Who told females they had to be USDA-approved and ninety-eight percent lean? Who in the H-E-Double-Cuss said beauty had anything to do with dress sizes?

I’m sorry. That’s what I want to say to any woman reading this. I’m just flat-out sorry.

The world is trying to squash you like an albino cockroach, and you deserve an apology.

Today’s modern female is expected to be a walking-talking industrialized domestic machine.

If she’s not busy bathing toddlers, dropping kids at soccer, or changing her own transmission fluid, she’s supposed to be planning a three-course supper, scrubbing dirty underwear, learning a foreign language, or making her living room fit for HGTV.

She must be a certain size, weight, width, she must have a gym membership, a midsection stronger than most outboard motors, tight underarms, young-looking hands, perfect teeth, slender neck, soft-spoken voice, no gray hairs, no eye wrinkles, and the amiable disposition of Princess Grace of Monaco.

I’m even sorrier for young girls.

Not that it matters what I think, but I believe television and magazines are trying to ruin females.

Take a gander at the magazine racks in the Piggly Wiggly. Half-naked bodies on magazine covers. Pop-stars dressed like senators from Planet Krypton. Reality television hosts with plastic hindparts.

Anyway, the reason I am writing this is because of my friend’s daughter. Her name is not important. But let’s call her, Little Miss Alabama.

She is in seventh grade, top of her class. An athlete, a social butterfly, a horseback rider, fluent in Spanish, math wiz, funny, kindhearted, and well-loved.

Miss Alabama has dreams of attending Auburn University, she wants to study zoology, she is pretty, has brown hair, blue eyes, flawless health.

She has aided in the birth of exactly three colts. She can spit farther than any boy, and cook just as well as granny alive. I know this; I have eaten her biscuits.

And she hates herself.

Well, not her SELF, exactly. But she hates her body. She thinks she’s too fat, and she’s disgusted with her own reflection.

Well son of a biscuit.

Who told females they had to be USDA-approved and ninety-eight percent lean? Who in the H-E-Double-Cuss said beauty had anything to do with dress sizes?

Look, I have no right to talk about things I don’t understand. I’m not a woman—you might’ve noticed. But I do cry at “Steel Magnolias” so hard I have to pause it after Shelby’s funeral. And that counts for something.

And, I am a person, by God. I don’t like what people are doing to other people.

I don’t like underwear commercials. I don’t care for celebrities that People Magazine says I should care about.

And when I hear about my friend’s thirteen-year-old girl who believes herself to be—in her own words—“ugly, and fat,” it is an affront to my human-hood.

The voices on TV are too loud. They tell girls who they should be, what they should do, how they should think, what their den should look like, how their waistline should appear, what they should eat, and what they should feel.

There are too many voices talking to our women.

So here’s one more:

This world owes you an apology.

41 comments

  1. dkbfox - May 14, 2018 9:23 am

    I am going to share this and I hope every woman, and “every man” who reads it shouts, “Hell, yeah!”

    Reply
  2. Eleanor - May 14, 2018 10:47 am

    You go, Sean! And this applies to older women, too.

    Reply
  3. Ndogg - May 14, 2018 10:53 am

    Remind your friends daughter that muscle weighs more than fat. She is athletic- therefore, the scale number means nothing!!
    My daughter had a doctor tell her she weighed too much. My daughter stopped eating. Once we went over her diet and athletics, she found out for herself that she was perfect and beautiful! And she truly believes that now.

    Reply
  4. Howard Yeager - May 14, 2018 11:05 am

    Yes! By God!

    Reply
  5. Martha Tubb - May 14, 2018 11:38 am

    YES!!! Thank you !!

    Reply
  6. Joan Raines - May 14, 2018 11:42 am

    You hit the nail on the head Sean and I love you for speaking up on our behalf. I might add that if you are beyond 60 you don’t even count in the scheme of things.I am a reasonably attractive woman and at 50 men started looking thru me not at me. Too build their ego they want trophy women and young. The President is a good example and I fault the women for “buying” in to this. Keep up the conversation , Unfortunately sex sells.

    Reply
  7. Mary Collett - May 14, 2018 11:48 am

    Once again, Sean, you hit the nail on the head. I agree and wish every young girl would read and believe this. Thanks and please keep on writing.

    Reply
  8. Gail Pollock - May 14, 2018 11:48 am

    Amen brother from a sister! Love your column, please keep up the good work!

    Reply
  9. Melanie Tighe - May 14, 2018 11:53 am

    About that zoology degree…I too love animals and graduated college with a zoology major. Imagine my shock and dismay when I learned during my first job interview that the euthanasia of baby rabbits would be involved (for the benefit of cancer research). That was in 1980. Things have changed since then however if I had to do it over I would major in animal husbandry. P.S. I ended up with a 40 year and counting career in Information Technology and no animals were hurt in the process.

    Reply
  10. Realist - May 14, 2018 11:54 am

    its ok Sean. One day the girl who feels like she has to pretty for a guy(s) will make more money than him and be promoted over him just because of her gender. No matter how much she can lift or how well she can lead.
    She’ll get em back. Fret not friend.

    Reply
  11. neilda andres - May 14, 2018 11:56 am

    very well said just wish every young overweight personcould read

    Reply
  12. Terri - May 14, 2018 12:04 pm

    Amen, amen and amen!

    Reply
  13. Jack Darnell - May 14, 2018 12:04 pm

    Okay, now you said it! You ‘done’ a pretty good job of it too!

    Reply
  14. Kimberly - May 14, 2018 12:07 pm

    Amen!!

    Reply
  15. Gerald Dowling - May 14, 2018 12:22 pm

    Sean, being older, Would suggest that the first I noticed this change was when it became fashionable for women to pump their own gas. It seems that the outrageous display of the loss of our sensitivities came from TV, but has now drained down to commercials and the front of questionable magazines, I only pick up Southern Living now, and that’s just to read ‘Rick Bragg’s’ comments on the back pages.
    Why do we punish ourselves by turning on the morning news in the morning to set the pace for the day when we have blogs like yours available.
    But as I heard someone say, and others often, “It is what it is”. So what can we do?
    We can’t change the world individually, but we can change ourselves.
    We don’t have to follow the instructions of the media, “why in the world do I care which millionaire basket ball player is dating the next little Kardashian to come along.
    The only high paid movie star to ever come to my hometown and waved to me and shook my hand was Johnny Mack Brown. Those were the heroes little boys grew up with in South Alabama. Now what do the kids have, “guns, guts, and glory through the scope on an automatic rife”
    Let’s take that little girl of boy out to visit our neighbors, or have some of their friends over for a hot dog roast in the backyard, or water million in the front yard.

    Reply
  16. Dianne - May 14, 2018 12:24 pm

    Thank you for saying absolutely perfectly what so many young girls, young women, and mothers need to hear. God loves each one of his children no matter what they look like, and that should be the most important thing. In His eyes, we are all valuable, precious, and priceless.

    Reply
  17. Connie - May 14, 2018 12:25 pm

    Well said and AMEN! Have a blest day!

    Reply
  18. Mike Guilday - May 14, 2018 12:31 pm

    This is so true! And they carry this burden with them into adulthood. Some then unfortunately pass it on to their daughter(s). So sad.

    Reply
  19. Cindy - May 14, 2018 12:51 pm

    Thank you!

    Reply
  20. Sue Cronkite - May 14, 2018 1:02 pm

    “There outta be a law agin it!” I know a young girl going through the same thing. She is smart, except for that one thing, beautiful, but beginning to look like a cadaver who starved to death. Her mother and grandmother are heartbroken. What can anyone do?

    Reply
  21. Marty from Oakman - May 14, 2018 1:17 pm

    Amen and again,Anen!

    Reply
  22. Edna B. - May 14, 2018 1:25 pm

    Well said, and very important. Thank you for speaking out for the girls. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  23. Alicia Mey Kasen - May 14, 2018 1:39 pm

    Amen! Preach!

    Reply
  24. Carolyn Huggins - May 14, 2018 1:58 pm

    Sean, so kind of you to write about women…but, being one, I’ve always felt that if raised to have self-esteem, one would pay no attention to those “You have to be/look like this… to be a real woman.” Being a woman, I REALLY feel sorry for the loss of identity that some men have gone through. When “some” women decided to take on the world…give up their role of Mom..and “do their own thing,” it left the man wondering where he fitted into the equation. “Some” women take offense even if a man is gentleman enough to open a door for her…the ones of the “I can do it myself” mantra. I’m all for respect for both men and women…but the loss of identity of both has really put a damper on our society.

    Reply
  25. Don, The Retired O'l Geezer From Montgomery - May 14, 2018 2:50 pm

    Hip hoorah, Sean! Hip hoorah! I’ve been convinced for some time that the fashion and advertising industries are infested with woman-hating trolls. Jeez Louise, who are they to decide that anorexia is a standard of beauty? Man oh man. Some few years back our local paper, “The Advertiser” ran a fashion ad produced locally. It featured real young women! Not a single clone of a skeletal “beauty” was among them. It was wonderful and refreshing. I just wish those anti-women so-and-so’s would dry up and blow away. Keep up the OUTSTANDING work, sir!

    Reply
  26. Jack Quanstrum - May 14, 2018 3:17 pm

    Excellent narrative on today’s society norms for girls and ladies.

    Reply
  27. Nix LaVerdi - May 14, 2018 3:21 pm

    Your words are freakin’ GOLDEN. You are spot on, Mr. Sean. Thank you for the support and your voice. Amen.

    Reply
  28. Linda Till - May 14, 2018 3:31 pm

    Thank you, Sean!! From a lifelong short, fat lady who is now an old, short, fat lady. I, too, spent most of my 70 years hating my body. I really feel for all kids today. And women are supposed to be Wonder Woman in all that they do. Thank you.

    Reply
  29. Jenny Young - May 14, 2018 4:17 pm

    I love your blog & the way you can find such beautiful stories but I have to disagree with this perspective. As a woman, we’ve made ourselves victims of everything. I’ve seen these same kinds of oppressive attitudes affect the men in my life-who is going to apologize to them? Should we? How can we apologize for everyone’s offenses? Why waste energy on trying to apologize for things that are beyond our own control? We can always find something in life that is not fair. Some things we need to stand up against but to spend energy on trying to apologize for something we did not personally do is a waste. Change your focus. Don’t allow yourself to be a victim. Many of the things listed in your post are things women & men put on themselves. We should not blame anyone else for what we allow ourselves. We need to take responsibility for our own thoughts & actions. I am not minimizing serious personal offenses so hopefully I won’t get blasted for my perspective. Instead of giving weak people excuses to be victims….let’s give them encouragement, motivation & inspiration to rise above offenses & choose for themselves what their life will look like no matter the circumstances. Most of your posts do this & that’s why I so love your blog & will keep reading.

    Reply
  30. Koester - May 14, 2018 4:48 pm

    This needs to be slapped all over the world. I am an 82 year old and still feel that way. The fashions are definitely for the tall, skinny/slim young women and it irks me to no end. When will we learn that beauty comes from within? Thank you for putting this out.

    Reply
  31. Marinan Brewer - May 14, 2018 4:56 pm

    Amen-

    Reply
  32. Dottie Doherty - May 14, 2018 4:58 pm

    You know Sean, the wonderful thing of having reached the right bold age of 72 is that I don’t have to care what anybody else thinks. God loves me just like I am and that’s OK. I’m so sorry this young girl feels ugly and fat when I know she must be beautiful intelligent And a true gift from God. Hopefully she will figure that out sooner rather than later.

    Reply
  33. Carol-Ann Dearnaley - May 14, 2018 5:12 pm

    Thank you. That’s all that needs be said, thank you.

    Reply
  34. muthahun - May 14, 2018 9:06 pm

    Comparisons… why do we do that to ourselves? Here’s hoping that Alabama has a strong enough base to let her know that she doesn’t have to measure up (or down!) to anyone else’s standards for the truly important stuff. And let’s not forget that at the same time, there are Young Mr. Alabama’s out there who might be a little less macho, a little more nerdy, more lithe than muscular who may have the same wounded mindset. My grandfather used to tell me, “We’re all odd, ‘cept me and thee, and sometimes I wonder about thee!”

    Reply
  35. Janet Mary Lee - May 15, 2018 12:26 am

    Spot on!! Most of the time we do not do this to ourselves…. though it has always been a tough challenge…We hear it and learn it from media and peers and it is the wrong focus! The wrong and dangerous message we women, (and men, too) are being fed and practically have bludgeoned into our brains every minute. It was bad, It is now worse. I know your apology is a way to open to your comments, and your heart. Not everyone is as sensitive as you and has your common sense! We need your message in this world!! This message is never a waste of time or effort!! Keep it up Sean!! With thanks!!

    Reply
  36. Nela Loflin - May 15, 2018 12:26 am

    This southern woman thanks you!

    Reply
  37. Paula Pabst - May 15, 2018 12:48 am

    I love you Sean! Thank you for saying this. If only we could change our culture back so that Miss Alabama and other girls like her would be proud of themselves, and go on to Auburn to make their dreams come true.

    Reply
    • Ronna Davis - May 16, 2018 2:00 am

      We CAN change it!

      Reply
  38. Ams - May 15, 2018 1:11 am

    Sean,

    In some societies, a little (or lot) of meat on your bones is a sign of wealth.

    I don’t know how long these problems have been around, fat-shaming & idolizing the thin, but it happened to me 40 years ago. I was an athlete in several sports. Among other sports, I was in gymnastics. I loved it. I could out perform anyone in my gymnastics class. I could do back hand springs on & off the beam, front & back walkers. You name it. I never got to the backflips alone, except on diving board. Teehee.

    At 12, my gymnastics coach insisted I was too fat. He made a point of telling me this as often as possible. He said that I would never go anywhere. He badgered and berated me so that I quit. (I could do back hand springs into my twenties!)

    Anyway, a few years back, I found a revealing photo of me in a track outfit. I was absolutely shocked at my trim physique. I was convinced, even in my memories, that I had been so obese, and that’s the way I really saw myself as a teenager. I always wore coverups, so people didn’t have to look at how hideous I was. I absolutely would not eat in public. Once I learned to drive, I’d sneak bites in in between traffic. That way no one, even a passing driver, could see me eat.

    Throughout my life, I’ve been thin, very obese & relatively thin again. Beneath it all, it’s the same ole me.

    I can’t remember the little girl’s name, but please tell her she’s beautiful–no matter how much she weighs–that comes from the inside.

    Ams

    Reply
  39. Donna Johns - May 15, 2018 7:48 pm

    I totally, whole heartedly agree 100% agree!! Our young girls are felt to believe they are fat and ugly!! I HATE magazines or social media that pressure women to believe they should be a certain size!! Thank you for addressing one of MY pet peeves!!

    Reply
  40. Linda Chipman - May 16, 2018 4:47 pm

    Well said Sean!

    Reply

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