• Laura Owens

Dr. Charlotte Markey: …that the shape of your body does not define who you are

Nobody Told Me! Dr. Charlotte Markey: …that the shape of your body does not define who you are

Host Jan Black and Laura Owens interviews Dr. Charlotte Markey, who is a Rutgers University Psychology Professor and expert in the psychology of body image. Dr. Markey is the author of several books on the body image to include her latest, The Body Image Book for Girls: Love Yourself and Grow Up Fearless.

  • [0:44] – Dr. Charlotte Markey talks about what age girls become aware of their body image. One of Dr. Markey's first research projects showed that 20 percent of 5-year-old girls expressed dissatisfaction with their bodies.

  • [1:12] – Research showed from the University of Missouri that young girls are stressed about gaining weight during quarantine and would rather get COVID-19 than gain weight. Dr. Markey stated that sadly this reaction from young adults is not surprising.

  • [2:03] – Dr. Markey speaks to young girls' parents about addressing body image and weight gain during quarantine. Conversations can easily be misinterpreted or miscommunicated with preteens and young adults. Dr. Markey goes with the adage of 'if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.' However, parents can change grocery items to include more fruits and vegetables and other healthier options.

  • [3:14] – Dr. Markey talks about eating disorders. Those who are already struggling with eating disorders quarantine might be a risk factor for those in recovery. Eating disorders have a 10 percent fatality rate; it is so vital that we catch disorders early.

  • [4:19] – Jan asks what signs parents should look out for when identifying an eating disorder. Parents should watch out for criticizing comments about their appearance and their child's relationship with food.

  • [5:13] – Dr. Markey addresses that with quarantine, an option for children who may need to seek help with their perception of their body image is seeking out teletherapy. Ensure that your child is speaking to a therapist specializing in body image, not just a general adolescent therapist.

  • [6:30] – What can you say, as a parent, when your child starts commenting negatively about their body image? Validate their feelings, tell them how you see them, and that a person's appearance is a minor thing.

  • [7:56] – Dr. Markey addresses parent's concerns about social media. Teenagers expect you to talk to them about social media, but take it a step further by asking them what they are learning by viewing or following something. Social media could be a tool to start conversations that could be hard.

  • [14:43] – Dr. Markey talks about addressing teens using filters on social media to appear flawless. Be proud of how you look.

  • [15:45] – Dr. Markey addresses fat scheming by their peers. Since this is already a problem, as a parent, don't take this on by yourself; seek professional help.

  • [17:37] – Dr. Markey chats about the differences between a girl's body image and a boy's body image. She is currently writing, The Body Image Book for Boys. Boys are more interested in looking like an adult man and may exercise to an extreme, including taking supplements.

  • [19:54] – Dr. Markey discusses addressing issues with a preteen that can quickly become complicated and murky. Keep in mind that some things might be a coping mechanism to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • [23:53] – Dr. Markey talks about the need for control and how eating disorders could be a matter of personal control.

  • [25:40] – Surprisingly, eating disorders are on the rise since teens or preteens are not seen in public due to COVID-19. Eating disorders could be a response to a lack of control.

  • [26:50] – Dr. Markey gives some advice towards incorporating exercise into a child's day when they are in a virtual learning environment. She stresses that exercise is essential, no matter what age.

  • [29:18] – Dieting does not work at any age, but with young adults and preteens, it sets them up to have a negative relationship with food.

  • [31:15] – Nobody Told Me! For Dr. Markey, no one told her that her image doesn't matter, and people are going to like her or love her because of her other personality traits.

  • [32:10] – Dr. Charlotte Markey's contact information

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