This video about being “Pretty” hit me so powerfully (note: there is one f-bomb at about the 3-minute mark):
When our daughter was still in utero, my spouse and I decided that we would never compliment her on her beauty. We would compliment her on her skills, her wit, or anything else about her, but not tell her how beautiful she was. That sounds odd, maybe even cruel–it wasn’t that we didn’t think she was the most gorgeous creature we’d ever seen. But we knew that girls are already socialized to be only valued for their appearance that we wanted to send a counter-message in every way we could.
Now my daughter has hit the stage of her teen life where she is, in my unbiased opinion, simply stunning in a very healthy and natural way. Her features and her figure conform to many standards of “prettiness,” and yet she seems completely unaware of this. She is rather tomboy-ish in her hipster tshirts and hi-top cons. When she dresses up for her MUN competitions she looks the perfect picture of the young diplomat that she aims to be. She is pretty striking, pretty amazing, pretty brilliant, pretty motivated, pretty strong, pretty artistic. And to me, she is pretty perfect.
I don’t know that there’s any perfect solution for helping the girls in our lives believe in their own intrinsic beauty, but I feel that we’ve all got to work harder at this. I welcome your suggestions for what you do that makes you value your own beauty and/or how you instill this in your daughters/friends/sisters/mothers/etc.