Best Of The Web
“Mom guilt, that trendiest of emotions, is generally not my thing. But there is one notable exception: when I catch myself looking at myself disapprovingly in the mirror, showcasing my insecurities about some real or perceived flaw in my appearance while my 18-month-old daughter stands by as my audience of one. I feel shame because she is watching all my cultural, social, and familial conditioning about female appearance play out in front of her. It’s an internal monologue I am not eager to pass down.
As it turns out, my mom guilt may be warranted. Kids are sponges, according to an old truism. They are also monkeys, closely copying what others do. Even as mothers take pains to point out good role models for girls—for instance, those pioneering women on the soccer field or in the presidential race—we’re also transmitting to our daughters, sometimes unconsciously, our own destructive fixation on beauty. We should be doing the opposite. Indeed, deflecting attention from how girls look is one of the most important, if fraught, issues of our time.
A 2016 study in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology called “Body Dissatisfaction and Its Correlates in 5- to 7-Year-Old Girls: A Social Learning Experiment,” revealed what I feared: When mothers and their young daughters are put together in front of a mirror, girls emulate how their mothers talk about their own bodies. In the experiment, the mothers had to describe their body from top to bottom. One group had to say only negative things and the other group only positive things. Marisol Perez, one of the lead researchers of the study and a body-image expert, says some of the women couldn’t find anything redeeming to say about themselves. And what mothers said made a strong impression on their daughters.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"Blackface. I’ve been writing about, and researching – and opposing – racism for more than thirty years. And make no mistake: blackface isn’t funny. It’s racist. Ask Megyn Kelly. A year ago, the former Fox News star was filming a segment about..."
"Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “selfie line” may be a “political phenomenon,” according to CNN, but it’s also a misnomer, twice over: The photos that supporters end up with aren’t technically selfies—campaign aides snap them—and no one waits in a line..."
"In the archives of the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, there is an old postcard from the city aquarium of a large sea turtle with four boys straddling its back. The turtle lies flattened upon a pathway in front of a fence. At the feet..."
"As we celebrated my granddaughter’s third birthday this summer, I made the following rough calculation: I’d trekked from my home in New Jersey to her Brooklyn apartment roughly 150 times to provide once-a-week day care, plus other times as needed."
"That seems to be the emerging bipartisan consensus. “On the evidence we have, the meritocratic ideal ends up being just as undemocratic as the old emphasis on inheritance and tradition,” writes New York Times columnist Ross Douthat. “Our..."
"It was the 2019 Pet Sematary that finally broke me. Was this really necessary? I seethed in a theater earlier this year, at a loss for why anyone would green light a self-serious update to a 30-year-old so-bad-it's-good movie. "Update," even, was.."
"Tuesday was election day in Israel. But no winner has yet been declared. As of this writing, it appears that the parties committed to supporting Benjamin Netanyahu for prime minister will not win a majority in Knesset. At the same time, the..."
"The last time Netflix asked me “Are you still watching?” I had to think really hard about it. Was I still watching? Or at least enough to make my $16-a-month payment worth it? The subscription economy can be a wonderful thing. We don’t have to..."