Empowered by her mom to embrace her natural beauty, 10-year-old Tish Melton is taking matters into her own hands. Learn more about her touching petition here
Glennon Doyle Melton is an activist, speaker, author, and mum-of-three who, growing up, suffered from body image issues as well as an eating disorder.
When her 10-year-old daughter Tish asked her, “Mama, the other girls are all skinny. Why am I different?” It dredged up a lot of her former emotions and struggles.
But she wasn’t about to let her little girl suffer as she sat her down and gave her an empowering pep talk and penned a heartfelt essay on her blog.
“We talked about all the messages girls get about staying small and quiet and competitive and how that’s all horseshit meant to keep girls weak and separate from each other, so we can’t join forces and lead,” Melton writes. “We talked about how hard and wonderful it is to have a body, and we talked about what, exactly, bodies are for. I did my best.”
After their talk, Melton brought her daughter to the bookstore where they found a magazine rack filled with covers of seemingly emaciated women flaunting the latest fashions.
It was there where she continued teaching her daughter that a woman’s worth is so much more than her waistline or as a means to sell things.
“That’s why this feels bad to you,” Melton told her daughter. “Because this is a lie. There’s nothing wrong with you baby. There’s something wrong with this.”
A few days later, Melton was blown away by the effect their talk had on young Tish.
The 10-year-old presented her with a petition urging magazines to show authentic beauty regardless of appearance or body type, saying:
This is a petition to show that I, Tish Melton, strongly feel that magazines should not show beauty is most important on the outside. It is not. I think magazines should show girls who are strong, kind, brave, thoughtful, unique, and show women of all different types of hair and bodies,” she writes. “ALL women [should] be treated EQUALLY.”
Her mum then took a photo and shared it on her blog and Instagram.
I looked at him and said some bad words. Then I said, “I can’t do this. I AM this. How do I help her from becoming this when I AM THIS?” Craig said, “No. You can’t freak out right now. I know this is intense for you — but she needs you. You were made for this. Just tell her the truth.” And I said, “Yes. Fine. Okay.” So I went back out and Tish and I sat on my bed for two hours and talked about everything. We talked about all the messages girls get about staying small and quiet and competitive and how that’s all horseshit meant to keep girls weak and separate from each other, so we can’t join forces and lead. We talked about how hard and wonderful it is to have a body, and we talked about what, exactly, bodies are for. I did my best. The truth is – I’m still learning what it means to be a woman and how to live comfortably inside my body. Ten to forty has gone by pretty fast. Then last night, Tish and I went to a bookstore. On our way out, Tish stopped in front of the magazine rack. She stood in front of a rack made up of seven covers — covers that all displayed pictures of women, each blonder and more emaciated than the last, each angrier and more objectified than the one before. These magazine covers held up a certain type of pretend woman as the pinnacle of female achievement. Tish stared. My insides caught fire. I thought about calling her away but then decided: no. I won’t leave her to figure this out alone. We’ll wade into this together. So I walked over and said, “Confusing isn’t it? What do you think they’re trying to tell you about what it means to be a successful woman? Do you believe them?” (Full essay about Tish’s petition at the link in my IG bio)
A photo posted by Glennon Doyle Melton (@glennondoylemelton) on
As parents, it’s not just our words that have an effect on our children but also our actions and the way we treat ourselves. Inspiring them can only be achieved once we–ourselves–are empowered.
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