For most women, how we learn to feel about our bodies begins at home -- and usually comes from our own mothers.
News anchor and new mother from Iowa, Erin Kiernan, is no different. After posting a body positive essay encouraging women to "put on their damn swimsuit" and ignore body shamers, Kiernan began to realize she was not following the same advice. This led to another post, which took Kiernan down a path of some serious soul searching, and an even more powerful message to her followers.
In her latest post, she recalled female relatives and co-workers saying negative things about themselves in front of other people, including, to her surprise, their own daughters.
She wanted to know, why does this even happen?
Listening to friends bash their own looks sounded straight up ridiculous to Kiernan, who knows these women as smart, strong and intelligent people. We've all been there: sitting in the dressing room with friends as they point out everything that's wrong with their bodies, while we slowly realize they sound crazy. It's a vicious cycle, and with this body positive Facebook post, Kiernan aimed to put all of the shaming to rest.
Here's the message in full:
In the photo, Kiernan lies out in the sun, wearing a bikini and, most importantly, a huge smile.
She noted how prioritizing appearance starts so early on:
I know high school and college girls who have 'DIET' in big bold letters on their massive 'To Do' lists. They're young and brilliant and gorgeous and they have their whole lives in front of them. Why are they worried about dieting?
She also discussed what she's going to do in the future to combat negative influences:
I don't know how to combat all of these influences. It's so hard. My instinct when I look in the mirror is to start criticizing. My instinct when I hear others saying negative things about themselves is to chime in with negative comments about myself. My instinct is to always feel like I could be better. Here's what I'm gong to do... I'm going to try to monitor both my inner dialogue and what I say out loud in an effort to eradicate this sort of negativity. Not just for myself -- but for my son. I want him to be surrounded by people who value others for their hearts and minds, not their appearance.
This isn't the first time Kiernan addressed body shaming on her Facebook page either.
This post from April shows side-by-side photos of herself, one where she's camera ready and one where she's just being a normal mom, and received many negative comments because the photos looked so different.
She used it to prove an important point. She explains to her fans that these two photos don't show the same woman at all. Yes, they're both her, but in two very different roles.
People need to stop criticizing other people's appearances and focus on what images like this are actually showing us. In this case, these photos show what it looks like to be a successful working mother. That's it.
Hopefully, the more that body positive messages spread to women everywhere, the sooner we'll see negative affirmations disappear.