There’s a very important gift that we as mothers need to give our daughters. Even though it doesn’t cost a penny, it’s the most priceless thing we can give. But before we can give it, we have to embrace it ourselves. We need to ask ourselves these two questions: “Do I want my daughter to say the same things to her mirror that I say to mine?” and “Am I modeling self-acceptance for my daughter?”
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I’m going to step out on a limb and say something that may not be received very well. But it’s important so I’m going to say it anyway. I think that the idea of having “no makeup” days once a year so that young girls can realize that their beauty isn’t tied to makeup is silly at best, and potentially destructive at worst. At the very least it’s counterproductive.
Now before you discount the message, hear me out.
The purpose of “No makeup” days
I used to work in an environment with many wonderful women. These were women who truly cared about making a positive impact on all children. So when the idea of a “no makeup” day was proposed, everyone thought it would be a wonderful idea and a way to send a positive message to young girls. It seemed like everyone jumped on the bandwagon.
Everyone except me, that is.
You see, as a plus size woman, I’ve had my share of negative comments, put downs, criticism, etc. I’ve been told all my life that I wasn’t pretty enough, thin enough, that I just wasn’t ENOUGH because I didn’t look like a fashion model. I would be the first to advocate for any honest effort to truly help the younger females in our society realize that their worth and value as a person is not tied to their looks or physicality.
However, this is where I part ways with the “no makeup” people because here is the truth of the matter:
You cannot spend 364 days of the year lamenting the fact that you’re “so fat” and that you need to love five pounds because you’re “just so gross” or talking about how awful you look without makeup and then expect to undo those negative messages.
You cannot run down your appearance, nor can you spend time making comments about any other woman’s face and/or body, and then think you can make a positive impact in one day by not wearing any makeup. It just doesn’t happen.
Because as we all know, our daughters are watching.
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They’re watching and listening every day to what we say about ourselves and other women.
They’re listening when we stand in front of the mirror and tell ourselves that we’re ugly, that we’re fat, that our butt is too big or our boobs are too small.
They’re watching when we put on our makeup and comment about a new wrinkle or line that’s appeared.
They hear us when we make jokes about needing to get a boob job or Botox.
They’re watching when we pick out just the right clothes or purse and comment about the brand name.
When we spend too much on a pair of shoes but justify the expense because it’s what’s “in” this season, our daughters are watching and listening.
And they’re forming their opinions of what it means to be a woman every single day of the year, not just on an arbitrary day that’s set aside for us to try to set a positive example.
Consider these findings from recent studies:
- 80% of 10 year-old American girls say they have been on a diet
- The #1 magic wish for girls aged 11-14 is to be thinner
- As many as 50% of female teens and 30% of male teens are trying to lose weight by skipping meals, inducing vomiting, smoking, or taking laxatives
How to make a positive impact on our daughters
If we really want to make a difference in the way our daughters and other young girls view themselves we must start by monitoring the messages we send out every single day. Yep, that’s right. We need to quit saying things to ourselves that we don’t want our daughter to repeat as she looks in her own mirror.
Negative images are powerful and have a way of becoming a permanent part of our self-image. It’s time to replace those negative images with positive ones. Our daughters get enough impossible images and negative impressions about beauty from the media. Shouldn’t she get realistic and positive messages from you – every day of the year?
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Raising confident daughters is so important that I’ve picked out some reading choices I think will be helpful.