body shamed by Santa Claus; Young mother speaks, eating disorder

A young mother claims she was physically shamed after having a Christmas picture taken with her young daughter.

Brisbane mum Mini Westwood had been looking forward to taking her daughter April, seven, to see Santa Claus and have a souvenir photo taken, but the day took a terrible turn after the pair sat down.

“The photographer turned and said quite loudly, ‘Mom, suck in your belly,’ and just motioned for me to suck in my belly,” Ms. Westwood told Current Affair.

“In the beginning I felt good. I left with a shitty feeling.”

Ms Westwood has struggled with anorexia since childhood and was overwhelmed by the comments and frozen in shock.

The Santa Claus impersonator also recoiled in disgust and glanced at the photographer.

“Santa Claus looked at me and kind of looked back at the photographer and shook his head like, ‘You shouldn’t say that, especially when their kid is here,'” Ms. Westwood said.

The young mum said her daughter was also upset by the comment – after realizing her mum was uncomfortable.

Ms Westwood had been wearing jeans and a crop top – an outfit chosen by her daughter.

April kept asking her mom what the phrase meant, and ended up Googling it on her iPad.

“Mum, suck it up means you’re fat,” April told her mother.

Ms Westwood explained to her daughter that “it’s something someone says to you when they’re not happy with themselves and want to make you feel bad”.

She contacted the company Scene to Believe, which is responsible for the Santa photos, and was reportedly given a submissive apology.

Ms. Westwood discovered that the company already works with the Butterfly Foundation, a non-profit organization that – raises awareness of eating disorders.

She hopes others will be more careful about their words when discussing the ordeal.

“Don’t do it again, don’t ever make anyone feel like you made me feel,” she said.

Scene To Believe said it was disappointed by the “unfortunate experience at one of our Santa Claus sets”.

“At the core of our values ​​is to provide an inclusive, supportive and magical experience for all families who visit Santa during the holiday season.

“Scene To Believe is a proud partner of the Butterfly Foundation who has seen the challenges and detrimental impact that an eating disorder has on both a child and the family.

“This type of partnership allows us to raise awareness among the thousands of families who visit our Santa Claus sets during the holiday season.

“They also give us the tools to better educate and upskill our 2,000 strong seasonal workforce so they learn strategies that improve inclusion and communication when Santa visits and create magical memories in a safe environment.”

NCA Newswire has reached out to Scene to Believe for further comment.

Originally published as Young Mum Bodyshamed by Santa Photographer

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