04 March 2011

True Beauty Conversations: What About Our Daughters?


Oh, how your words resonated with me last week.

Truth definitely plays a game of hide and seek with me when I get into the swimming pool. And peering into the mirror in a dressing room trying on swimsuits?! Fahgetaboutit!

I often fret, Melissa, about the messages I will communicate to my daughters in those moments when I feel inadequate. The moments when truth alludes me.

My best friend growing up lived just a few doors away. We played together often. One day when I went to her house, she informed me that she was on a diet; she thought she needed to lose weight. She encouraged me to join her on this diet.

We were eight years old.

This memory stands out so vividly to me, because before that moment, I never knew there was anything wrong with me. I didn't know to critique the size or shape of my body.

It wasn't my friend's fault. Her mother was constantly dieting and spoke openly about all the ways she was dissatisfied with her appearance. It was no surprise, then, that my friend followed suit, even at her young age. Her ears were assailed with that kind of talk.

I don't want my daughters to have an experience like my friend did, hearing their mama express constant displeasure with her body.

Inevitably, my daughters, and your daughters, Melissa, will reach an awareness that they are different.

My desire and prayer for our girls is that they celebrate their differences. Delight in being daughters of The King.

How can we foster this, Melissa?

I have a few ideas. I'd love to hear your thoughts as well.

Music. My daughters love music. We listen to it often throughout the day. I've become very aware of the words in the music we listen to. I love the song Video by India Arie. Here are some of her great lyrics:
When I look in the mirror the only one there is me.
Every freckle on my face is where it's supposed to be
And I know our creator didn't make no mistakes on me
My feet, my thighs, my lips, my eyes I'm lovin what I see
Robin Dance recently compiled a great list of other songs with the same positive message. You can read her thoughts on that topic, and see her song list here.

Images. It's been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. I want the images in our home to reflect true women with healthy appearances, not unrealistic, Photoshopped, waif-thin models. Let's put thought into what our daughters see in our homes and what they see us looking at and paying attention to: in magazines, on television, in books, in movies, etc.

I've even thought about what kinds of messages girls get from certain toys. I remember thinking, as I played with my Barbie doll as a little girl, that one day, I would look like her when I grew up--itty bitty waist, perky breasts, tiny feet. Barbie's dimensions, if she were human would be 38-18-34. I'm not even sure that's possible!

I love Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty! They show pictures like this:

Words. Just as we put those encouragements and reminders up for ourselves. We should also have them up for our daughters. I'm in the middle of painting an eye chart to hang in my girls' room.

Not just written words, though, Melissa. We need to have conversations about this with our girls:

What it means to be beautiful.

Who we think is beautiful.

What it is about that individual makes them beautiful.

This is such a rich topic! I could go on and on, but will stop here for now. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

1 comment:

Deborah Ann said...

Oh, it's so good for young girls to be happy with how God made them. You're really on to something with using music and other heavenly inspirations to encourage them. I wish I had heard that message when I was little. A lot of damage was done, and it's taken me years to undo it.

Great post!