Anna - Interview 45

Age at interview: 47
Brief Outline: Anna, 47, is the mum of 14 year old Shirin. Anna believes Shirin looks much older than her age because of her figure, and they have ongoing battles about clothes and make-up.
Background: Anna is a part-time professional carer and a married mother of one child aged 14. Ethnic background: Black Caribbean.

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Anna, 47, is the mum of 14 year old Shirin. Anna says she breast fed her daughter, but had to supplement this with a bottle because it never seemed enough. She remembers how people told her that she had a fat baby and how the nurses commented on Shirin’s weight, but Anna never thought it was a problem. Anna describes her daughter as having always been tall for her age, but not skinny. A. When she was 9, Shirin was bullied by the girls in her dance class for having “fat thighs.”
Anna says her daughter went through a phase of having low self-confidence, but that recently her self-image has been boosted by doing some modelling for an advertising campaign. Anna believes her B. daughter looks much older than she is – which attracts attention from older boys – and describes having ongoing battles about clothes and make-up. Anna thinks Shirin wears clothes a size too small for her, and skirts that are too short. Anna says Shirin wants to be C. skinny' Anna thinks D. Shirin might just need to lose a few pounds but that she can carry it off because of her height and will probably grow out of it anyway. Anna’s real concern is Shirin’s diet and eating habits which changed when she started school and mixing with other children and have deteriorated as she’s gotten older. She says she tries not to make it into too big of an issue.
Anna believes teenagers are motivated by a desire to be thin in order to look attractive, rather than to be healthy. Anna says she hasn’t taken Shirin to the doctor’s about her weight, but she does worry about Shirin developing diabetes because they have a family history of it, although she says she tries not too show her worry too much. Anna says she finds it difficult to comment on her daughter’s eating habits in front of her own mother, who tells her to let her granddaughter have what she wants.
Anna believes it’s a shame that butchers and greengrocers are not so available on your doorstep these days and that the organic produce sold in supermarkets is so expensive. Anna believes that diet (particularly not eating natural foods) is at the root of cancer. Anna’s advice to other parents would be to teach their children how to cook from scratch.

Anna thinks media stories about celebrities and their weight make people feel worse about themselves.

Anna thinks media stories about celebrities and their weight make people feel worse about themselves.

I think the media plays a detrimental part in people’s self-image. Well I mean there’s recently been a big thing in , I wouldn’t say so much here, but Jessica Simpson who’s a singer, and, you know, she wasn’t a skinny, skinny girl, nice, nice figure, and she’s put on a few pounds, and they’re blasting this poor woman for having put on a few pounds. She looks, still looks wonderful, you know, and that’s sad. And then you’ve got the extreme of someone like Keira Knightly and she comes out with some nonsense about, oh, you know, it’s ‘a natural thing in her family’. Huh? Excuse me. When she first came to our attention she did not look like skeleton, and now she does. And she has no chest, she has no hips, I mean women are meant to have, you know, a bust and hips. And I just find that there’s something a bit, any man who finds a woman who looks like a pre-pubescent boy, I find it’s quite distasteful.
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