At the age of seven, my grandson’s baby fat became youth chubbyness. His face was pinchably round, his tummy held shirts away from his body making each look more like a tent than clothing. Until the age of 10, when he discovered soccer and ran away his chubbyness, he got a little rounder each year, wearing clothes several numbers above his age. Throughout those years, he laughed at his unruly body, giving his stomach the name of Timmy, accepting it as his friend, patting it affectionately. Now his chubbyness has dissolved and he accepts his new body as he did the old. He is who he is and he accepts that.

My granddaughter, who has never been anything but slender, who wears any style of clothing with ease, who is admired for her slim body and natural grace, worries about her stomach — is it getting bigger, rounder, does it protrude, does it make me look fat in this skirt/these pants/this dress? This began when she was six. When she still slept with a doll. When she should have been carefree, she was worried about getting fat or simply looking fat even though she had no fat. Now she is nine and wanting to skip meals even when she’s hungry. She looks in the mirror and sees what doesn’t exist.

This is what our society does to females.

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