Any parent knows that the constant barrage of messaging about beauty standards begins from an incredibly young age. No matter how hard you try to keep your home a judgment-free space, children just seem to automatically absorb that messaging, and it hits young girls especially hard.
And when you look at the media they're typically consuming, it's no surprise. Much has been made of Barbie's body over the years, and one look at the roster of Disney princesses will tell you that they're all perfectly tall and thin. Examples of body diversity are incredibly hard to find—which is why a new children's book called Her Body Canby Katie Crenshaw and Ady Meschke is so incredibly important.
Studies suggest that kids as young as three begin to think negatively about their bodies. A book like Her Body Can could be a catalyst in changing that. The central message is one that every kid needs to hear: "All bodies are lovely no matter their size."
The star of the book is a little girl who's powerful, athletic, and loves kale as much as cake—and who also happens to not be drawn like a stick figure.
"Worth is not measured by the shapes of our thighs," the book tells us, as the girl happily runs races, dances and plays with her friends. She's simply living her life, enjoying her childhood, respecting her body for all the amazing things it can do, without agonizing over her shape or size—just the way every girl should be able to.
The book's gotten some great reviews on Amazon, and there's a sentiment that pops up more than once in those reviews: "I wish I had a book like this when I was younger." Moms who struggle with their own body image can all too easily pass those issues onto their kids, something that co-author Crenshaw was acutely aware of and trying to fight.
"Now, there's a children's book that sends the message 30 years sooner than it clicked for me. Seeing it in the hands of your babies is an indescribable feeling," she wrote on Instagram. "Maybe it will be having the courage to be unapologetically herself in a culture of comparison games, maybe it will be the confidence to take up space in a society that demands too much of women and girls, maybe she will run a marathon someday."
"I just hope with every fiber of my being that everyone who has this book in her hands will feel the collective strength and solidarity of every girl who's in this with her and who came before her," she continued. Her Body Can has the potential to bring a whole new level of meaning to the term girl power—one that's all about self-love, acceptance and confidence at any size—and every little girl deserves to hear it.
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