Influencer Sonni Abatta said this type of messaging negatively affects girls' body image and confidence
A mom of three was “sickened” after she spotted a pink lunchbox with sparkly letters spelling out “CHEAT DAY” at a department store.
Influencer Sonni Abatta was shopping with her young daughter — who ran over to the shelves of lunchboxes after spotting the candy sold alongside — and immediately thought about the negative implications of the lunchboxes on body acceptance.
“I am SICKENED that this phrase is on a lunch box,” she wrote on Facebook. “We scratch our heads when we see our little girls struggle with body image, with self worth, with confidence. We wonder, ‘Why do our girls worry so much about their bodies so young?’ … ‘Why does my five year old call herself ‘fat?’ ‘ … ‘Why does my middle schooler stand in front of the mirror and find all her flaws?’ THIS. This is part of the reason why.”
Abatta said the word “cheat” on a lunch tote connotes negativity and implies that food is unhealthy or not allowed under normal circumstances.
“Our world is telling our girls that it’s ‘cheating’ if they eat something that’s not 100 percent fat-free and perfectly healthy,” she said. “In turn, that tells them that self-control and denying herself is to be valued above all. And that if she dares to step outside of the foods that will keep her perfectly slim and trim, then she is by default ‘cheating’ and needs to feel some sense of remorse.”
And Abatta — who also has a young son — pointed out that boys’ lunchboxes don’t get the same treatment.
“Can you imagine a similar message directed toward little boys?” she said. “For the record, I’d be equally offended… but I haven’t seen anything that is aimed at making our boys feel bad about what they eat, or how they look.”
Abatta also addressed comments from followers who suggested the lunchbox was marketed to adult women rather than girls.
“Why do I say it’s marketed toward little girls? It’s pink, it has sequins and it was surrounded by other girls’ merchandise. So, safe to say that it’s aimed at our daughters,” she said. Plus, she added, “to all my grown-up ‘girls,’ you aren’t cheating either when you enjoy life a little.”
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Abatta said that her message for her followers — and for her two daughters — is that people are worth more than how they look.
“Girls — you are not ‘cheating’ when you enjoy good food. You are not ‘cheating’ when you eat pizza. You are not ‘cheating’ when you have a cookie, or two, on occasion. You are not ‘cheating’ when you live in moderation and allow yourself things that make you happy,” she wrote.
“Girls — you are MORE than your bodies. More than your faces. More than your complexions. More than the clothes you wear and the things you buy and the other girls you hang out with. You are beautiful, worthy, intelligent, and whole beings — whole beings who are worthy of so much love and respect, no matter what anyone, or anyTHING, says.”