Why are tweens so preoccupied with weight?
Why are they judging their peers and telling them things like "You're fat" especially when they are not?
Do they realize some of their utterances have a profound impact on their peers and will have a lasting effect on them for the rest of their lives? Especially when it comes to appearance. Of course, the true culprit to them being so hung up on weight and how they "look" to their friends is directly correlated to what the media dishes out. The media deems rail thin girls like the young actresses on "90210" as acceptable. If you are not waif thin, then you are considered "overweight" or "fat". To be honest, to me, these actresses look like bobble heads on the verge of snapping in two like a twig. But to an impressionable teen or tween, all they see is the throngs of fans and media attention these young ladies get and directly relate it to how they look. So in order to get this type of attention, they must look like them.
I associate with moms of tweens on a daily basis. I volunteer my time working with young ladies in this age group as well. I hear the stories from both sides. Parents, some of whom suffered eating disorders as teens, not wanting their girls to suffer like they did. Girls, being told by their classmates they are fat, or them looking in the mirror and sucking in their stomachs and saying "I need to go on a diet". What I try to do is deter them from looking in the mirror and instead look within themselves.
Young girls need to realize their life happiness is not determined by the reflection in the mirror. As the wonderful idiom goes "Beauty is only skin deep". A person may be incredibly gorgeous and thin but be incredibly miserable inside. These young ladies shouldn't alter their physical appearance in order to please society. If they want to make a change it should be for "themselves". They need to question themselves "Am I happy the way I am?" If they are perfectly content the way they are, then why conform in order to please others?
These young girls need to tap into their own positive self image. They need to define it for themselves and embrace it. They need to be taught that they will encounter individuals who have nothing better to do than find something to criticize. Unfortunately, some of these people will even say things to you just to see if they can "see you sweat". The world is filled with mean & nasty individuals who prey on the positive, happy ones. They are miserable in their own lives and want to find a way to make everyone just as miserable. It's very important for them feel secure and confident in their own skin. That way, they can spend their time enriching their lives with positive experiences rather than worrying about the reflection in the mirror.