Two Perspectives: Hello Kitty vs. Mature Confidence

Bethenny Frankel_Hello Kitty

I was struck by two very different ~ and weighty ~ perspectives this week.

One belongs to a 43-year-old, successful celebrity whose boast left the world scratching its head.

The other belongs to a stay-at-home mother of two with a “heavy” message that got quite a few {thousands} of heads thinking.

{Personal disclaimer: The issue of weight easily lends itself to judgment of others.  That’s not my intent here.  In fact, the fear of others’ judgment leads to extremes on both sides of the scale.  I’d just like to highlight the “healthy” in these two recent news stories, and suggest a possible take-away}.

For a reason I can’t fathom, a multimillionaire business woman and New York Times bestselling author took to the Twitter-sphere to “brag” {with photo proof, of course} that she could fit into her 4-year-old daughter’s PJs.  After a backlash of criticism from her 1.37 million followers, she claimed that it was a joke and that people needed to “get a hobby and a life.”  She said that she donned the tiny duds to appease her daughter’s giggly request, and that she was just trying to be a good mom {my paraphrase}.

I get being silly with tots.  Nothing wrong there.  But when did acknowledging a barely outgrown toddler’s request translate into broadcasting your skinniness {or you at all, for that matter} to the world?  What were you hoping to accomplish with #pajamagate, as you later named it on Twitter?

Instead of making me feel jealous or bummed about my inability to shop in the 6X-size section of The Children’s Place, you made me really, really sad for you.

When I wore that size, I likely also still had a bed-wetting issue and thought biting was a perfectly acceptable tool to get my way.

Why on earth would I want to go back there?

You’re such an inspiration for female entrepreneurs.  You’ve accomplished so much in the business and publishing worlds.  We can all take lessons from your determination, hard work and professional savvy.

How sad, though, that someone who said, “I don’t think it’s good to constantly talk about your own weight,” would boast ~ as though it were admirable ~ that a grown woman should be proud of looking like a pre-preschool girl?

She also once said, “I never thought I’d be a role model, but I think to some people I am or have been.”  You’re definitely on a national stage.  It would be great for you to use it to encourage others following in your stead, rather than feed our world’s oppressive obsession with “thinspiration.”

On the other hand, a relatively unknown blogger and stay-at-home mother of two ~ Bridgette White of Bridgette Tales ~ also shared a revealing photo with the world this week. And, because of its equally attention-grabbing message, it made the homepage of the Huffington Post.  {Kudos Huffington Post for sharing her story}.

Huffington Post pic

Her little son snapped this shot unbeknownst to Bridgette, and she admits to “self-loathing and disgust” that arose when she saw it on her cell phone.  After asking her child why he would take such a photo, he responded, “You looked so beautiful laying there.  I couldn’t help it, mom.”  Then, her daughter concurred. “That could be a postcard, mom.  You’re beautiful, I love it!”

I’ll quote Bridgette’s response verbatim from here, because I couldn’t have said it better {and I think most of us can relate}…

I took a deep breath.  This is exactly what I needed.

My default mode is to see a focus on my flaws and imperfections.  I’m starting to see a bit more.

Right now I’m the heaviest I’ve been in 10 years.  Yet…

I have not let my weight stop me this time.  I am wearing tank tops, sundresses and bathing suits in public.  I’m running around playing with my kids this summer and I sometimes even feel attractive.

Yes.  You heard me.

Is it because I’m getting older?  Is it that I have more to worry about than just how I look?  Or maybe it’s because my kids look at me with such adoring eyes?

Really, it doesn’t matter.  I don’t hate my body anymore.

That’s huge for me to admit, and hard to even wrap my mind around.

I’m not giving up on exercising and getting healthy.  Those are things I will continue to strive for, because I want to be around awhile.

Right now, though, I just want to love my body where it is.  I want it to be OK to see myself the way my kids do.

Thank you, kids.

To date, this post has garnered 94,000 “likes” and 13,777 shares on Facebook.  I thought it was pretty awesome.

To me, she’s a rock star and I want to be her friend.

In the case of Hello Kitty… I hate that social media has become an avenue to broadcast how great, witty, skinny, accomplished, [fill in the blank] we are {for a temporary pick-me-up for our remarkably insecure egos}.  I hate the culture it’s created that makes us feel we need to prove ourselves for a few measly “likes” or to gain some more perceived “friends.”

One post underscored the narcissism {and sickness} of our times.  The second portrayed real courage and BIG strength from a wise mama and realist.

Who do you think is healthier?  Which one do you want to emulate?

Brava to this chic sunbather.

And prayers that the tiny Hello-Kitty-wearer will realize her substantial worth.

Apart from those ridiculous, kiddie pajamas, of course.

Claire Signature

2 comments on “Two Perspectives: Hello Kitty vs. Mature Confidence

  1. Thanks Claire for writing about my blog. I clearly have struck a nerve. I’m getting hundreds of e-mails from women and men telling me that it has helped them to see the beauty in their own bodies. Several women have shared pictures of them at the pool with their kids for the first time in years.

    Body image is such a personal journey and my hope is that everyone can accept themselves for where they are right now. That doesn’t mean not striving to be healthy, and I certainly am working toward that. However, let’s just stop the self-loathing and negative talk about our bodies. There is a freedom and peace that comes with accepting what is right now.

    Like

  2. Bridgette, thanks for the comment! I love what you said… “There is a freedom and peace that comes with accepting what is ‘right now.'” So wise.

    You, indeed, are an inspiration. Thanks for your encouraging words. And I saw you on Huff Post Live this week – super job!

    -Claire

    Like

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