Today after school, a conversation took place in our lab that shook me to the point of speechlessness. I don’t want to give specifics out of respect to those involved, but I feel compelled to call upon all adults as a result.
We must pay closer attention to how we talk about our faces and our bodies to others.
We must pay closer attention to how to how we think about our own faces and our bodies.
We must call out photoshopped faces bodies when we see them, tell the young people in our lives that those images are not real, that people do not look like that.
We must explain the often unsustainable regimens actors endure for superhero films.
We must call attention to the strengths of children and teens in our lives that have nothing to do with their appearance: talents, abilities, personality traits.
We must call attention to what the children and teens in our lives can do with their bodies: dance, help, comfort.
We must explore ways to help children and teens internalize that their faces and bodies have beautiful elements despite what Instagram influencers are subtly telling them. Seek out those challenging beauty norms, like Lindsay and Lexie Kite.
Teach young people how to challenge, challenge, challenge every image they see.
And we need to do this for all young people, regardless of gender.
Young people need us to show up in ways we might not have imagined, because the world they are living in resembles nothing we may have imagined when we were younger. We might think we don’t need to be specific with some of the things we say and do; we might think our young people just “get it.”
But I’m at a point now where I don’t want to assume they do. We should err on the side of being too obvious, rather than risk that assumption.