Skinny Arms and Skinny Jeans

The other night, my son and I saw a commercial for a s’mores flavored treat.

“I bet you would really like that!”  He said with a smile.

I told him that it looked delicious, but that I was trying to be more careful about my food choices.

“Is that because you want to lose weight?”

I was only half listening because I was exercising my pointer finger, flipping through my Twitter feed. “Yes…and because I know healthier choices will give me more energy and make me feel better.”

“If you do lose weight….will you have skinny arms like JL?”

My finger stopped flipping and I turned and looked at him.  Really?!

JL is our 16-year-old babysitter.  She is darling and young and tiny.  She is a great babysitter, but her body type is not the norm.  At least, not the norm for a 40 something, working mother, that uses food to deal with most of her emotions.

When she puts her arms to her side, there is space between her body and her arm.

At this point, I was surprised that my eight years old boy even noticed.  I was irritated.  Is my 8 years old son already getting a false sense of what “real” women look like?!  How could he think like this?  Where would he hear it or learn it?

Before I climbed up on my giant soap box and started lecturing him about character and being kind vs. the ability to wear skinny jeans, I decided to breathe.

“It doesn’t matter how much weight I may or may not lose, my arms will never look like JL’s arms.”

Long pause…

“Oh…I was just wondering.”

I guess it is human nature to classify things and people into groups or categories.  I just wasn’t prepared to be compared to the babysitter!

4 thoughts on “Skinny Arms and Skinny Jeans

  1. I had a similar moment where I was left feeling “weird” when my 8 year old made a comment. Not about losing weight but about how there was a few tiny hairs on my belly button and how my legs weren’t shaved. It caught me off guard that she seems to think women need to be this perfect hairless being. I told her that real women had all sorts of different shapes, amounts of hair, personalities, etc. I’m not sure where she’s getting her classification of what a woman should look like and what is “gross” and “beautiful” but I hope to give her a big dose of REAL if it’s the last thing I do. I want her to grow up just being who she is and not who she thinks she needs to be.

  2. Amanda-
    I wonder if eight is the age where these things start to happen. I was shocked at my son’s comment although I guess I shouldn’t be. He often has crushes in tween girls that have long hair and skinny bodies…kind of a Disney princess type of beauty.

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