Our Messages to Little Girls

I’ve been thinking of the kids a lot lately, and if you have been reading my Smirking Cat blog, you know that raising strong, confident girls has been a concern of mine lately. (Of course I want the boys to be strong and confident too…it just seems like there are far more poisons in our culture attacking girls than boys, and parents need to fight that, not contribute to it.)

How is that relevant to this beauty blog? Well, I would love to hear what you think about raising strong, healthy, confident children, particularly girls, in a society so enraptured with appearance at the expense of character or inner beauty.

What message would you like to share with your daughters, your nieces, your friends’ children, any little girl growing up in a world that emphasizes her hair and body over her achievements and ambitions?

I know what I would like to tell them, and hope they remember. I would tell them, “You are smart, funny, creative, and strong. You are also beautiful, but please don’t think you are defined by what you look like. Please don’t fall into the trap of defining yourself by what you look like! Your face, your hair, your body, are all parts of you, not the essence of you. Society will tell you you’re not thin enough, not blonde enough, don’t have long enough hair, your lashes aren’t thick enough, your forehead isn’t smooth enough, your lips aren’t inflated enough….society will keep smashing you until you break if you let it. DON’T. When you think of who you are, remember what I told you first…you are smart, funny, creative, and strong. You are many things, and you can do many things. When people try to box you in and define you by your looks, speak up and don’t let them. When people try to tell you what you can’t do or what you should do, tell them you have your own mind. When this beauty-obsessed, woman-devaluing society tries to kick you, step aside and let it fall on its face in the wake of your own knowledge of your strength, your inner beauty, and your transcendence over shallow and petty definitions of a human being.”

I have luckily managed to strike a healthy balance between enjoying make-up as a fun, creative outlet, but mainly appreciating and highly valuing my abilities, talents, and achievements. I don’t define who I am, by what I look like. I fear Dove and Sunflower will be snared in that trap, measuring their worth by their attractiveness to others who don’t even care what shines inside of them. It’s a pit so many little girls are in danger of falling into, and the only ones who change that is us. All of us.

What would your message to little girls be? What would your message to little boys be, or even to other women?

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3 thoughts on “Our Messages to Little Girls

  1. For those little girls out there, I would say, you are unique in your own way and you will always be beautiful if you feel beautiful! If i magnify a flaw by always complaining about it, people will concentrate on your flaws instead of looking into the more beautiful side of you.I grew up with a lot of criticisms and a lot of comparison with my sister, I didn’t let it get my way as I know we will NEVER satisfy everybody, as long as I know my talent, my capabilities, I know I can contribute a lot to my friends and families.Thanks for this post!

  2. I think it is equally important to teach the same things to boys-you have many special gifts, you have many talents, you have a beautiful spirit. It is important to teach boys that the outside is just a shell and that what’s inside counts. If we teach our sons to look for a beautiful spirit, maybe there will be fewer men looking just at the superficial aspects of women. Yea, females have an uphill battle in our society, but there is also pressure on males to date the “right kind” of girl. If we can teach the boys, they will grow up to be men of true character, appreciating talents, strengths, and good hearts, instead of small waist, big boobs, and blonde hair.

  3. I agree with both of you, and I would add a message to all women that what you say and do…little girls and boys are watching and learning. When you cut down another woman’s appearance, what is your daughter learning? To be catty and bitchy? When you complain about your thighs or butt, aren’t the kids learning that self-insults are the hallmark of feminity? When your first remark about a little girl is “My, aren’t you pretty!” but you never comment on her abilities or talents, what is that saying? As adults we have a lot of responsibility. As parents, even more.

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