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Blog: Congratulations, you’re 19 and have flat abs


Do you Instagram? I do. Mostly I follow fitness and healthy eating accounts so that I can see what others in my field are posting. And I know I’m gonna sound like a middle-aged grump when I say this, but most of it is absolute garbage.

Honestly, if I see one more scantily-clad 19-year-old young woman hiking her shirt up to show her narrow waist and her flat abs I’m gonna scream.

Truthfully, I have screamed.

What I said was: “Put your damn shirt down dear, and grow up! The fact that you have a beautiful figure has considerably less to do with your workout or your eating habits and more to do with the fact that you simply have not encountered much difficulty in life yet! Your body has not been run through the ringer – multiple times! – in pregnancy, childbirth and child-rearing! You have not been on the planet long enough to have endured debilitating injury or illness. And most certainly you do not have adult stresses and responsibilities such as paying the mortgage, sacrificing your own needs and wants to ensure that your kids have school supplies, or fearing who will care for your aging parents. The fact that your booty is round and lifted may earn you 500 ‘likes’ but it’s not much of an achievement, as far as achievements go!”

I told you I sound like a middle-aged grump.

But honestly, why do we reward this type of behavior by promoting it on social media? And just because I “only follow it for work,” does it make me less culpable? Upon reflection, I don’t think so.

So I’m going to start unfollowing some of these accounts. I don’t really have any way to reach out to these young people (guys do it too, though they get considerably less attention for it) – and Lord knows they won’t read this.

I guess we each have to make our own decisions about how we present ourselves to the world, and in our society we’re all free to present ourselves as we see fit. (Even if our doing so promotes exploitation, objectification and unrealistic body image.)

I cannot do much to affect the decisions of those young women. But within my own sphere of influence I’ve had better luck; the bright spot in all of this is that my own daughters (both in their 20s) would never resort to this type of behavior. They’re far too busy pursuing actual accomplishment to concern themselves with baring their abs on social media.

Even this middle-aged grump feels pretty darn good about that.

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