Maybe I am just really lucky. Maybe I won the jackpot of all mothers, but I didn't know it was that crazy for a mother to never make her daughter feel insecure.
It wasn't until I came to college that I realized that mothers body-shaming their daughters was even a thing. As I became closer with other young women I would often hear them saying how their moms told them what they could and couldn't wear, or they would make vicious remarks.
"You disgust me."
"That dress makes you look like a pig."
"I can't believe you would go out like that."
"Girls like you can't eat whatever they want."
"You're embarrassing the family."
No matter what I say to my friends, no matter how much I insist they are beautiful, your voice will always be in the back of their minds. Every single time they go shopping, every time they go out for dinner or post a picture on social media, they think about how you wouldn't approve.
This isn't to say that discussing a healthy lifestyle is off the table, but how you say things matters way more than you realize. Being a woman in college is hard enough. It is difficult to consistently manage all aspects of your life when you have 3 papers due by the end of the week and 2 tests on the same day. So maybe she puts on a few pounds, do you think mentioning that is going to make her less stressed?
As young women, we are constantly told that we are not good enough. We are shown what the ideal body and woman should look like. We are unbelievably aware of what our bodies look like and what is wrong with them. The last thing we need is for our role models to reinforce those unrealistic expectations.
I have heard the argument that you only "do this out of love", but love should never hurt. Is it really worth your daughter starving herself? Is it worth her throwing up after meals then binge eating? Is it really worth her starting to self-harm? Love is supporting somebody through the good and bad parts of their lives.
What you say not only impacts the way your daughter is viewing herself physically but makes her doubt other areas of her life. What you aren't seeing is that she is staying in that shitty relationship because you've made her feel like she'll never get or deserve better. She will quit studying because she thinks she will never be good enough anyway. She will let others walk all over her because that's what you've told her love is.
I am telling this because she never will- you are hurting her way more than you will ever help her.