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Strong little girls grow up to be Olympic Champions

Olympic Role Models
Olympic Role Models
AP images

As a new parent, you are constantly bombarded with feedback about the size of your child.  Weight and height are just something everyone comments on, along with hair, head size, eyes and teeth.  In fact, it's so common for all of us to speak openly about where our children rank in terms of percentiles and norms, it's amazing they leave toddlerhood without being obsessed with the sizes of their own craniums. 

Little girls in particular are subject to even more intense scrutiny in terms of weight.  A little boy can be "huge" and have a career as a football player (or so the social script goes) but for little girls... well, it's complicated.  It is not an uncommon thing for strangers to reassure the mother of a healthy little girl that she'll slim down when she's older.  Or ask if a particularly tall girl is "normal" and sigh over how difficult her teenage years will be.  Or gasp in astonishment when learning the true age of a child they imagine to be much older. The constant message from the universe is that being a "big" girl is a liability. 

A recent opinion piece in the LA Times by author Meghan Daum raises an interesting issue about weight on television; more specifically, the exact weight of Olympic athletes.  Figure skaters aside, many of the winter Olympians are over 160 pounds.  How do we know that?  Because their weight is being posted along with their age and country.  It's a shocking thing to see women admitting to being anything but a size zero.  In new parent terms, being over 160 pounds means these ladies are over the ninetieth percentile.  And they are Olympic Champions.  Which means they are objectively and completely awesome.

So, the next time the old lady at your bakery frets that your daughter is going to struggle to find a man tall enough to marry her, or your mother-in-law sadly returns the cute dress she bought that is about six months to small, tell them you're not worried.  Your daughter is sure to be taking home gold in 2030 and that you will be behind her one hundred percent.