Allison Kimmey is a body-positivity advocate on social media, regularly urging her 121,000 Instagram followers to embrace their shapes and forget about hiding what society perceives as ‘flaws’.
So she was probably a little taken aback to hear her own daughter call her “fat” recently.
However she decided to use the opportunity to have a discussion with her two children and educate others at the same time, by posting an account of the conversation online – a move that struck such a chord with her followers that the picture and caption has so far garnered more than 33,000 likes.
In the post, which you can read below, she recalls how her daughter, in a fit of pique at having to leave the pool, told her brother “Mama is fat”.
The self-help author explains she was worried that if she simply told her off, her daughter would continue to think ‘fat’ was an insulting word, and instead decided to tell her that a person cannot be fat, they can only have fat.
“The truth is, I am not fat. No one IS fat. It's not something you can BE. But I do HAVE fat. We ALL have fat. It protects our muscles and our bones and keeps our bodies going by providing us energy. Do you have fat?” she asked her daughter, who pointed to her stomach.
Her son, she reports, claimed to have only muscle, to which she replied: “Actually everyone, every single person in the world has fat. But each of us has different amounts […] Some people have a lot, and others don't have very much. But that doesn't mean that one person is better than the other, do you both understand?”
Ensuring they both understood it was “okay to have different fat”, Kimmey later explains in her post that she wanted to tackle the “stigma” around weight.
“Fat is not a bad word in our house. If I shame my children for saying it then I am proving that it is an insulting word and I continue the stigma that being fat is unworthy, gross, comical and undesirable.
“Since we don't call people fat as an insult in my household, I have to assume she internalized this idea from somewhere or someone else. Our children are fed ideas from every angle, you have to understand that that WILL happen: at a friend’s house whose parents have different values, watching a TV show or movie, overhearing someone at school – ideas about body image are already filtering through their minds.”
She adds: “It is our job to continue to be the loudest, most accepting, positive and CONSISTENT voice they hear. So that it can rise above the rest.”
It’s ideal timing for such a conversation about self-image, as the author revealed last week she is bringing out a children's book on body confidence, inspired by a discussion she’d had with her daughter about her stretch marks, in which she described them as “glitter stripes”.
Follow Kimmey on Instagram here.
Main image: instagram.com/allisonkimmey