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This powerful ad will make you rethink what you say to your daughter

Maria Mora is a freelance writer and single mom fueled by coffee, questionable time management skills, toaster oven waffles and the color orange. She lives in Florida with her two young sons. If you see her on Twitter, tell her to stop p...

Girls are pretty brilliant, too

Verizon's powerful new ad suggests we're holding girls back by focusing on their appearances, not their capabilities.

"Who's my pretty girl?" a mother asks lovingly as her toddler plays. In Verizon's powerful ad, we watch the toddler grow to a young teen who is directly and indirectly discouraged from embracing her love of science. Don't make a mess. Be careful. Let your brother do that. Don't touch that. In the end, the girl pauses in front of a poster for the 8th-grade science fair. Instead of reading it, she looks at her reflection in the glass and puts some lip gloss on. The moment is understated and absolutely devastating.

Pretty girl | Sheknows.com

Photo credit: Verizon Wireless/YouTube

"Isn't it time we told her she's pretty brilliant, too?" the narrator asks.

This jaw-dropping statistic follows: 66 percent of 4th-grade girls say they like math and science. Only 18 percent of college engineering majors are female.

Verizon and Makers paired up to create this simple, stunning video. It reminds us to examine the messages we give our kids every day. Parental support is a huge part of girls' interest in science, technology, engineering and math. As girls develop, shouldn't we be telling them they're capable and smart before we tell them that they're pretty? Confidence in abilities, not appearance, propels girls into STEM fields. If we want our girls to reach for the sky, it's time to stop weighing them down.

More on raising smart girls

LEGO announces female scientist mini-figure set
Why I'm raising a feminist
Memo to the media: Stop saying mothers don't get tech

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