A friend of mine, who is a mother of 2 daughters, forwarded me this article titled How to Talk to Little Girls featured in The Huffington Post. The article by Lisa Bloom talks about girls & self image and how we as parents and adults play into girl’s self-esteem. Think for a second about your encounters with girls, do you comment on their hair or outfit? Are you quick to tell them how cute they are? (slumps down in seat).
Lisa says, "Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything. It sets them up for dieting at age 5 and foundation at age 11 and boob jobs at 17 and Botox at 23. As our cultural imperative for girls to be hot 24/7 has become the new normal”
Not good!! The article was enlightening to me; it made me take a hard look at how I interact with my own daughter as well as little girls I come across. I realize that I often comment little girls on their new haircut or sparkly tights. And while I never saw anything wrong with it, I am becoming more aware of how these constant comments can affect a girl’s self-esteem and expectations.
My friend Marlene who forwarded me the article had this to say after reading:
“It really opened my eyes to how I interact with my girls and other young children their age. I mean I am definitely one of those people that use compliments as an ice breaker with kids like "wow, you look beautiful in that dress" and even with boys "he look so handsome in that outfit" etc. And I also thought showering my girls with compliments like these would build their self confidence, but it's actually counter-productive because now thinking back I can recall instances where my own daughter would get dressed and ask ‘Mom, do I look pretty in this dress?, Does my hair look nice like this?’ I always say of course you look great no matter what.....BUT now I realize that she was seeking my approval. I want my girls' self confidence to be based on who they are and what they know and not how they look. I guess all we can do I acknowledge this and try to break the cycle. At least I do.”
This article made me think of a previous post of mine titled Does this diaper make my butt look big. In the article I talked about the poison that are Bratz dolls and how more and more kids are concerned with their image, when they should just be concerned about being kids! Raising a healthy and confident daughter is extremely important to me, and I know that in order to achieve this it takes a lot of patience and conversations with her. Though it seems that society is completely against my desires, promoting the complete opposite of role-models and putting so much pressure onto image.
Did you read the article by Lisa Bloom? How do you counteract society’s fascination with image when interacting with your own daughter or girls you may know?