walking through the lobby of the office building where i spent my day, i couldn't help but notice two kids, probably about 10 years old, standing by the elevators. each of them were turned sideways, looking over their shoulders at their reflections in the gold elevator doors. somewhat like what you see in mirrors at a fun house, their reflections were slightly wavy and elongated, giving both an appearance of being stretched unnaturally like taffy on a warm day. i barely gave them a second glance as i approached, until i overheard their conversation. it went something like this...
girl: "look how skinny we look in these doors!"
boy: "yeah, we look weird"
girl: "i almost look anorexic!"
boy: "um, what's 'anorexic'?"
girl: "duh. it's when girls don't eat so they can be skinny and get people to like them."
boy: "that's stupid. i wouldn't ever do that."
girl: "well, boys aren't anorexic, stupid. i wish i could have a mirror like this in my house. i look so skinny!"
i didn't know whether to go over to that little girl and smack her, hug her, yell at her or all three. when did kids get so body conscious and buy into the idea that people don't like you unless you're thin? what happened to the days of just playing with your friends and not worrying about how much you weighed or how skinny you looked? it made me really sad....and annoyed...and pissed off. that girl is just an eating disorder waiting to happen. the boy, on the other hand, didn't even know what anorexia meant, much less think he needed to starve himself to be liked.
when is our society going to accept people for who they are and not what size clothing they wear? yes, there is a responsibility to maintain a healthy weight, exercise and eat a balanced diet, but why should women feel the pressure to be morbidly thin when only 2% of the population have bodies like kate moss or angelina jolie? (granted, these two aren't the best examples, with kate's little coke habit and angie's pledge to avoid food because kids in africa are starving, but you know where i'm going here. )
i walked out the door shaking my head in disappointment and frustration. i wonder when that little girl will understand that it really is who you are as a person that either attracts or repels others, not the fact that you can go days without food or go home and throw up everything in your stomach. i hope she finds friends who are comfortable in their own skin and help her be the same with herself. i wish our media would stop congratulating skinny starlets with coke problems and eating disorders for shrinking before our very eyes. i'll look forward to the day when 10-year-old kids can focus on playing with their friends and having fun instead of worrying about body image and losing weight. unfortunately, i think those days are far, far away...