On Wednesday, the self-love advocate shared a video on Instagram, pointing out a few of the many times TV shows including "Zoey 101" and "Toddlers in Tiaras" blatantly perpetuated diet culture in young girls.
"Times where media normalized body shaming young girls, and it’s awful. It’s awful, awful, awful," Mercer penned to her more than 2 million followers.
"Children shouldn’t be skipping cake in an effort to ‘be good,' or making jokes about not eating so that they’re more pretty. They shouldn’t be forced to wear makeup and filmed as they cry. Or spray tanned before being put on a stage," she continued.
"They shouldn’t be asked what size they are, even if they’re starlets," she added. "Even if they’re very famous. And then laughed at, as though their discomfort was a punchline. They shouldn’t. Not then. And not now."
"While we can’t fix these past mistakes, I can only hope that we’ve moved to a place where we know, we know that our littles deserve better," she explained. "That the diet talk and weight loss jokes stop with us. That we can replace shame with self-love. And show our smalls, our tiny children, the kind of love we all deserve. We can start now, today. With ourselves. In our own homes. We can do it for us. We can do it for our tomorrows."
Fans thanked Mercer for speaking up about the "traumatic" exposure that young girls had to diet culture in the 2000s and earlier.
"I remember the whole size 0 in the early 2000s, I remember not eating to be a size 0 because I thought that way I would be popular and have a boyfriend (because that's what every teen goal was in the 2000s: Popular and a popular boyfriend). Anyways, I became underweight and my mum took me straight to the doctors, and even the doctors went mad at me," one Instagram user shared.
Another added: "I remember so many of these scenes. We need to break the cycle and stop future generations from having these same conversations imprinted on their minds as normal!"
"Horrific. We thought it was normal!" someone else commented.
One person wrote: "This breaks my heart. As a mom to a little girl and knowing I grew up as the target generation for this (I was their age when this was all over), it hurts my heart. Thank you for being so real."
"I watched every single scene as a teen and it feels horrible seeing it 15 years later. No wonder. You and the messages you're sending out to so many people and women out there are so, so, so important. Thank you," another chimed in.
"I read a quote the other day that said, ‘We grow up to become the woman we needed when we were 13,' and it’s really stuck with me," Mercer began. "When I was a teen, I never saw bodies like mine. Unless they were in advertisements telling me how to fix, change or remove my 'flaws.'"
When she was that age, Mercer recalled feeling insecure about her legs whenever she would visit the beach — something that stuck with her into adulthood.
"I remember being 13-years-old and hiding my thighs on the beach. It was a habit that stayed with me well into my early 30s," she penned. So, I like this idea. This idea that we become what we needed when we were 13. And that now, as adults, we give ourselves comfort. We heal."
She encouraged her followers to reflect on their younger selves and try to rehabilitate them in retrospect.
"Was it a loving soul telling you it’s OK to eat? Was it a person who reminded you how your worth has nothing to do with your weight?" she continued.
"I don’t know your exact answer. But I do know this: We cannot change the past. But we can learn from it and shape our future. We all deserve ones filled with a little more self-love, a little more self-kindness and, yes, maybe even a little more cellulite being celebrated on the beach," Mercer concluded.