I pretty much live under a rock. I don’t watch the news because it gives me nightmares. We get the newspaper but rarely read it, because ignorance is bliss Phil typically runs over it with the car first thing in the morning.
I rarely watch TV, because turning the damn thing on is as about as simple as launching a space shuttle - there are three remotes, I can only find the gray one when I need the black one, the screen is always flashing “Input 1”…it’s just not worth the aggravation. Plus, I can find just as much entertainment by taking an Ambien with a glass of Pinot Noir and make animal shadows with my hand for an hour.
But for whatever reason, this week I got a double dose of social media, and it made me want to crawl back under my rock.
Due to the schizophrenic weather patterns of late and Emma’s daily declaration of “I’m BOOOOOORRRED! Are we going to the POOOOOL????” I flipped on the Today Show (which, incidentally, should be called “The Everything But The Weather Show”) while getting dressed. Now this is probably old news in the world of Mom Bloggers, but I almost choked on my Listerine when Ann Curry launched into a story about a Jour Apres Lunes: a French designer’s “loungerie” line….for children ages 4-preteen.
Call me a prude, but shouldn’t modeling a bra require, I don’t know….BREASTS?
Now granted, I was raised in a pretty conservative Catholic household. I learned early on how sex is evil and your body shameful to take your bra off under your shirt and pull it out of your pant leg while changing in the girls’ locker room. But seriously…Toddlers in Tiaras is bad enough…but Toddlers in Thongs?
Later the same morning we went to the gym. I have been on a hiatus from running since my surgery in April, which means I am forced to seek out other forms of cardiovascular exercise. Due to a traumatic step aerobics experience about a decade ago and my slightly irrational fear of spinning instructors, I am left with the elliptical machine.
Yawn. Moving my legs in a repetitive motion while not actually getting anywhere requires external stimuli.
So my choices were to watch The View (no thank you, Elisabeth Hasselbeck), Fox News (same thing as watching Elisabeth Hasselbeck), or read Life & Style magazine. I went with the magazine, the lesser of the evils…or so I thought.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love me some good old fashioned smut as much as the next gal. I don’t know who I think I am fooling, schlepping my Joseph Campbell anthology into the nail salon, knowing that People Magazine always has me at hello.
(Funny how the Sundance Rituals of the Mandan tribe suddenly pale in comparison to Brad and Angelina’s trip to Seaworld).
But while I may not be raising my IQ by reading about Jennifer Aniston’s fertility cleanse, it doesn’t make me feel bad about the fact that my post-baby bellybutton looks like it’s wearing a batting helmet.
There is a difference between trashy and toxic.
Images of starving women in bikinis = toxic. Images of little girls in lingerie = toxic.
Lately, Emma (5), has been making me crazy full of questions about her body…and other people’s bodies:
“Why do girls have a different Front Butt from boys but we all have the same Back Butt?”
“Do people touch their own nipples?”
“Why do we need to wear underpants when it feels so much better to just let things be free down there?”
“Do boys wipe with the newspaper instead of toilet paper? No? Then why does Daddy bring in into the bathroom?”
“Can Mommies make chocolate milk?”
Now these questions, while at times a bit..delicate to answer, do not bother me. What bothers me is when she tells me that a girl at school – we will call her Lindsay Lohan- says to Emma, “Emma, you must eat too much because your tummy sticks out.”
Umm, no you little bitch Lindsay, Emma’s tummy is the tummy of a perfectly healthy little girl, thank you very much.
But what bothered me even more than the comment itself was the fact that now Emma is AWARE of her tummy….of the APPEARANCE of her tummy. Even now, months later, I will sometimes catch her standing sideways at the mirror examining her profile. When our eyes meet in the glass she always asks the same question: “Mommy, do you think my tummy sticks out?”
A seed has been planted.
And if Emma were to see these images of these scantily clad “little loungers,” she may think, “Ooh, that little girl is pretty because she gets to wear lipstick and sunglasses and a fancy lace bathing suit! But why does her body look different than mine? And of course, this little girl’s body must be better, because she’s in a magazine and gets to wear slutty fancy clothes and make-up!”
It’s Life & Style for kids.
Half-naked girls lounging….half-naked women lounging…I fail to see how it makes anyone’s day brighter. It’s exploitive, it’s depressing, it’s toxic.
So maybe if I don’t want my kid comparing her body to someone else’s…..neither should I.