More Beautiful You and Other Positive Body Image Songs

Positive Body Image Songs

Dr. Robyn Silverman

During a time when it seems that no girl can look in the mirror without criticizing what is reflected back at her, it’s refreshing to hear a song that isn’t about sex, tight jeans, boobs and long legs.  Girls and women latch on to what they hear.  We need to hear more positive messages, don’t we?

Thanks to Dara Chadwick for bringing this song to my attention.

More Beautiful You Lyrics (By Jonny Diaz)

Little girl fourteen flipping through a magazine
Says she wants to look that way
But her hair isn’t straight her body isn’t fake
And she’s always felt overweight

Well little girl fourteen I wish that you could see
That beauty is within your heart
And you were made with such care your skin your body and your hair
Are perfect just the way they are

There could never be a more beautiful you
Don’t buy the lies disguises and hoops they make you jump through
You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do
So there could never be a more beautiful you

Little girl twenty-one the things that you’ve already done
Anything to get ahead
And you say you’ve got a man but he’s got another plan
Only wants what you will do instead

Well little girl twenty-one you never thought that this would come
You starve yourself to play the part
But I can promise you there’s a man whose love is true
And he’ll treat you like the jewel you are

So turn around you’re not too far
To back away be who you are
To change your path go another way
It’s not too late you can be saved
If you feel depressed with past regrets
The shameful nights hope to forget
Can disappear they can all be washed away
By the one who’s strong can right your wrongs
Can rid your fears dry all your tears
And change the way you look at this big world
He will take your dark distorted view
And with His light He will show you truth
And again you’ll see through the eyes of a little girl

Other Positive Body Image Songs to Inspire Us to Love Ourselves and What We See in the Mirror

Put Your Records On (Corinne Bailey Rae)

Beautiful (Christina Aguilera)

Listen (Beyonce)

Unpretty (TLC)

Ugly (Sugababies)

Video (India Arie)

Any others you can think of?

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Dr. Robyn on the Radio talking about Body Image

Dr. Robyn SilvermanCraig Cohendr. pauline wallin 6-15-09 body image

Dr. Robyn Silverman, Dr. Pauline Wallin & host Craig Cohen on SmartTalk radio this AM talking about body image. Listen now!

This morning, I had the pleasure of being on WITF SmartTalk radio, a division of NPR, talking about body image. We discussed everything from the media’s influence, the parental influence, peer influence, and plastic surgery.

Some of the topics:

(1)   How early can issues of body image be seen in children? Studies over the last 40 years tell us that children as young as 3 or 4 (and certainly by kindergarten) already perceive the societal pressures to be thin.  Whether the children themselves are thin or what the medical world would call “overweight” when shown pictures of all different children they label the largest one as the child they wouldn’t want to look like at all, the one who has the fewest friends, the one who they’d least likely want to be friends with, the one who is the meanest—and I’ve had plenty of parents who’ve come to me and said that their 4 year old asked them if they were too fat, their 5 year old wants to know if they need to go on a diet, and other weight-oriented comments that would cause any parent alarm.

(2) How pervasive is this problem of negative body image? Let me first say that the issue is so pervasive that it is no longer a “clinical” issue—we have created a culture of girls who are obsessed with weight such that it is more normal to be on a diet than not—to feel bad about your body than not—to think about your weight than to not– There are many good studies on this topic and the statistics can be startling—

  1. Some studies tell us that up to 80% of girls are dissatisfied with their bodies and have a fear of being fat
  2. And over half are dieting at any given time
  3. Almost 2/3 of girls use “unhealthy weight control behaviors” (whether it’s laxatives or purging or diet pills or powders)  to lose weight
  4. Anywhere from half to ¾ of girls say they weigh too much whether the medical world would say they do or not
  5. The main thing to notice here is that feeling fat and going on a diet is becoming the norm—and dieting is more prevalent than not-dieting.

What are the body image issues for boys? Boys are dealing with something that is now informally being called “The Adonis Complex”—named after the Greek mythology figure Adonis who was half man and half god—he was considered the ultimate in masculine good looks and ideal physique for men. And, if you are familiar with Greek mythology, Adonis had a body that was so perfectly beautiful that Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, fell in love with the site of him. Boys are hearing messages about how they are supposed to look too– and they internalize these messages and are prone towards negative eating practices, steroids, and other alternative methods to thin out and buff up.

I want to add this fascinating and “sick” new development. “Now even Vogue thinks you can be too thin”

And how about this for insane? Bony models are digitally retouched to look fuller.

Listen to the broadcast to find out more!

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Clean the Plate Club: The Weight of Mom and God?

pasta plateDisband the Clean the Plate Club?

Dr. Robyn Silverman

Thank you to all of you who have already submitted stories to my body image story website in preparation for my forthcoming book!  It is very telling– so many stories have similar themes.  This one, which came in recently, hits on a point I want to talk about today: The Clean the Plate Club.

food_plate

Colleen’s Story: My Mom is a card carrying member of the clean the plate club. I guess that makes me one too. I have always felt like I needed to sneak food since the girls in the house weren’t supposed to really eat “real food.”.  My Mom would always say,  ‘no don’t eat the meatballs, eat the salad.’  I would think to myself, “but I want the meatballs.” I know now that forcing me to eat the salad only meant that I would eat the salad in front of her and then go back and eat the meatballs when she wasn’t looking.  So I wound up eating double.  Denying me the food would only make me want it more.  Then I would be out with my friends and I would think “Ha! Nobody’s watching so I can eat whatever I want.”   “You did not leave the table without cleaning your plate.  It was a sin to waste food–as opposed to eat until you are full.  It says it in the bible that you can’t waste.  My mother would always quote it so it was ingrained in me at a very early age. “It still sticks with me.  I say it all the time when I am out with friends.  I tell them, ‘I am so full, I couldn’t eat another bite.  And they tell me just to take it home.  But I say, “no, no, no, I have to eat everything.  That was what I was told growing up.’ That is why I continue eating but feeling bad about it.  I was told you have to finish everything but told not to gain weight at the same time. ”

What are studies telling us?

(1) Little girls as young as 3 years old are being warned by their parents to watch how much they are eating so that they do not gain unwanted pounds.  At the same time, little boys at the same age and size are being encouraged to “eat up” so that they become strong and solid big boys (International Journal of Eating Disorders. 2005). Girls are clearly being given different messages than are boys when it comes to food.

(2) Parents who try to control their children’;s food intake by insisting that their children clean their plate are the more likely to find that their kids, especially the boys,  request larger portions of sweetened cereal at daycare (Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 2008).  In fact, in a recent study, preschool aged members ate 35% more fruit loops than those who were not members of the clean the plate clubwhen given an unlimited portion. This interferes with children’s own ability to listen to their bodies and determine when they are full. They begin to be at war with food which can affect their relationship with food and their bodies.

hotdog clean the plate club

In addition. studies clearly show that families of adolescents with disordered or problem eating tend to overemphasize food, fat, dieting, and weight.  An overemphasis of food and food control is associated with a higher incidence of girls eating when they are not hungry.  Daughters whose families control food and emphasize diet are more likely to have mothers who are more critical of their daughter’s weight and figure.  Not surprisingly, such a family climate is associated with a girl’s greater concern about weight.

Interestingly, when I bring up these issues with some of the girls and women who have been guilted into cleaning their plates, they bring up issues of God and respect for their elders. In fact, when I followed up with Colleen and I asked her if she thought she could change her behavior so she could reclaim ownership of her body she wrote; “Well, how could I go against God’s word?  And every daughter knows saying “no” to their Moms is harder than you think.”

I think it is safe to say that “clean your plate” is no longer good advice.  No offense to Mom or God.  It may have been a good preservation technique during the depression or at times of famine or scarcity, but that does not apply to the lives of these girls.  Studies show that once the power struggle is taken out of meal times, children will self correct their under eating, overeating, and general weight problems.   It seems difficult, however, for parents to refrain from pushing “one last bite,” “clean your plate”  or “you shouldn’t eat so much of that.” Every child is equipped with a hunger gauge with controls how much they should eat.  If parents continually override those signals, the child will have trouble tuning in to that hunger gauge and relying on something internal, rather than external, to tell her how much to eat.

What are your thoughts? Does the clean the plate club influence how we feel about food or our bodies? Weigh in.

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Dr. Robyn to Be On SmartTalk Radio Show: June 15th

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Dr. Robyn Silverman on WITF’s SmartTalk

Hi everyone!

Join me via the web or on the radio in Harrisburg, PA, for an hour long discussion on body image on June 15th at 9am EST.  We’ll be mainly focusing on girls but will touch on the challenges for boys as well.  “Smart Talk” is on the station WITF, an affiliate of NPR, and can be heard through the web if you’re not in the Harrisburg area.

Host Craig Cohen will lead the discussion on Body Image. From the shows and ads on TV, to the models in newspapers and magazines, to storefront windows, to…well…anywhere you look – images bombard us that tell us what we’re supposed to look like. And many of those images are not only utterly unrealistic, they can do great harm – to adolescents especially – who grow concerned about their body image. Vanity also has led to a booming cosmetic surgery industry. But where’s the line between reasonable, appropriate efforts to look one’s best, and unreasonable, unrealistic efforts to reach some sort of ideal? And what does it say about us that we feel so compelled to always look “better?”

If you’d like to hear the full show at a later date/time, audio will be archived that afternoon at witf.org. Click on the SmartTalk icon and look for Monday’s blog entry on Body Image.

Would love to hear from you!

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Adverse Advertising Exploiting Girls’ Body Concerns

Have you seen this?  In the Netherlands, Fitness First,  a large privately owned health club group, decided to make an interactive advertisement as a push to get more people in the gym.  What do you think? Barbaric and body bashing or necessary to make people more aware of their weight (as if they already aren’t???).

fitness first

As you “weight” for the bus, you find you are actually sitting on a public scale that displays your weight for all to see.

Would this make you want to join the gym?  Think we need one of these on every street corner in America? Horrified? Humored? Weigh in.

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