You shaped her with the insecurities you held since your childhood. Sculpted her with fear and self-doubt. Hand fed her lies about beauty and had the nerve to question why she was broken.
You are to blame for this. You are responsible.
She was born into this world free of care or insecurity. It is our presence, and sometimes our absence, that will influence the way she interacts with the world. How we live our lives will greatly impact the way she treats others, makes decisions, but more importantly...how she views herself and her worth. She will look to you as her teacher.
She will watch you as you make yourself smaller to appease the egos of others. She’ll learn that she is considered less than those.
She will watch you as you get dressed in the mirror, rip off the fourth dress you’ve tried on, and gripe about how “fat” you are. She will take notice when you criticize other women for their body, facial features, hair, or weight. She will aspire to become everything those women are not, because she has learned that certain standards must be met to be considered beautiful.
These are her first introductions to beauty, body image, and self-esteem. What are you teaching her?
In my time working with young children, I’ve learned that they are mere reflections of their parents. If children use profanity at school, more than likely their parents curse at home. Ask a child who’d they vote for as president and you’re bound to hear her parent’s political views. The child simply mirrors the thoughts of her parents. The same can be said for our girls and their views of beauty. The habitual glorification of long legs, light eyes, and curvy figures will remain until we make a deliberate effort to deliver a different message and redefine beauty.
The definition of beauty changes when we compliment random women on the street. The definition of beauty changes when we stand up for women who are belittled for their body type. The definition of beauty changes when we remind our girls how beautiful they are without “enhancements” from makeup, push up bras, or spanks. The definition of beauty changes when girls cease to hear us degrade our own bodies with comments like, “I’m too fat” or “I need a nose job.”
Our girls learn to be compassionate toward their bodies when we begin to model it for them.