread-and-butter plate.

As you sat in front of that pathetic scoop of mince, silent tears streamed down your face. I said nothing. Not even when your shoulders started heaving from your distress. We all ate our dinner in silence. Nobody comforted you. Nobody told you to stop being ridiculous and get a proper plate. Nobody told you that you were already loved and already good enough. Your achievements and your worth - as a teacher of children with special needs and a devoted mother of three of your own - paled into insignificance when compared with the centimetres you couldn't lose from your waist.

It broke my heart to witness your despair and I'm sorry that I didn't rush to your defence. I'd already learned that it was your fault that you were fat. I'd even heard Dad describe losing weight as a ''simple'' process - yet one that you still couldn't come to grips with. The lesson: you didn't deserve any food and you certainly didn't deserve any sympathy.

But I was wrong, Mum. Now I understand what it's like to grow up in a society that tells women that their beauty matters most, and at the same time defines a standard of beauty that is perpetually out of our reach. I also know the pain of internalising these messages. We have become our own jailors and we inflict our own punishments for failing to measure up. No one is crueller to us than we are to ourselves.

But this madness has to stop, Mum. It stops with you, it stops with me and it stops now. We deserve better - better than to have our days brought to ruin by bad body thoughts, wishing we were otherwise.

And it's not just about you and me any more. It's also about Violet. Your granddaughter is only 3 and I do not want body hatred to take root inside her and strangle her happiness, her confidence and her potential. I don't want Violet to believe that her beauty is her most important asset; that it will define her worth in the world. When Violet looks to us to learn how to be a woman, we need to be the best role models we can. We need to show her with our words and our actions that women are good enough just the way they are. And for her to believe us, we need to believe it ourselves.

The older we get, the more loved ones we lose to accidents and illness. Their passing is always tragic and far too soon. I sometimes think about what these friends - and the people who love them - wouldn't give for more time in a body that was healthy. A body that would allow them to live just a little longer. The size of that body's thighs or the lines on its face wouldn't matter. It would be alive and therefore it would be perfect.

Your body is perfect too. It allows you to disarm a room with your smile and infect everyone with your laugh. It gives you arms to wrap around Violet and squeeze her until she giggles. Every moment we spend worrying about our physical ''flaws'' is a moment wasted, a precious slice of life that we will never get back.

Let us honour and respect our bodies for what they do instead of despising them for how they appear. Focus on living healthy and active lives, let our weight fall where it may, and consign our body hatred in the past where it belongs. When I looked at that photo of you in the white bathing suit all those years ago, my innocent young eyes saw the truth. I saw unconditional love, beauty and wisdom. I saw my Mum.

Love, Kasey xx

This is an excerpt from Dear Mum, a collection of letters from Australian sporting stars, musicians, models, cooks and authors revealing what they would like to say to their mothers before it's too late, or would have said if only they'd had the chance.

All royalties go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Published by Random House and available now.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    1783 days ago
    1784 days ago
  • EOSTAR_45
    Wow, what an amazing letter! Very moving and sobering. We must be careful not to pass on these negative messages to the next generation. I enjoyed reading it tremendously. Thanks for sharing.
    1786 days ago
    My oldest DD sent me this the other day. She was thankful that I did not send those messages to her or her siblings when they were growing up. My mom sent them to me and I struggled with those ideas even though I was a healthy weight until I reached 40. Hopefully they will not start them over with their children. I guess I did some things right, and I hope every woman out there reads this article. emoticon
    1786 days ago
    1787 days ago
    love this thank you so much for posting it awesome
    1787 days ago
    Try this link,

    It's an Australian Book by Julia Morris

    Very powerful, Anna.....although I don't remember my Mum talking that way to me, she always looked so young & vibrant and beautiful, and always had a beau hanging on her every word. I have a pic of her on my photos on my page. I think down deep I wanted to look as good as she did, as soon as I made 15, I even refused to open the door to pay the (young & gorgeous) milkman, unless I had full make up on....
    But, by the same token, I cannot ever remember her putting her arms about me for a hug, she seemed forever battling against me, I never felt loved. Which explains a lot about the choices I made in my life with men. anyone who hugged me was fair game for my affections....sigh....
    Great Blog, Anna.... emoticon
    I'm sure it stirs up a lot in all of us....

    Love & Light
    Sylvia xxxx

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1788 days ago
    1788 days ago
    Thanks for sharing. Sadly, a universal phenomena that needs to stop. This is a step in the right direction and an excellent piece.
    1788 days ago
    Very moving, thank you for posting this awesome message,
    Dr. Oz Show Fans Team Leader
    1788 days ago
    What a powerful blog! Thanks for sharing it!
    1788 days ago
    It wasn't like this so much when I was young. We only had a handful of overweight kids in our class and even they were active. We had to be. I feel sorry for women growing up today. I remember this crazy guy I went to school with who is not Prince Charming by any means asking me if I knew a nice female he could date. I asked what he was looking for and he said, Not a fattie!" Very shallow.
    1788 days ago
    It is so sad that we put so much of our worth on our images. I am very fortunate as my mother never said anything negative about her or my weight. I think I will tell her today how much I appreciated it and how it has helped me be more positive in my self image.
    1788 days ago
  • FIT4MEIN2013
    OUCH! That one hit home!
    1788 days ago
    Oh my that is one powerful letter! I will definitely share it. I loved it when she said "It would be alive and therefore it would be perfect" Although my mother struggled with her weight since she is gone I never think of her being overweight. When I think of her it is her gentleness and her sharp mind that come to me.

    Thanks for sharing Anna. emoticon
    1788 days ago
    awesome but so sad but it happens
    1788 days ago
  • KANOE10
    That was an excellent article. Women can grow up with such negative thoughts about their bodies. I wish my children had not always seen me on a diet..at least now they realize that I can be happy and healthy.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1788 days ago
    A beautiful story that reflects the truth about body image. So sad.
    1788 days ago
  • L*I*T*A*
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1788 days ago
    That hit home! My mother was just like that. She was verging on anorexia when she died aged 89, all six stones of her, still complaining because she thought she was fat, while the medics told her she was severely underweight.
    She judged everybody by their weight. I often wonder if part of my own overweight problems stem from a backlash against her constant dieting, and being always told I should join WW etc. My daughter says that she never thinks of me as fat, so hopefully the body image/hatred stops with my Mum. I love my healthy strong body. Yes, it could be slimmer, but beside my health it means nothing.
    1788 days ago
    Anna you did well... except ............. Page not found

    Sorry the page you are looking for no longer exists.

    1789 days ago
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