According to CDC statistics, it is estimated that by age six, girls start to express concerns about their weight and body image. 40-60% of elementary school girls as a whole, between ages 6-12, are concerned about being considered "too fat." Unfortunately, the struggle with body image is real and can endure through life.
Talk of being "too fat" can lead young girls down a dangerous path that would include anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa as they set themselves upon a quest to obtain ultimate physical beauty. The median ages for the onset of eating disorders in adolescents is 12-13-years-old. In the US alone, 20 million adult women have suffered or are suffering from a clinically significant eating disorder. According to a 2010 global study, only 4% of women consider themselves as beautiful where as the remainder stated that, "the media and advertising set an unrealistic standard of beauty that most women can't ever achieve."
So, knowing the reality of body dysmorphia and body shaming bullying that girls, especially teens, face today, why would a South Carolina high-school principal tell her students that they cannot wear leggings to school "unless you are a size 0 or 2?"
Heather Taylor of Stratford High School recently held assemblies with her ninth and tenth grade students to inform them of this policy in their dress code. Her announcement was caught on audio recording and shared with WCBD.
"I've told you this before, I'm going to tell you this now, unless you are a size zero or two and you wear something like that, even though you're not fat, you look fat."
Many students came forward, calling the principal out for body shaming. "It was really hurtful, cause I felt like my size made me look disgusting towards someone in the clothes that I wear," Allison Veazy told WCBD. "I wear leggings outside of school and I wear leggings when I go and hang out with my friends, and to think that someone would think that I look like a stuffed sausage-that was kind of hurtful."
A parent of an 11th grade student, Lacy Thompson-Harper, posted on her Facebook page that, she spoke with the principal after the assembly and even though Taylor agreed to apologize, is it enough? Has the damage already been done?
"Body shaming teenage girls is uncalled for, inappropriate and unprofessional. When I spoke with her, she talked around the issue, and make excuse after excuse, effectively calling all of the students liars. This has upset many many more students than just those in the 10th grade. My daughter is in the 11th grade, and is livid. She has been ridiculed by students for her body, and should be subjected to it from teachers."
As a parent or even a student, what do you think? Sound off. We want to hear from you!