I will admit that as a Canadian, I am proud of the stereo-type that we are an easy-going, gentle country.
I personally wouldn’t want to be glommed into a grouping that was known for being loud, demanding or obnoxious. (I am not pointing fingers at anyone here).
I like to think that wearing a flag when travelling buys me a small dollop of kindness and respect in other countries.
But are we TOO complacent?
Are we annoyed and frustrated by certain elements of the status quo, but never do anything about it for fear of stepping outside of our comfort zone?
There are so many examples that I could refer to, but this rant was brought on by my 7 year old daughter.
She refuses to wear anything more than a long sleeve shirt in the winter because sweaters and sweatshirts “make her look fat”.
She’s bright and athletic and creative and beautiful.
She’s a natural at anything she tries and she’s an A student.
She has tons of friends and would be considered “popular” amongst her peers.
She has no confidence in any of this.
What she is aware of is “looking fat”.
My heart broke.
We have made “fat” a swear word in this house, and have since the girls were born.
We try to use “get fit” or “get healthy” when referring to our own struggles and ambitions.
I rarely ever step on a scale.
I can honestly say that I would rather they use the other “F-word” in front of me endlessly than to ever hear them say the word “fat” about themselves or others.
The F-bomb can’t be internalized.
Even being called an asshole is better – because you can’t physically BE an asshole. You can have one, and act like a proverbial one – but there is no damage to your physical self-image.
“Fat” can be internalized and brooded over and causes monumental damage in self-confidence and in labelling of others.
So what does this have to do with the complacency of Canadians?
We buy the magazines that endorse sickly looking women.
We buy the products that are being sold on TV by images of “over-sexed teenagers”.
We allow child labour in as much as “Most working models start their careers at age 16″. (ABC News article)
We purchase groceries that are fat free and low calorie – and we expose ourselves (and our kids) to alternative chemical compounds to replace natural sugars and the like.
We knowingly (at the very least, subconsciously) buy into the stereotype that has caused my 7 year old to decide that it is better to look thin than be warm.
What are we doing to ourselves, and worse yet, what have we done to our children?
What’s the answer?
You can’t change the world right?
But what if we became known as the nation of “Real” people.
What if we stopped buying the magazines and products that promote this?
What if Chatelaine, Flare, Homemaker and other nationally recognized magazines put an “average” person on the cover (and throughout).
I would buy that.
I would tell everyone to buy it.
A beautiful, healthy woman – someone that eats real food.
In fact, I CHALLENGE any prominent fashion magazine to put out a real issue.
Show us pages and pages of beautifully-garbed size 12 models (the national average size of Canadian women based on an average weight of 155lbs at 5’4″)
|image courtesy of MacLeans magazine – “How Canadian Are You?” June 2012|
What am I doing to change things?
I don’t buy starving starlet magazines.
I rarely watch cable television, so I’ve all but eliminated commercials endorsing diets.
I don’t buy “calorie wise” anything.
I purchase products from companies that promote the ideals I want to see in the world (Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty).
I tell my children they are beautiful and bright and talented every single day.
I’d be an even prouder Canadian if we could group together to make this one small change.
Then none of us would have to worry that our daughters will aspire to “thigh gaps” and “bikini bridges”.
Complacency with regards to Rob Ford?
That’s a rant for another day.