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I’m at my parents house with my kids and my mom makes disparaging remarks about her own appearance several times a day.

I knew it was bad, but I forgot how bad. It has taken me years to unlearn this habit myself and I still forget how warped my perception can be based on internalized misogyny.

I am here with my daughter and I hope these days here aren’t enough exposure to body hate for her to internalize these messages.

(Can’t remember the exact quote here)

Concern about her appearance goes some part towards ruining every woman’s day -Germaine Greer

I’m at my parents house with my kids and my mom makes disparaging remarks about her own appearance several times a day. I knew it was bad, but I forgot how bad. It has taken me years to unlearn this habit myself and I still forget how warped my perception can be based on internalized misogyny. I am here with my daughter and I hope these days here aren’t enough exposure to body hate for her to internalize these messages. (Can’t remember the exact quote here) Concern about her appearance goes some part towards ruining every woman’s day -Germaine Greer

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That was one of my biggest takeaways from working at an eating disorder recovery facility. It makes me shiver when moms say they’re fat or ugly or whatever in front of their kids. Your kids love you. They think you are the most beautiful, wonderful person in the world (most of the time). So when mom says she is ugly or her body is wrong, what does the kid think about their body? “How can I be okay if mama is ugly?”

Reminds me of lyrics from Lucy Dacus' song :

"My mother hates her body We share the same outline She swears that she loves mine"

It's a hollow compliment when your mother is self-hating

That’s so accurate. I weigh more than my mom and she keeps talking about weight loss for herself. Hard not to think about what she values. But I am grateful I am out of the house and work hard not to feel like being small and thin is what defines my value.

Especially if the daughter looks like the mom. I have my mom’s body type, pear shaped with small chest, just scaled up as I’m tall and she’s petite. Mom’s attitudes definitely effected me as a teen even though she wasn’t THAT self-hating and was positive towards my body. But kids are sponges and they don’t miss much even when it seems like they aren’t listening.

Do you have any advice for someone in a situation like me? I have a disability and I do actually need to carb-count so that I can give myself the appropriate amount of medicine. I do need to lose weight so that my medicine can work more effectively. But I don't want me doing these things to be seen as condoning societies push to do the same dang things for the male gaze.

Absolutely yes! And that is a wonderful question. As a very general rule, it is good to focus on what your body can do vs. what it looks like. So instead of “wow, look at those skinny legs. That thigh gap tho”, “Your legs are so strong! Look how far we’ve gone!”

In your case, in order to help your body do the things it needs to, you’ve got to take care of it in certain ways. If you nourish your body and give it what it needs, you can hike/garden/play/bike/remain conscious and not in a diabetic coma/etc.

If you focus on that, how your body wants to look will naturally fall into place.

When I was a tiny kid my mother was the most beautiful woman in the world to me (and to many others as my mother was truly a beautiful woman). She was also "fat." I'm not sure where I got the word "fat" to describe her; I think she said it herself. She was in fact overweight, what people often call "fat." Anyway I also said, matter of factly, that mommy is "fat". The word "fat" had absolutely no negative connotation to me, there was nothing wrong with it, any more than if she had been described as "tall" or "blond." It was only later on that I picked up on the negative valence surrounding the word "fat."

That sounds exhausting. How old are your kids? Maybe you can have a chat with them when you get home about how grandma says those things because she's unhappy and because society wants us to be unhappy with our bodies not because they're true or something to that effect.

I was really lucky, I think, my mum never talked about her appearance when we were growing up, and never fussed about food. Still doesn't. My MIL, on the other hand, is always talking about food ("good" food and "bad/naughty" food, needing to diet, other weird stuff about what the "healthiest" diet is - it's more orthorexia than appearance-based, I think), and I find it drives me up the wall. And like, both her adult kids are weird about food (one more, one less), and I don't want my kid to be weird about food! Of course we all have things we prefer and things we maybe like less, but food is food.

Yes, when I had a daughter I swore an oath to heaven that I would never weigh myself in front of them, I would never talk about diets, and I would never say anything disparaging about my body or disliking my body in front of them. I am proud to say I kept that vow, and I think it has definitely made a difference in my daughters' lives!

[–] eire 18 points

I did this, too and my daughters have the healthiest self-esteem and do not own scales. They exercise for fitness and enjoy preparing food, which they see as nutrients and not as something "bad".

It is so amazing we did this for our daughters and I hope more do!

Such a good lesson. It's the same re getting older and making negative reference to the fact. I try not to do that, but it's just super ubiquitous.

Germaine Greer is so based, sometimes I wonder why even bother talking today.

My sister used to say she was stupid whenever the slightest thing went wrong or she made a mistake. "I'm so stupid." "Because I'm stupid." etc. She's the smartest of our siblings and I never, ever hear my brothers talk like that when they make a mistake.

One day we were doing something and she made a mistake. She said "I messed this up because I'm stupid." And I finally, very gently mind you, retorted "Stop saying you're stupid. You're not stupid. You just made a mistake. That's it." That's it. She didn't reply, and we went right back to doing what we were doing. But she completely stopped saying she was stupid whenever something went wrong.

I just wonder if maybe you could do the same to your mother. She might not even realize how often she trashes herself. Women grow up thinking trashing their own self esteem is normal, so we aren't seen as a threat by others. There's a difference between being humble and emotionally treating yourself like garbage. And like you said, it really affects the people who look up to you and how they'll treat themselves going forward.

i never used to believe the "love begins with self love" philosophy or the "you can't love others unless you love yourself" - but now i firmly believe you cannot view life neutrally until you accept yourself, whether for the sake of objectivity or the sake of love. It takes an incredible amount of restraint not to be self deprecating especially in a culture of self deprecation being the backbone of much of our humor. And when you visibly pick yourself apart it hurts the ones around you who want you to be whole. I've come to realize this especially reading recovery materials. Recovery is about doing something for yourself. Others cannot make you quit doing whatever it is you're recovering from. It has to come from you. And in the process, by fixing your own situation, you show love to those around you, by showing them that you care enough about them to get it together. Negative self talk is so powerful in altering the dynamics between grown adults, not to mention children.

I just wish internet clickbait hadn't beena around and adblockers had been around when I was growing up. Those things about cellulite and one weird tip are etched into my brain and I look at my legs and think I'm hideous even though i look straight up normal.

My mother taught me this skill, right along with how to make deep-fried donuts from scratch.

My mom would also make negative comments about women's appearance. It's something I have to work on to this day.

[+] [Deleted] 2 points

My mom and dad both obsessively pick apart people’s appearances. I don’t know if my mom was like that before she married my dad, but all throughout my childhood she made it clear that looking good was her job and she was extremely anxious/self-hating about it, which made me never want to depend on a man.

It's so, SO tiring to be around that language. We've all been there with family, friends, or ourselves and it's exhausting and uncomfortable for everyone involved. It's well worth pushing back and making sure your daughter doesn't hear it.

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