Recently, I read this. It literally made me stop and think.
I understand the author’s point about engaging girls in though provoking conversation, rather than superficial chatter, but I have a hard time buying into the notion that just because you compliment a young girl on her beautiful hair or pretty dress, that she will grow up with any less intellect, knowledge, or know-how than a boy.
Statistics are quoted about how as a society, we are driven by beauty. While I agree that our society is driven by beautiful bodies, perfect hair and the latest styles, I disagree that this cycle is perpetuated by telling a young girl she is beautiful. I would like to believe that I will raise a daughter with intelligence, common-sense, determination and motivation, as well as beauty, charm and grace.
The article guides mothers, or other women in the child’s life, on the proper way to engage in a conversation with a young girl, without reverting to discussing her looks or the color of her dress. When you see your daughter in a playing dress-up, you shouldn’t exclaim, “Look at you! You look beautiful in that dress!” Instead, you are supposed to discuss an action that she is doing. “McKenzie, that is a great way to use your imagination to play dress up! What else could you dress up as!?” The idea is that you should compliment and emphasize the positive attributes of the little girl, instead of complimenting her beauty.
I believe that there can be a balance. I intend on raising a confident daughter, who knows she is beautiful inside and out and who doesn’t search for the affirmation of this beauty from others. While I agree that you should give praise to and highlight positive attributes other than beauty, I refuse to not tell my daughter she is beautiful. There is a balance. I will strive to find this balance.
I will tell her she is beautiful…and tell it to her often, because she is beautiful – inside and out. I want her to know that if she hears it from no one else in her day for the rest of her life, I think she’s beautiful. Not just beautiful because of her looks or the outfits she wears, but beautiful when she’s kind to others, when she does something to help someone, when she makes a smart decision, when she stands up for what she believes in. Knowing that you’re raising a daughter who is strong beyond words, intelligent, caring and compassionate is beautiful!
So to everyone reading this…you are each beautiful!
…and no, it’s not because of your pretty dress!