Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Be You

poster from the NOW foundation, another organization helping women love their body

As the mother of a girl, I often worry for what may come her way in the future.  Not that I don't worry about my boys, but I know that as a mother to a daughter it is largely up to me to model for her what a woman should be.  I want to teach her about being feminine and embracing the goodness that comes in being a woman.  I want to shield her from becoming over-sexualized and thinking that her role as a woman is to be an object.  I want to nurture her talents and give her room to express herself while at the same time teaching her that much of her fulfillment in life will come from her divine role to be a mother someday.  

There are things I look back on and think that I'm doing it all wrong.  Dressing a girl can be fun, and I enjoy shopping with Miss A and finding a good deal together.  But I worry that the fun I have shopping with her has sent the wrong message- that her clothes are important (because as long as they're clean and modest, they're really not important) and that she needs to look cute (because as long as she is taking care of herself and carrying herself appropriately, her physical appearance doesn't matter).  

one of the new Beauty Redefined billboards found throughout Utah
A few things I've come across recently have helped me to focus more on what I really want to teach Miss A.  Have you heard of Beauty Redefined?  I love everything about this movement.  Two sisters have spent their time and college careers researching body image and media and have put together an amazing campaign to help girls and women take back beauty instead of letting society dictate what "beautiful" is.  I love that they're fighting against these cultural norms for the betterment of society.  I'll admit this is the kind of project that I would be intimidated to take on, thinking my voice wouldn't be heard and nothing would ever change.  As I've watched their movement grow, I've realized my attitudes need to change and that small efforts can multiply to make a great difference.  I would love to hear them speak some time at one of their many presentations- I think this is a message that every girl and woman needs to hear.  

This article via A Cup of Jo also has me rethinking things on how to talk to girls.  The premise is that instead of complimenting girls on their looks, we should try to focus on discussing ideas and books with them.  Joanna shares her own experience implementing this idea, and I was totally inspired to work on the same thing.  It is natural to compliment looks first, and it's something I'm hoping to change as I compliment those around me.  As I've taken time to think about it, I realized I'd much rather be acknowledged or validated for my personality or thoughts than for a pair of cute shoes or a good hair day (although compliments of any kind are never unwelcome).  

I love reading all of these bits and pieces and hoping that maybe, just maybe, society is ready for a change.  

--------
So many thoughts on this subject, I may return to it soon.
How do you help instill value and confidence in your daughters? Yourself?
What can you do to help take back beauty?



1 comment:

Katheryn said...

Check out operation beautiful.com. It's a great website, and she's written a book.