more interesting than a sociology textbook

28 February 2010 at 10:47 pm Leave a comment

I trotted on over–in my car, that is–to Panera this afternoon for some serious working. I had lots of reading and lots of editing of papers to do and I needed a chnage of scenery. Enter: a nice little table and soy coffee at a Panera that a traveled more than a little bit to get to. My university had a basketball game today which translates to: you cannot find a parking spot on campus and/or get through campus traffic all day. I tried. I failed. So, I found a new destination.

My first “assignment” I gave myself was to read a chapter in my Sociology of Education book. (When I have lots to do, I always write out a list of what I’m going to do and in what order. It helps put things into perspective and checking off each task after completed gives me a sense of accomplishment, which translates in more motivation to keep going.) I was flowing through the pages until a group of–I’m guessing–teenage girls sat down close to me. All young, pretty, fit-looking. And then they started the fat talk. Ugh. It made me want to get up and give each girl a hug.

The conversation focused on one girl in the group saying that she was fat–or fatter than she was when she was dancing. She actually said she quit dancing because she hated the way her legs looked. Then another girl chimed in and told her that “she might be fat” but to everyone else, she was skinny. The girls continued to try to make their friend realize that she was the ideal size to the rest of world thus no need to worry; but, “yeah, you have gotten a lilttle fatter.” The original girl then goes on to talk about her mother. A 46 year-old woman who apparently prided herself on being the same size as her high school daughter. This upset the girl because her mom seemed to keep emphasizing how small she was–every comment she made to her daughter was in direct relation to her size. Ugh. It got worse. She continued to say that her mom said she was going to continue to get fat if she remained inactive–and all the girls in the group agreed.

That girl needs a hug. A huge hug. And then a pep talk. Girls need to stop talking like this and constantly comparing themselves to others. Girls can’t quit passions (like dance) just because of the mirror! I know certain sports are harder on body image than others. In my experience in horse showing, girls were constantly in a struggle to be thin (because you look better to the judges and clothes fit better) and be muscular (because you’re riding a massive animal!). Although I felt the pressures, I never considered stopping because of weight/body image issues.

Another issue: parents. Especially mothers. Mothers need to STOP obsessing over their weight and looks in order to be an example to their daughters as to what to strive for. If a mother is not comfortable with herself in her 40s, then how can a teenage girl expect to be? If moms show confidence, the girls will know its attainable.

All this was much more interesting than my book. So, I ended up only reading half the chapter and started listening to the girls (very loud) conversation. It made me want to be a teacher even more because I know I need to reach out to these girls and in particular at their age. I definitely feel like this is where my life is heading!


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