Sonni Abatta, a mom and blogger, has a bone to pick with a store she recently visited. According to a now-viral Facebook post, she spotted a lunchbox promoting dieting to young girls. After spotting the pink "Cheat Day" lunchbox, Sonni explained that it was extremely problematic, regardless of whether or not it was in the kids' section specifically — which some readers refuted in the comments.
"See this? This is a picture I snapped today of a little girl's lunchbox that I saw for sale at a popular department store," wrote Sonni. "Why do I say it's marketed toward little girls? It's pink, it has sequins and it was surrounded by other girls' merchandise. So, safe to say that it's aimed at our daughters. I am SICKENED that this phrase is on a lunchbox."
She explained that many young girls are already struggling with their self-image and that this has the potential to make them even more self-conscious.
"We scratch our heads when we see our little girls struggle with body image, with self-worth, with confidence," she said. "We wonder, 'Why do our girls worry so much about their bodies so young?' 'Why does my five year old call herself fat?' 'Why does my middle schooler stand in front of the mirror and find all her flaws?'"
"THIS. This is part of the reason why," she explained. "Our world is telling our girls that it's 'cheating' if they eat something that's not 100 percent fat-free and perfectly healthy. In turn, that tells them that self-control and denying herself is to be valued above all. And that if she dares to step outside of the foods that will keep her perfectly slim and trim, then she is by default "cheating" and needs to feel some sense of remorse."
"Our world is telling our girls that it's 'cheating' if they eat something that's not 100 percent fat-free and perfectly healthy."
"Look, I'm not saying a diet of strictly sugar and chips is right either; but by God, why would a company ever pile onto our girls' already-fragile senses of self by making her feel as though she's 'cheating' by eating something that's — gasp — not made of vegetables and air? 'You're overreacting!' you might say. To which I say, No. We are not overreacting when we ask more of the world when it comes to how they treat our girls."
She noted that there is a double standard when it comes to gender. "Can you imagine a similar message directed toward little boys? For the record, I'd be equally offended . . . but I haven't seen anything that is aimed at making our boys feel bad about what they eat, or how they look," she said.
The bottom line? Girls need to have a healthy relationship with food starting at a young age.
"So here's what I want to say, and what I will tell my girls," she said. "Girls, you are not 'cheating' when you enjoy good food. You are not 'cheating' when you eat pizza. You are not 'cheating' when you have a cookie, or two, on occasion. You are not 'cheating' when you live in moderation and allow yourself things that make you happy."
She continued: "You are beautiful, worthy, intelligent, and whole beings — whole beings who are worthy of so much love and respect, no matter what anyone, or anyTHING, says. Girls, you are MORE than your bodies. More than your faces. More than your complexions. More than the clothes you wear and the things you buys and the other girls you hang out with."