I was a tomboy, preferring to climb trees and work with the farm animals. While I had male friends from an early age, I preferred it when they were JUST friends with absolutely no hint of anything more. If I wore trousers it was to help muck out the animal pens. My mother wouldn't let me own jeans even when I started uni - I had to wear a dress. But the uni I went to was a wind tunnel, dresses would blow up over my head and so for the sake of modesty she allowed me to buy jeans.
Eventually I compromised and wore long dresses.
Dreamer, I remember those classes on how to please your husband. Laughable. My main concern was, I wanted a husband who would let me have a career as well. I figured most husbands would be happy with the extra income, even if it wasn't as much as a man could earn. I was lucky, though - at about this time, while women were still paid a lot less than men, my sister was earning almost twice as much as her husband because she had a uni degree and he was a tradesman. So by the 80s, she was back in the workforce while HE quit his job to stay home and raise the kids.
A kid I know confided in a friend of ours that Mummy & Daddy were putting her on a diet over the summer so she could lose some weight before school went back, "because being fat isn't sexy." This kid was 6, for crying out loud! And the quote - would have come from her father. We know this family well, we know their cousins well - ALL the kids are chubby, large kids to begin with who have slimmed out in their teens with no need for diets. We're all made with different shapes. But these girls grew up with a self-conscious, negative view of their bodies which they will never be able to shake, no matter how gorgeous they look now.
My mother was a large woman. Most of the women in my family are. I look back through photos of past generations, and it seems to be how we're built. But my mother was constantly torturing herself to lose weight. Then, when she was about sixty, she managed to lose a lot at last (something like the Atkins diet, from memory) and the weight stayed off. But she was never sylph-like. She was just healthier. And all the previous years - a waste of time, agony and money for the special ingredients. She would buy expensive starch-reduced rolls (which I would have loved to tuck into) which left you still feeling very hungry.
difficult child 3's former classmates from the local school - I watched these girls grow up, highly sexualised in what they wear with a lot of peer pressure on ALL girls to wear skimpy, revealing clothes clearly designed to be alluring. I remember listening in to a group of them talking about who shaves their legs - I didn't have conversations like that at school until I was in my mid-teens! And these girls were barely ten years old!
difficult child 3 is fairly oblivious. He walks in on me sometimes (but walks right out again, apologising) but often is unconscious of revealing himself when he's heading for a bath or asking me to examine a spot or sore that's worrying him. He's not displaying himself - just not cautious.
easy child 2/difficult child 2 is very appearance-conscious, but not a slavish follower of fashion.
We have girls in our town, their whole family are large from the beginning. I know they don't eat right - they're all comfort eaters. There are two girls now in their late teens who I've watched grow up. They are definitely obese - I worry about their health. But they could look so much better if they dressed to suit their colouring and shape (like their younger brother does). Instead of wearing lovely emerald greens in longer, flowing styles they instead wear short, cropped lycra tops with hipster flip skirts. In shades of hot pink! These girls have natural red hair - it could look fabulous - but instead they try to pretend it's not read by wearing all the colours that actually make them look ghastly. And so I have no doubt that they look in the mirror and see a slavish follower of fashion who can NEVER get the look right. The phrase "muffin top" constantly comes to mind. How can they feel good about themselves when everything they do with their clothing to try and fit in socially, makes them look more misfit than ever?
Incidentally, these girls apparently go out of their way to be mean to easy child 2/difficult child 2 (who really doesn't care). easy child 2/difficult child 2 is very slim, also with red hair. She NEVER wears pink, never wears lycra (although she would look fabulous in it) and chooses her clothing to make her feel good about herself and to also be an individual. I think these girls target her because she IS slim and pretty and they resent this. Sad. To feel so bad about yourself that you resent anyone who looks better because you believe they're trying to show you up.
This is the legacy of our modern society's sexualisation of children, purely to fuel the fashion industry.
Bring on Ugly Betty!