the Path from Shame to Pride

They surveyed 169 mother-daughter pairs for the study, but they specifically didn’t ask participants whether they self-identified as feminists.

Instead, they analyzed participants’ feelings about their power as a woman, how connected they feel to their bodies, and how in control they feel of their own lives, in addition to other measures of feminist values.


Daughters who embraced their bodies and spoke positively about themselves, though, served as a positive influence on their mothers. Moms with more body-positive daughters were more likely to have a better body image of themselves.

This shows how the one way we can break the intergenerational cycle of negative body image is by empowering mothers to accept themselves and love their bodies, and that’s what we can teach our daughters.

Negative Body Talk Is A Vicious Cycle

Negative “body talk” is common, particularly among women and it sometimes operates like a feedback loop. A woman tells her friend that she thinks she needs to lose weight. The friend rushes to reassure her that she looks great.

But it’s not as simple as telling moms to fake confidence until they make it. The moms in the study grew up in the ’70s and ’80s, a period where body positivity wasn’t a concept, let alone the movement it’s grown into over the past decade.

They were also likely hyperaware of the obesity epidemic, which placed value judgments on bodies and condoned discrimination against people in larger bodies.

The mothers in our sample were likely taught that their bodies, which naturally could never meet those beauty ideals, are deficient and should be subjected to ongoing improvements.

Body Image Issues May Be Fixed By Feminist Thoughts

So, is the answer to the body image crisis for mothers to talk more positively about themselves in the presence of their daughters? Not exactly. That’s not what is needed. Researchers wanted them to truly accept the body that is carrying them through their lives.

Moms can be honest and open with their daughters about their struggles with body image, but they should also strive toward being more accepting of themselves and encouraging their daughters to follow suit.

The mother-daughter relationship is one of the few times that this kind of body talk is good because they have a history of sharing and caring that might be different from two strangers who typically engage in body talk to fit in. You don’t have to be proud of yourself only even for your gender too.

Source: Medindia

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