I enjoy watching these wedding dress shows [TLC] and one of them is excusive to curvy girls. The boutique is run by two women who do an amazing job helping these girls build their confidence and look gorgeous. In one of the episodes, this mother keeps referring to her daughter as a Hippo and you can see the girl just shrink at the body shaming comment. The mother goes on to say “hippo” repeatedly during the consult, till Jo, one of the ladies who owns the boutique tells the mom to stop it and be nice hereon. I was stumped the first time the mother called her daughter a “hippo” and more s when she went on and on. Especially when the girl is trying to find a wedding dress and overcome all her anxiety and fears of not finding a dress to fit her.
It’s truly upsetting to hear about mothers behaving in a way that squishes their daughters’ morale and says demeaning things. I started digging around and reading up, trying to make sense of this behaviour, especially cos I’ve grown up in a household where family did make fun of me for being a large girl. Unfortunately, this complex issue has no single, simple answer, but there are several factors that could contribute to this dynamic:
- Unmet needs: Sometimes, mothers themselves might be struggling with unmet needs, stress, or mental health issues, leading to behaviours that unintentionally hurt their daughters.
- Lack of self-awareness: Some mothers might not be aware of how their words and actions impact their daughters, particularly if they grew up in environments with similar dynamics.
- Cultural expectations: Certain cultures have ingrained expectations around child-rearing that might emphasize strictness or control, sometimes leading to behaviours perceived as demeaning.
- Personal insecurities: In some cases, mothers might project their own insecurities or unhappiness onto their daughters, putting them down to feel better about themselves.
- Controlling tendencies: Some mothers might use criticism and negativity as a way to control their daughters’ behavior or choices.
- Unhealed trauma: Mothers who experienced their own difficult childhoods or trauma might unknowingly repeat similar patterns with their daughters.
It’s important to remember:
- Not all mothers behave this way, and the vast majority strive to support and uplift their daughters.
- Judging individual mothers without understanding their circumstances is unhelpful.
- If you or someone you know is experiencing this dynamic, seeking professional help can be crucial for understanding the root causes and finding healthier ways to interact.