I‘ve seen a lot around the Be Real Body Pledge, especially the Dove #PledgeToBeReal campaign but it’s all aimed around women and girls. It’s focused on mums, teachers, mentors etc teaching their girls about positive body image but what about our boys? Should we not also be teaching them too? Focusing on them too?
There’s so much talk about girls being affected by the likes of heavily photo-shopped Kim Kardashian giving our girls an unnatural & unattainable body image but our boys are also seeing these images. Our boys are also being presented with false images of what women and girls should look like. Our boys are also getting a distorted view of the ‘ideal woman’.
Just as our girls need to know their worth is not measured by the bathroom scales we also need to teach our boys about realistic body & beauty image too. Just as our girls will develop into young women, our boys will soon be men.
I have conversations with my teenage son about girls. About how he should treat them and how he should respect them. He is learning that he shouldn’t expect real girls to look like those he sees on MTV in the skimpy bikinis with their perfectly contoured faces, tiny waists and huge boobs. He knows a woman is not defined by her bra size, his mama has taught him well.
He knows his mum likes to get dressed up and wear make up but he also knows that I’m more than comfy in a hoodie and not a scrap of make up.
My boys see me going to the gym and know I like to work out. But they also know that I work out to be fit and healthy. They know that it’s part of my healthy lifestyle not because I look or feel fat or I’m trying to look like the airbrushed ‘ideal’ presented in the media.
I understand why Dove is aiming at mums of girls, because it does affect the girls directly but what about the parents of boys? We need to do our part too. Men are involved in all aspects of the media & advertising, sometimes more so than women, and our boys will soon become men.
But as Papa Tont has brought up in the comments below, our boys also need to learn male positive body image too. I was originally going to write a separate post on this but I think it all needs to be together, hence why I’m edited this post. Boys and men are also affected in numerous ways.
Some may develop an eating order based on their feelings about weight, some may want to change their body shape based on the role models they see in the media.
Brandon is 15 and already wants a gym membership. He plays football for a local team and has at least one training session and one match a week. Plus his sports at school, PE and BTEC PE. He gets a serious amount of exercise yet still wants a gym membership to ‘bulk up’.
I don’t feel he’s old enough to working out. He should be hanging out with his friends not stressing about working out, and as his parents we need to educate and guide him.
So whilst I completely agree with Dove and their ‘real women’ campaign, if we’re really going to make a change then it’s more than just about the girls, it’s about the whole generation.