A friend shared a short clip from Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty called “evolution.” In it, we see the major physical transformation of a young model on a time-lapsed video. Although the entire clip is just over a minute, the girl clearly endured hours of primping to go from an average teenager to a glamorous, statuesque model worthy of a billboard. With these type of unrealistic images in the media, how can you boost your daughter’s self esteem?
While the model was beautiful to begin with, the team of make-up artists, hair dressers, lighting professionals, photographers and Photoshop experts, created an end result that would intimidate any woman (and most men). This impactful video demonstrates the absurd standard of beauty created by the media.
As the mother of two young girls, I am keenly aware of the barrage of impossibly perfect images pounding us on a daily basis. My job is to neutralize these images so that my girls grow up with confidence and grace and prevail against society’s standards.
Consider using these five steps to instill self-esteem in your young girls:
Have confidence in yourself
Mothers are the first line of defense against unrealistic images and suggestive advertising. Young children will emulate their mothers, but they will not filter the “bad” behavior. This includes making negative comments about your own weight or appearance or casually mentioning that you feel insecure about a particular body part. Try modeling healthy habits, such as eating a balanced diet, enjoying treats in moderation, exercising (without complaining) and embracing your body the way it is.
Find out how to boost your own confidence! Read 8 Tips to boost your self-confidence.
Choose your words
Mothers, sisters, daughters and friends have immense influence over the younger girls around them and words are powerful. Think twice about commenting on somebody’s appearance, whether in a positive or negative way. Negative comments invite young girls to create an unhealthy sense of beauty.
For example, commenting on a woman’s curly hair, which may look “frizzy” to you, sends the message that her features are not desirable as compared to straight hair.
Overly positive comments may inflate the importance of a particular characteristic. For example, staring up at an airbrushed billboard and saying, “I wish I had legs like hers” may cause your young daughter to look down at her own legs and compare. Allow your words to lift up those around you and the self-esteem of the girls you influence will follow.
Be a fanatic
From a very early age, girls want someone to love them, to recognize their beauty and to treat them like a princess. You have an opportunity to be a young lady’s biggest fan by encouraging them, recognizing their beauty and helping them discover their gifts and talents. Make an effort every day to tell your daughters that they are beautiful and to look at them with loving, rather than critical, eyes. When the world tells her she is inadequate, a reliable and genuinely devoted woman needs to show her she is perfect, just the way she is.