By LEENA KOLLAR
In a world where supermodels and celebrities grace the covers of magazines with near (albeit unauthentic) perfection, it’s hard raising young girls today.
There’s so much pressure by society to look, think and act a certain way.
I was very insecure growing up, and perhaps that’s part of the reason I want my daughter to develop self-confidence as soon as possible. (She’s only two.)
I’m not quite sure where my lack of self worth came from; I was very loved by my family, and was often told how beautiful I was and how proud my parents were of me. They still tell me those things to this day. And yet, growing up, I still struggled to accept my beauty. I suspect my insecurities came from comparing myself to other girls who fit the mold of “beauty” that society taught me was the one to strive for.
I went through stages where I hated my small chest. I wished I didn’t have a pointy nose. I was constantly finding fault in my appearance because of the things I lacked, instead of embracing the things I had. It’s still hard to look in the mirror some days and see this “beautiful” woman that my family tells me I am.
There’s been some debate in recent years about whether or not we should tell our daughters they are beautiful. Some argue that it puts too much emphasis on physical beauty, negating the intelligence, ambition and talents that our daughters possess. But see, I think it’s so important that our daughters love who they are- wholly. Inside and out. I want my daughter to grow up and love herself, her body, her entire essence. I want her to look in the mirror and see what I see- perfection personified.
I want my daughter to be proud of her body, no matter what shape it is. No matter how old it is. No matter what color or texture or size it is. When she starts developing breasts (God help me), I want her to embrace them, no matter how big or how small they are. When her face becomes covered in acne, I want her to see past the pimples and find her amazing smile. And I hope she’ll still have that gap between her two front teeth because I love it! I want her to feel good enough about herself that she doesn’t think she has to meet some unrealistic ideas of beauty, because she believes that she has more than enough to offer the world.
When my daughter looks in the mirror, I want her to recognize and appreciate what sets her apart from other girls. Telling my daughter she’s beautiful confirms that there is nothing wrong with her appearance, or her body. That her scraggly hair, her squinty eyes, and her gappy smile are the things that make her beautiful.
I want her to look at the women on magazine covers and see through their superficial beauty. I want her to believe that she doesn’t need to change anything about herself in order to be the definition of “beautiful.”
Yes, she’s more than just a pretty face. So much more. But I want her to accept her pretty face, and her features, and her body, just they way they are. And when her body starts changing because of puberty or pregnancy, I hope she’ll still be able to love herself through the physical evolution she’ll experience.
My daughter is only two, but I’ve already started telling her how beautiful she is. It is my hope that she knows, and will always know, and will not feel the need to change any part of herself in order to achieve society’s standard of beauty. I hope that I can be a better example of self love for her, and that together, we can go through life believing that our physical bodies are beautiful because they are what make us us.