Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Hotness Scale

I have this quote taped to my refrigerator:

A mother who radiates self-love and acceptance actually
vaccinates her daughter against low self-esteem.
Naomi Wolf

As someone who has struggled her entire life with food and
body image issues, I plan on taking every step necessary to make sure that my
daughter does not follow in my footsteps. It is a very fine line that I walk, though, because obsessing about it
all of the time does not bode well for my daughter’s emotional well-being.

Self-esteem should probably not be at the forefront of the
parenting philosophy for a sixteen-month-old baby. So, why am I so focused on it? I guess it is because my issues have had such a significant impact on my
quality of life. Ever since I was 12
years old, I have been on some sort of diet. I was at a party recently to celebrate a friend from childhood’s
wedding. We were reminiscing and she
told me that she vividly remembers a sudden weight loss I experienced in the
eighth grade. Apparently, I confided in
her that it was the “best diet ever.” I
ate a cup of Chex Mix everyday. Oh, and
an apple I think. That was it. Do I want my daughter to reach that
point? Absolutely not. I cringe when I think about it.

I have come a long way towards self-acceptance but I still have a long way to go.  For example, when am I going to stop doing an instant breakdown of where I stand on the hotness scale compared to the other women when I walk into a room?  Conquering this demon would definitely be a step in the right direction.  I have, after all, been happily married for ten years and have zero desire to roam.  Plus, my numbers on the hotness scale haven't been at an acceptable level since my college days!  So, who am I trying to impress?  How can I make sure that my daughter is not afflicted with the same superficial flaws that pervade my day-to-day existence?  I don't know why I keep asking these questions.  I already know the answer.  Naomi Wolf tells me every time I open the refrigerator. 



  1. So true Julianne, I feel the same way but it is a tough struggle...
    one of my new favorite quotes is "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, a glass of Merlot in the other, body throughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "woohoo what a ride!"

  2. Angie, I think I'm going to tape THAT quote to my fridge!!!

  3. That is a great quote, Angie. I definitely need to get over myself. You've inspired me to get plastered and load up on 3 Musketeers!

  4. What are you talking about, Jacquelyn? Isn't that already your mantra? The "merlot" just needs to be replaced with "Cabernet Sauvignon."

  5. What is "Hotness" - am I to assume that it is whether or not you are viewed by yourself and/or others as being "hot" or us oldies would say "sexually appealing"??? It's the culture! and you cannot protect your children. Most of us are a result of what we eat and how much we exersize or burn - that's IT. We all want to look and feel better but that is a personal choice and that is tough and even tougher to instill into our children. You all must love all each at the place where THEY are and if asked - you can help them to move toward a better them - again only if asked. I'm preaching - sorry. dad

  6. Dad-
    Your definition of "hotness" is dead on and I agree that the only way to exert control over our bodies is to exercize and eat right. I also agree that society has created unreasonable expectations where our looks are concerned, especially for women. I think, however, that you are oversimplifying when you offer eating right and exercizing as a simple solution. Things get much more complex when your emotions are tied directly to food (mine are) and your self image is dependant upon your body image (mine is). It creates a vicious cycle: I feel like crap because I don't like my body. Feeling like crap makes me want to eat. I eat and eat and eat. I feel like crap because I don't like my body... You get the picture. These are the thoughts that run through my head on a daily basis. I know that it seems ridiculous and easy to cure but it isn't. Ask any woman who has ever struggled with her weight.
    My hope is that I can save my daughter from this vicious cycle by instilling in her a sense of self-worth that is completely seperate from her body image. I have a long road ahead of me because of the huge role of the media in this condition but I will do my best to teach her to rise above all of that. The point of my post today was that, in order to ensure my daughter's emotional well-being, I must conquer my own demons.
    Please keep the feedback coming. I really appreciate it.

  7. I love it when your dad writes in! I'm reduced to a red-faced, giggling 13 year-old when he includes "sex..." in his posting! Thanks, Dad, I needed to feel young, again, tonight! -hhg

  8. Heather...I could not agree with you more. I felt like Beavis and Butthead because I was thinking: "Huh huh huh. Julianne's dad said, 'sex'." Sorry to pick on your Daddy, Julianne...but this was just way too funny not to comment on! :)

  9. Heather and Jacquelyn-
    LOL (Dad, that means "laugh out loud")! You girls are so silly. My Dad's trying to be serious and you turn into giggling schoolgirls. It's OK Dad, they just haven't reached maturity yet :)

  10. This is a step in the right direction as far as I am concerned....

  11. Awesome Angie! There is hope after all! Now, if only the U.S. would follow suit.

  12. mean this blog thing is supposed to be serious??? Oh my, .... just kidding girl, 1st of all, I grew up getting my quotes from Mad Magazine and Mark Twain, so sometimes I make as much sense as a float down the river on a log raft with a big balck guy, but... ifn lil' Tater turns out anywhere as good as her mama, she'll do jest fine, and I don't remember my 2nd born ever complaining about hottness levels, so your prolley doin' jest fine yerself and if'n you need some boostin up, check with big Tim, I'll bet he can help

  13. Papa Dale-
    Don't try to use Mark Twain to cover up your bad grammar. We all know you are from the backwoods and can't talk worth a lick! Just kidding.
    Your second born is a gem and keeps me in pretty high standing on the hotness scale :)

  14. Whew! This is a loaded topic. Thank you, Julianne, for your honesty in all that you write. Here's my view. Food choices and exercise do matter a great deal; but genetics and hormones also strongly affect our body types and weight.
    Here's what we're trying to infiltrate into our dining conversations with our three year-old, Keira: "Let's eat these vegetables and meat to help us grow strong and smart, and to give us lots of energy for playing! Dessert (or candy) is a nice treat, but doesn't help us grow stronger, so let's only have a little bit." And we always tell her just to eat til she's had enough; she never has to be a plate-cleaner.
    I've also read (you probably already know this) not to use food as bribery or reward - like she has to finish the broccoli to have dessert... because then they learn that food control is power and this can lead to eating disorders later on (like the thinking "if I don't eat, then I am in control.")

  15. Spaz-
    Great tips. Thanks. I do use food as a reward and I should probably stop that. Meal times are such a struggle for us because our son is SO picky and doesn't really enjoy food. It is more of a hinderance to him than a pleasure. Getting him to eat anything is like pulling teeth. I need to revamp my strategy.

  16. I was always told to be a plate cleaner and it has lead me to do the same today. It is typical for me to go out to eat, get a huge serving, and finish it. When I leave, I feel grossly full and look at my belly hanging over my belt. My eyes were usually bigger than my belly growing up until my belly got bigger than my eyes. Now, it's a battle between the 2.

  17. I can so relate to that Uncle Carni, although I didn't have a brother who regularly referred to me as "Fatso" during my childhood. Poor thing. It's a miracle you turned out so well :)