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Guest Post: “On Having a Girl”

February 9, 2011

When I decided to do the Symposium on Body Image, I asked one of my favorite bloggers, Scary Mommy, the Blog Queen, to participate. I don’t think I’ve ever read a post of hers I didn’t like. (And I’m picky.) Fortunately for me, she graciously agreed, and here is a post of hers about what it’s like to have body issues and a daughter who you hope won’t inherit them.

Enjoy, comment, and click on over to Scary Mommy to read more fabulous writing.

On Having a Girl

by Jill Smokler (Scary Mommy)

Having a girl is hard. I mean, mine isn’t even six yet; she’s years away from puberty, and it’s still hard…


I have issues with food. I am beginning a diet for the 397th time on Monday. The Monday after Thanksgiving, as I have every year that I can recall. I aspire to again fit into my skinny-ish jeans. Not the skinny jeans that I wore in college or the even skinnier ones I wore the months leading up to my wedding, but the skinny-ish ones I wore after I had Evan. Before that, I was at my smallest weight ever months during the months after Ben was born. His hospital fridge was stocked with Enfmail and Slimfast. I was motivated. I was ready. And I got there, but just couldn’t maintain it. It’s actually the reason I went off of birth control pills; the notion of being able to eat again over-rod my fears of having another child. A year before that, I intentionally got pregnant with Ben to be pregnant during my college roommate’s wedding. Being the knocked up bridesmaid was far preferable to being the heaviest one.


Lily refuses to wear flowy clothes. She claims they make her look “flat” and by “flat” she means “fat” and it’s tragic and funny all at once. She’s not even six years old for crying out loud.


When I was about ten, I stole a candy bar from a supermarket. I clumsily shoved it in my pocket while an off duty security guard watched and reported it my parents who were mere feet away. I know they were concerned: What deep-seeded issues did I have? Did I need therapy? Have an eating disorder? What should they do? Nothing, I thought. I just wanted a fucking candy bar.


Lily has been sneaking food from home. I find wrappers under the bed and smell chocolate on her breath. I see myself in her and it scares the shit out of me. I don’t want to be like my parents and limit junk food so rigidly that it becomes an obsession, but I feel like she needs strong boundaries. She’s built like a dancer and probably will never have the issues with weight that I do, but I want to do right by her. I am determining a life-long relationship with food for her, and the responsibility overwhelms me.


Being a girl is hard.

Having a girl is even harder.

Thanks, Jill, for your honesty and wit, and for participating in the Maladjusted Symposium. I’d give you a candybar anytime.

How do we change the world for our girls? How do we help them love their bodies?

Image: “Young Girl” by venturout via Flickr using a Creative Commons license.
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