Negative body image, via merchandise and marketing, strikes again.
The Wry Baby, an apparel company, has sparked controversy for selling onesies which read "I Hate My Thighs."
Cue toxic body image before females even get out of diapers!
I know, I know, the intent was not to hurt or offend; it’s about being funny, cute and whimsical.
What’s the harm, right?
· 50% of girls between the ages of 11 and 13 see themselves as overweight.
· According to Time magazine, 80% of all children have been on a diet by the time they've reached fourth grade.
· 10% report onset at ten years or younger.
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he...”
It is difficult enough being female in a world which is largely hostile to the gender. Cultural and image expectations enforce many a harmful, unrealistic and rejecting message. Unless and until a female embodies a thin, aesthetically appealing and societally acceptable standard, she is deemed ugly, worthless, undesirable and irrelevant.
I guess we need to start teaching females this lesson while they wear baby clothes.
This stuff makes my blood boil. Disordered eating and image issues abound and continue to cripple. We don’t need any more gasoline added to the fire.
“...eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder... there is a large variance in the reported number of deaths caused by eating disorders... because those who suffer from an eating disorder may ultimately die of heart failure, organ failure, malnutrition or suicide. Often, the medical complications of death are reported instead of the eating disorder that compromised a person’s health.
According to a study done by colleagues at the American Journal of Psychiatry (2009), crude mortality rates were:
• 4% for anorexia nervosa
• 3.9% for bulimia nervosa
• 5.2% for eating disorder not otherwise specified
Crow, S.J., Peterson, C.B., Swanson, S.A., Raymond, N.C., Specker, S., Eckert, E.D., Mitchell, J.E. (2009) Increased mortality in bulimia nervosa and other eating disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry 166, 1342-1346
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
Because of the controversy, Wry Baby did, in fact, remove the controversial onesie from its available apparel selection.
Problem solved? Not exactly.
For its replacement was a onesie which states, "Love for My Legrolls."
Wry Baby let shoppers vote on the item’s existence.
I’m not sure what is more troubling: the voting option the company gave to it consumers or the voters’ consensus on yet another negative body image message, focused on the female gender, in the name of cute and clever marketing.
We are all too quick to underestimate and dismiss very real danger concerning image messages. Yet, how often do these messages become entrenched in psyches, driving life-threatening mindsets and behaviors.
Disordered eating and image issues kill.
“...those who suffer from an eating disorder may ultimately die of heart failure, organ failure, malnutrition or suicide.”
If anyone printed a baby’s onesie which stated these realities on it, we wouldn’t think it was quite so adorable or clever, now would we?
Yet a road to deadly disorder starts somewhere.
We can argue about having no sense of humor; we can state how we shouldn’t take ourselves so seriously. It’s only an article of clothing.
Or is it... a stumbling block?
“Let us not therefore judge one another anymore: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.”
“…make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.”
“But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak.”
1 Corinthians 8:9
Can any one of us say, with one hundred percent certainty, such clothes as these- such messages as these- are completely harmless?
I didn’t think so.
Look, words are powerful; scripture confirms it.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”
Life confirms it.
And yes, sadly, death confirms it.
I understand the concepts of sales and marketing, of whimsy and of humor.
But this is not the appropriate context for that. A female’s body, of any age, type or size is not the avenue to express harmful messages.
However, if we make it so, we are exalting this expression as more important than the reality and the power of God.
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”
2 Corinthians 10:5
And, of course, we exalt our harmful manmade form over our Divinely- created image.
“And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
"I Hate My Thighs."
Last time I checked, I don’t think God created or expressed these sentiments.
So, come on, let’s view the quip for what it is: “...a stumbling block... to fall in his brother's way.”
And no one- certainly not babies- should ever wear that!
Copyright © 2017 by Sheryle Cruse