Young women on TikTok are calling out generational diet culture and unhealthy ways that parents talk about food and body image to their children using a new term: the “almond mom.” The term was inspired by The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Yolanda Hadid.
What is an ‘almond mom’?
Last month, a 2014 clip of the RHOBH star went viral on TikTok, according to NBC News. In the video, Yolanda tells her daughter, model Gigi Hadid, to “have a couple of almonds, and chew them really well.” The comment was in response to Gigi – who was just a teenager at the time – saying that she felt “really weak.”
Now, many TikTokers are using the clip as a way to open up a dialogue about their own experiences with their mothers and diet culture. Ultimately, the video has inspired a movement to break the cycle of unhealthy beauty standards by being more conscious of your dialogue around dieting and body image.
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Neither Gigi nor Yolanda responded to a request for comment with the outlet, but Yolanda addressed the viral clip in an interview with People earlier this month, where she called the video a “small little clip from ‘Housewives.’”
“It’s such a silly narrative that is out there, that has nothing to do with the reality of our lives,” she said, asserting that the clip had been taken out of context.
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What is the link between “almond moms” and orthorexia?
According to NBC News, experts have been comparing the “almond mom” term to orthorexia, which is when someone has an obsession with “healthy” eating.
According to a 2015 study from Common Sense Media, children from 5 to 8 years old that believe their moms are dissatisfied with their body are more likely to be dissatisfied with their own bodies.
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So, research shows that the ways parents speak about their bodies – both to and around their children – have a huge impact on a child’s own body image.
According to Michigan State University associate professor Carla A. Pfeffer, the “almond mom” is a feature of diet culture, but it’s not the cause. She explains that the critique of “almond moms” is, in part, rooted in misogyny, as the burden of childcare is culturally placed on women.
Many creators are still speaking out in an attempt to rework how the next generation speaks about dieting and food.
One TikToker, Tyler Bender, reportedly realized how difficult it can be to avoid talking about her body in front of her 10-year-old sister. In response to this struggle, she makes satirical videos where she plays an exaggerated version of an “almond mom.”
“I really hope people see these [videos] and say, ‘OK, this is what I’m not going to do to my daughter,” Bender explained. “This is what I’m not going to act like because I’ve seen how ridiculous this is.”
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