“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” the saying goes. I beg to differ.
Hell hath no fury like a parent protecting a child. Now, that’s more like it.
The mad parent in this scenario? Me. And like many other Asian fathers, I claim the divine right to rant, or at least a Confucian one. So stand back, ‘cause I’m gonna LET ‘ER RIP!
But fear not. My anger is not directed at you. Quite the contrary; it’s directed at those who would hurt my two young daughters - and who have also been hurting you.
To be clear, I speak not of abusers, at least not on this occasion. I speak of the people at the top of the global media/fashion-industry complex. They are the ones who decide how skinny is skinny enough or at what point healthy crosses over into chubby. They’re the ones who bombard us daily with zillions of images, drilling into our hearts and minds their ridiculously narrow definition of beauty. They play upon the normal human insecurities of billions of people. And in return, they receive billions in revenues from goods and services claiming to make attainable their impossible standards of beauty.
Don’t get me started. Don’t even get me started!
Add to this the reality that practically every ad featuring a model is Photoshopped or otherwise doctored. So not only is it impossible, for example, for most women to look like the glossy photos of Jennifers Anniston or Lopez, but the Jennifers themselves don’t look as “good” as their pictures! Yet media and fashion tycoons are trying to make women and girls believe they should look like the faux Jennifers!
It’s so upsetting, because it’s so wrong.
I can’t draw any other conclusion. Not only are the captains of the media/fashion-industry complex profiting from the stresses they induce in peoples’ lives. They are also fostering the painful presence of body image issues and eating disorders in billions of their fellow human beings.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying they purposely push women and men, and girls and boys, toward disordered eating. But like Tony Stark in the Iron Man films, who comes to recognize the human suffering upon which his fortune is built, the titans of the global media/fashion-industry complex need to recognize that their empires are also substantially founded upon human suffering.
So as a father of two young daughters who will grow up in our skinny-obsessed society, I can’t stand by and do nothing. Yes, it goes without saying that I’ll do my utmost to love my girls unconditionally. I’m extremely committed to helping them develop into secure, emotionally healthy young women, partly because nothing else better prevents body image struggles. But I have to do more. And as I read and listen to more and more of your stories of shame and suffering, I realize I must do more.
You may not have many dads who stand with you against the media/fashion-industry complex, but count me in.
Together, we can give them a helpful taste of our fury.
A one-time high school teacher and a long-time pastor, Eugene Hung is at the moment figuring out what shape his next vocation will take. In the meantime, he and his wife also stay busy in SoCal with their two girls, ages six and three. He tweets via @iaurmelloneug and blogs about nurturing a healthy body image in children at FINDINGbalance.com.